differences in getting your nails done in America and Japan

Getting our nails done together is one of the things I miss living far from my mama. She is leaving to go back to a wedding in Vegas, so we decided to get our nails done. Of course, I made our appointments at March Nails Shibuya (マーチ渋谷店).

My mom has gotten her nails done in Japan a couple of times, and likes their attention to detail. However, services are different and sometimes she questions what they are doing.  So here are some major differences in the getting your nails done stateside and in Japan.

First and foremost, one of the biggest differences is “walk-ins” are usually never accepted in Japan. You must always make an appointment. If you don’t speak Japanese or your language skills are not sufficient, I would try to go to the shop in person and make your appointment. Then there are little to no misunderstandings.

Before going to your appointment, try to have in mind what you would like to do. It will help speed the process and make things less difficult for you and your nailist. If you need some help please check out Nails 101 .

For those who are used to the western style manicures, you need to keep in mind that nail care is not included in the price. In America, cutting your cuticles is a normal thing, but in Japan they will just push them back and not cut them.  I cut my cuticles before I go to the salon, so I don’t have to worry about it.

Also you never wash your hands in the process of doing your nails in Japan. After cutting, filing and shaping your nails they ask you to wash your hands or scrub them  in America. This is non-existent. In Japan, after the prepping process they will clean any nail shavings with a brush. They will brush over your arms and hands. At the very end of all services they will give you a warm towel to clean your hands off properly. But no hand washing involved.

photo 1

After prepping your hand and brushing of the shavings, they will ask you about the shape of your nails. If you like it or not, and if there are any nails you want them to fix. The nailist will take the same finger on each hand and compare the length and shape so they are matching. They will also tell you to feel the nails to make sure there aren’t any sharp or jagged edges. They are so thorough and very service oriented. If there are any problems they will fix it immediately before continuing. In America, they rarely ever or never ask. So I really like this.
photo 2

In Japan the nailist will tell you exactly what the are going to do and what they want you to do. She is applying my first coat of clear gel. They will tell you to stick your hand under the UV light. If it gets to hot or if there are any problems please tell them. Sometimes, little bubbles occur or a piece of dust or something gets attached to the gel. They will nicely redo your nail without any questions. Like I said they are very service oriented.
photo 3 10.56.13 AM

Even though I picked out my own gel color, They will paint one nail and ask if that is what I wanted. At this point you can change the color if it’s not the color you expected. I liked the color I picked so she continued with my other 9 nails. They like to receive confirmation about what they are doing. So sometimes it might seem a little annoying, but you will get exactly what you paid for.  I know in America they will do the same. 
photo 4

Finally after two coats, they ask whether you would like art done or not. Art can either consist of stones, something hand painted, or seals (stickers). Stone art can be decided by their preset designs or you may design your own. There are different colors, shapes and sizes of stones.

photo 5

After they are done doing all art, they put a last coat of clear gel on your nails. This coat is different from the base coat because it is a lot thicker. They will paint each nail one finger at a time alternating hands. Since so much gel is applied it needs to be dried immediately. Sometimes your finger gets really hot under the UV light because the coating is so thick. After all nails are painted and dried, they clean your finger nails and then put oil on your cuticles. After they wipe your hands with a warm towel.

Our nails. We both choose different shades of pink–I chose a cotton candy pink and my mama chose a salmon pink. Our nail designs are different too, but we placed them on the same ring fingers. We kept our nails clean and short.

photo 6

Even with a simple design you still feel immediately happy after getting them done! My mama is ready for her friend’s wedding party. What kind of nails do you like to do for special occasions? What are your favorite colors?

ms fancy pants tokyo

  • March Nails Shibuya (マーチ渋谷店)
  • 2-10-14 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku Tokyo
  • 7F Aoyama Alpha Bldg
  • Mon-Fri 10:00-21:00
  • Sat-Sun/Holiday 10:00-18:30
  • 03-6427-2833
  • http://www.nailsalon-march.com

One thought on “differences in getting your nails done in America and Japan

  1. Pingback: Japan Info Swap » English Speaking Nail Salon in Nagoya

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