Designs That Are Red Flags For Manicurists

Is there anything more fun than getting your nails done? We think not. After all, there's nothing quite like taking an hour (or two) out of your day to relax in a salon and get truly pampered. Plus, you get to leave with a fresh set of beautiful nails. If you're getting a little tired of your classic nude manicure, you may be looking for inspiration for some bold new styles to try. But before you get too excited about the latest nail trend on TikTok on Instagram, take a minute to pause and consider how your nail tech might feel about your chosen style.


We hate to break it to you, but manicurists do actually judge us in the salon. If we pick a look that is especially hard to do or simply out of style, the nail pro will probably do an internal eye roll before getting to work. While you should never do your nails to please your manicurist, there's no denying they are the experts; they do kind of know what they're talking about, so we should probably listen to them before making any misguided decisions about our nails.

So, we spoke to a few professional nail techs to find out which styles manicurists secretly hate to do and why.

If you ask your nail tech to use any of these products, they might say no

Many nail trends come with the client wanting the nail tech to use specific tools, techniques and products — usually ones they've seen touted online. While you may be tempted to bring in polishes or other nail products you've seen online, your nail tech may be hesitant to use them, especially if they're harmful to your nail health.


"Dangerous products that I won't use with clients would be anything that is from a different nail system to the one I'm currently using," says Lauren Broe, a luxury manicurist to The List. "With allergic reactions being at an all time high especially since COVID, there are high risks involved when cross using from different brands. Also I'd never use oils/lotions that contain nuts unless clients have stated they don't suffer from a nut allergy!"

Aimee Whatford, a nail artist at Well Gel Beauty Boutique, adds, "Any 'quick' or 'magic' gel remover is essentially a paint stripper and not safe for cosmetic use." We suggest letting your manicurist stick with their preferred products and techniques for your own safety as well as your manicurist's peace of mind.


Many manicurists hate pop art nails

Yes, pop art nails may look cool on TikTok, but a number of manicurists are not a fan of the bold look. In fact, nail technician Liv Mendoza took to TikTok in 2023 to complain about clients who request bright pop art nail designs. "I don't know who made this up, but it looks like you're going to the circus," she said bluntly in the video.


Lauren Broe agreed with Mendoza that pop art nails aren't exactly a great look on most people — and like Mendoza, she tends to grimace when clients ask for them. "I think pop art style nails look great for editorials and photoshoots but for everyday wear they just don't fit as well as more simplistic style designs," she says. "They're too bright and it's hard to make them look really good!" So, next time you're tempted by a stunning set of pop art nails on Instagram, remember that the real thing will probably be a disappointment for both you and your manicurist.

Bright white nails can look dirty

Many of us assume that nothing is classier than a set of bright white nails, but some manicurists prefer to steer their clients away from the bold look. For one thing, the look is a little dated; in the 2010s, it was all the rage, with celebrities like Alexa Chung, Jennifer Lopez, Miley Cyrus, Khloé Kardashian, and Kerry Washington all going for the blinding white nail color.


However, as nail tech Liv Mendoza explained on TikTok, "This is giving dusty — I don't care, I don't like these."

And as far as Lauren Broe is concerned, bright white nails can look like they came straight out of an office supply store. "All white nails tend to just look like they have been painted with Tipp-Ex!" she tells us. "Opt for a more natural off white or cream with a softness to it so it doesn't look so stark against your skin tone." She recommends Biosculpture's no. 67 Crème if you want to go for the "clean girl" look.

Long almond shaped nails grow out to look awful

While it can be fun to experiment with different quirky nail shapes, not all of them are popular in nail salons. One questionable shape is the long almond. As Canadian nail artist @nailsbysariya said on TikTok, she hates doing this style. "I feel bad for my clients because when they get them they're cute for a few days but when they grow out they look like bananas," she wrote in a comment. "If your growth isn't fast, they can look cute for a while."


