Tools To Start A Nail Salon On A Budget!

Knowing where to start sometimes can be so overwhelming, or at least for me, it was when I made the decision to start my own business and become a mobile beautician (I started with nails and worked my way to a wider range of treatments). There are so many articles and blogs on the best products and what you need to get started, not to mention all the different tips and information on techniques that are available, it can be difficult to know what to buy to start with (especially when you’re on a budget like I was) and to know what you are actually going to use the most.

Honestly, I took so long doing all this research, making sure I had everything I thought was essential, I stressed myself out a lot in the process, and then when I started doing my first few clients I realized I didn’t actually have half of the most important tools that I needed. I started out mobile so before you read the list below if you are also going to be a mobile nail tech my first and best recommendation is to get a good travel case for all your things. I started out with three big shoe boxes that I carried around everywhere, and then for Christmas, I got a gorgeous pink trolly case that just changed the whole concept of doing mobile beauty, it looks so much better but more importantly, it saves a lot of hassle lugging lots of equipment around.


Regardless of whether you are thinking of starting a nail salon or doing mobile beauty, the biggest start-up cost to it is always supplies, so here are some basic essential tools and equipment you should include on your list: 

Nail file 

Half your time being nail tech is spent filing, filing and more filing, whether you’re removing polish, shaping nails, or doing infills you need to file. Having a decent and sharp nail file is key as without one you’ll find yourself spending double the time with your client. Change your nail files regularly as they will wear down after use and not have the same effect.

Nail Drill

I highly recommend investing a little more in your nail drill if your planning on using one, spending a bit more on this piece of equipment will save you money in the long run as cheaper drills have a tendency to burn the nail more and they wear out quickly! I replaced the initial drill I bought within 3 months as I got fed up with it not being powerful enough and if I used it on a few clients in a row it would just get super hot. (don’t forget the nail drill heads too)

2 in 1 Cuticle nipper

Get yourself a cuticle pusher with a nipper on the other end. I like to use a stainless steel one but I also have a bamboo one that’s good. It might seem like a small step but for me being able to just flip my tool for the step of cleaning up the cuticles is so much easier than switching between the two! 

Nails extension tools 

Do not cut back the expense when you are selecting your glue for your nail tips, you don’t have to buy a crazy expensive glue but just make sure it’s decent, and test it out to make sure it holds the tips. The better your glue holds the less chance there is of the nails breaking.

Make sure you have a range of sizes in your nail tip box (transparent tips works best as you can’t see them from underneath like you can with the white ones) You will also need nail forms if you offer this technique as well. 

Basecoat and Topcoat 

A good basecoat will help your polish stay put and help the manicure last longer in general. It can also prevent any damage to the nail, and stocking a good topcoat is key to that perfect shiny finish. I like to stock a Matte topcoat too as an option.

Acrylic powder and liquid,

Having a high-quality acrylic powder and monomer is essential if you are doing extensions. The durability of the nails will be noticeable longer when you use a better quality powder, and getting a good monomer will make building the nails themselves much easier. (There are beginner monomers that take a little longer to dry and give you more time to work with for anyone starting out) If you are going to do Gel or Polygel nails, apply the same theory, the better the quality of the product better the outcome. 

(Top tip – invest in a good brush, and make sure it is a Kolinsky brush for acrylic)Brushes are different depending on the product you will be using, gel or polygel brushes in particular tend to come with a spatula on the end. There are also different sizes, if you dont know which size works for you yet I would say start with a smaller number and then work your way up.

LED Lamp 

You have the option to get either a UV lamp or a LED lamp, the difference? LED lamps are time-savers… An LED lamp will dry your polish or gel in half the time! YOu should change the bulbs or change your lamp every year or so to make sure it’s working to its full potential.

Brush for dusting

I stupidly made the mistake of not having a little brush to clear all the dust that gathers on the nails when filing, after just two clients I headed to the nearest Primark and got myself a little makeup blusher brush. I got a makeup one as it was cheaper and twice as soft (all my clients comment on the softness too!) But definitely make sure you have a brush of some sort to clear all the dust away! 

Nail Polish 

Offering a wide selection of colors or nail art is so important, making sure to include even the ‘ugly’ colors, as the saying goes one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure! Make sure to update your color collection regularly and keep up to date with the latest trends and styles around as this can be key to not just attracting clientele but an important factor to keep your client coming back! 

Good Lighting

Find yourself a table lamp, you can get portable ones or bigger ones for a salon but no matter where you are planning on doing your nails, having good lighting is a must. I shall leave the link to the one I found on Amazon that works great, and is affordable below. 

(Lampara Pinza LED)

Of course, there are so many different utensils and equipment out there, and I like to add to my collection as I go, but starting with the above tools is a good place to begin. I said it before but I will say it again, stay up to date with new products and nail art (there is stamping, dip powders, chrome powders and so much more that makes jazzing up your nails easy if you are still new to nail art). Make sure to replace everything once in a while too! Try not to get too overwhelmed when starting up your nail business, time is key is growing your collection and knowing what products work best for you. 

Some product reviews will be on there way soon and make sure to subscribe for more articles on starting your nail business!

xoxo

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