I have lately been getting many younger girls coming and booking appointments online for acrylic or gel nails. Getting nails is a big step for young ladies and social media makes it seem so normal that tweens think: ‘No big deal”. But they are.
I will do gel or acrylic nails for tweens/teens 14+ with parental consent, usually starting for a special
occasion such as grade 8 grad or a birthday. I first need to do a consultation with them first. I need to make sure their nails are grown up enough to even handle tips and gel. I use gel more than acrylic as its more forgiving on their natural nails. I offer shellac manicures first which you can still get fun colours, art, it will last and be dry when you leave and can handle the weight of gems.
Shellac manicure I will go for 13+,because any younger and I can bet 99.9% of the time the child will pick it off and ruin their still growing nail plate. My regular polish is vegan and baby safe, still in fun colours and stickers and art can still be applied. If you aren’t comfortable with your child having shellac you can buy nail decal stickers or use one of the many different brands of heat activated jelly nail sheets.
If they still really want longer nails: I recommend getting press-ons and bringing them in for a mini manicure to be applied properly so they last a long time but ultimately can be take off with hot soapy water or bath oils.
All clients get a package with their nail file explaining how to take care of having gel or acrylic nails: but I make sure the parents get a copy too so everyone understands the upkeep and how to properly take them off.
Why do You try to Talk Them Out of It?
Kids nails are still growing and not read to hold that weight of the nail extension on them. Most young nails are very short, eggshell (thin and peely) or fan based..or both! If they do get nails, the chances of cutting the skin are higher trying to correct the fan base into a more pleasing straight nail.
Kids are active and if they break a nail: it bright tear their whole nail off for how thin their natural plate is. Not to mention being able to handle to pain. A nail sprain can hurt for days for an adult: kids might want to just rip all of their nails off if this happens.
Nails last a long time: I know my 10 year old step daughter gets sick of her polish after a week. Gel and acrylics last 2-3 weeks! The patience of liking something for that long of a time, along with not picking at lifting or growing out nails is not something younger tweens and kids can handle.
Nails are expensive. A starting natural set for me is 65$: any length but no art, no colour, just either clear, natural white/nude or natural pink. Add more things and the price goes up. Then your fixes and fills each month can cost up to a extra 45$ (fixes are 5$, polish changes are 10$ and a fill is 35$) so depending on how hard your lifestyle can be on your nails, or how much you want to change them it can get costly. I find as a parent that this is a un-necessary expense for kids, there’s other fun things you can do that doesn’t come with a giant list of do’s and don’ts for new nail wearers: like having a fun hair cut or hair colour!
It’s not just me either. Please read this post from Nails on the consensus of other professionals on how they approach kids and nails.