As a mobile professional going on-site to perform a manicure or pedicure can be an adventure. Many beauty professionals love the freedom that comes with freelancing – every day takes you somewhere new! Unlike the spa or salon though, you have no control over the environment or conditions you’ll be working in. You’ll need to be prepared for whatever is thrown at you; no longer do you have the luxury of being in arms reach of the spas products or skin care tools, in case you need to course correct. To ensure success (and a happy customer) you’ll need to bring everything you need in one mobile kit.
Whether you are traveling on-site to do a paraffin foot treatment or a classic manicure, the key is preparation. And it all starts with your mobile complete nail kit. Obviously you can’t fit an entire Seattle spa into your back pocket, but there is plenty you can do to ensure that the client’s experience is every bit as professional and the service just as exceptional whether you are on-site at a hotel, a workplace or in the comfort of their home.
What’s an easy way to remember this all? Well no stress, we’ve created a handy-dandy checklist of pedicure and manicure tools, products, and essentials you’ll need while doing at-home beauty. If you are serious about becoming a professional mobile nail technician we highly recommend investing in a portable manicure station and pedicure station such as the ones featured below which is available at Amazon.com.
LCL Beauty Hydraulic Lift adjustable Pedicure Unit – $300
Ogima foldable Manicure table – $60
To help our mobile glam squad at Tousled, we share this checklist and more helpful tips the night before each booking.
- Phone charger
- Paddle mirror/Self-standing mirror – $13
- Power strip
- Light source*
- Disposable foot tub liners
* When arriving at a clients location, you don’t know what kind of lighting situation you will be dealing with. You might want to work near a window with natural light, but there might be no outlets near that area. It is important to learn to handle everything a venue might throw at you. This could mean bringing an extension cord so that your appliances can reach an area with natural light, or purchasing a small stand up light to use instead.
Basic Manicure/Pedicure Kit
- Nail cleanser
- Nail polish remover
- Assortment of shelac and nail polish colors
- 12 Essential Nail Colors
- Light pink
- Dark pink
- Classic red
- Light blue
- Black + white
- 12 Essential Nail Colors
- Top coat
- Bottom coat
- Drying spray/drying drops – Rapidry by OPI
- Nail art brushes
- Nail art jewels
- Cuticle exfoliator
- Nail clipper
- Small hand bowls for soaking
- Cleansing soap
- Moisturizing lotion – be aware of possible allergies
- Hot stones
- Hot stone heater
- Exfoliating scrub
- Paraffin wax
- Paraffin wax heater
- Hot towel heater
- Hand sanitizer
- Stainless steel cuticle pusher – multiple sizes
- Stainless steel cuticle clipper
- File kit – this should include various shapes and sizes
- Nail buffer
- Diamond nail file
- Cuticle oil
- Hand wipes
- UV light source for shellac nails
- Foot soaking tub
- Small stool
- Toe separators
- Coarse grater
- Create a relaxing ‘spa playlist’
- Aux cable
- iPod dock or speakers
- Rechargeable batteries
When taking care of an on-site beauty service – which could be anything from a shelac manicure to a in depth hot stone pedicure – it is useful to prepare by thinking through how you would handle the nail service in a spa setting. If the client has requested a specific service then you’re golden, but sometimes you’ll be walking in blind as to what the client desires out of getting their nails done. But don’t worry, this is an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. =) As long as your mobile kit is complete, you’ll be prepared for the job. Let’s walk through an example, from start to finish…
For a classic pedicure, at the bare minimum you’ll need some form of foot tub, nail polish colors, nail files, and of course, you! Depending on the type of nail service – be it a quick polish change to a more detailed nail art – you will have to pack various different items outlined in the checklist above. Make sure to pack the day before the service, then double, triple, even quadruple check that everything is in your professional kit! Another huge factor will be time; when working under a deadline, you might need to adjust the massage technique for the sake of efficiency while still making the service rewarding and relaxing for the client. Always ask the client (and even yourself!) what time you need to be finished. Then, you can plan backwards from that, taking into account travel time and traffic, parking, introductions and setting up your work space and your tools and finally, how long it will take to perform the service.
Now that you have given yourself ample time and your kit is complete with nail supplies, think about how will you setup/take down your work station and products? Will you need access to an outlet or good lighting? Set up your popup chair and foot station or manicure table in a space that has what you need. Also make sure to lay a tarp or sheet on the floor in case there are any accidental spills of nail polish color or water. Part of superior service is showing that you respect the client and her or his property. The best policy is leave no trace.
While you are focused on your client feeling relaxed don’t forget another important person – YOU! To convey confidence from the start, have a professional nail technician kit, provide a professional service and LOOK like a professional. Having worked with hundreds of clients for on-demand beauty services, we’ve found that most are expecting a level of professionalism and quality that could not be achieved themselves. Black is a popular color for clothes in salon and spa settings, not only because it looks professional but also because it’s very forgiving to stains.
So we have setup, tools, take down accounted for; what’s left? Well, most importantly – you. How will YOU stand out in the client’s memory? At Tousled, we believe that creative craft is unique which is why we encourage our professionals to find a signature move that encourages to re-book them, leave a tip or simply spread the love for beauty on-demand in Seattle.
If you’re just starting out as a mobile beauty professional or freelancer, then this might be a bit overwhelming; but fear not, because practice makes perfect. The more you get out there to do at-home manicures and pedicures, the better prepared you’ll be. There is no substitute to knowledge gained through experience.