Lauren Broe makes the same point. Sure, the long almond shape may look great for the first few days, but it does not take long before they can start to look awkward. "Long almond nails can look amazing until they grow out and you don't get them done regularly," she tells us. It may be best to avoid this look unless you are ready to commit to very frequent salon appointments.

Super pointy nails may be dangerous

If you take almond-shaped nails to the next level and go for that ultra sharp pointy look. Not only is this look extremely bold, it's also potentially dangerous for both you and the nail technician doing your manicure. Let's face it, they probably don't want to get stabbed by your nails while they're working on them.


"When the nails are so sharply pointed, they can easily puncture the skin and cause serious injury," explains Akirashanti Byrd, and I am the Co-founder and CEO of Curl Centric. "Super sharp nails can cause discomfort to the wearer too. A sharp edge poking into the skin can be uncomfortable and even painful. For these reasons, I believe that it is important to always round off the edge of a nail when providing services as a nail technician." 

Lauren Broe adds that super pointy nails "just don't look right."

Super complicated nail art isn't a fave

While a few delicate stars or abstract lines can make your nails look chic and interesting, when you start asking for intricate, complicated patterns and pictures, your nail tech probably won't be too happy with you.


For one thing, unless you have a highly skilled nail tech and a very long appointment booked, your manicurist probably won't have time to do the design justice. Plus, complex nail art isn't all that easy to do on most people. "Overly complicated designs on shorts nails, or when clients arrive with a photo of XXL nails and want the design on their bitten nails is a red flag," says Aimee Whatford. "They don't understand it doesn't always translate well." 

Complex nail art can also look confusing and a little off-putting. As Lauren Broe puts it, "We want people to look at your nails and think, 'Those are so nice,' not, 'What sort of design is that?'"

Nails with varying shapes are almost never a good look

If you tend to get bored with your nails, you may find yourself experimenting with different shapes and styles on each nail. While changing up the style of each nail can be a cool look when it's done properly, it's best to avoid asking for all of the shapes at once. For one thing, most nail pros absolutely hate it. Nail artist @nailsbysariya noted on TikTok that doing mixed shaped nails in one set is one of her least favorite styles to do.


Lauren Broe agrees that the look isn't exactly attractive: "Different shapes in one set is just not easy on the eye and make me feel very confused as a manicurist — we aim to make every nail look the same!" 

Instead of going for different shaped nails, why not try different colors instead? This way, you can still switch up your nail routine without leaving the salon with a disjointed, weird look that everyone — including your manicurist — will probably dislike.

Egg-shaped nails are a no-no for many manicurists

Rounded nails may be in style, but when your nails get a little too eggy, your manicurist may raise their eyebrows. It turns out, a pure oval shape is a big no-no for some nail technicians. One nail technician commented on TikTok video, writing, "I just hate when people want egg shape extensions." Another nail technician wrote in the SalonGeek forum, "I hate doing oval nails, I've always done 'squoval' or square [nails] and now I've got two new clients with oval nails, does any body else feel the same?" Another nail tech replied that the oval look tends to be popular with older clients. "All my 'wee old ladies' like oval," she said.


And Lauren Broe agrees with her assessment. "Egg-shaped nails are just not flattering and look like you haven't had your nails done. I don't want anyone walking out with nails that done look like they have been deliberately shaped!" she tells us.

By the sounds of things, it's usually best to avoid asking for egg-shaped nails, especially if you want to go for a youthful look.

Marble nails are apparently a thing of the past

There's no denying that marble nails can look pretty cool, especially when they've been done perfectly by a talented nail tech. However, there's nothing worse than a poorly done set. The effect can be one great big mess on your fingers. And no one wants that — least of all, your manicurist.


"They need to be done really well, not like you've attempted them yourself," warns Lauren Broe. Nail artist Maci Parry also noted her dislike for the marble look in a TikTok video. Another nail technician on TikTok also posted a video about her dislike of the marble trend, writing, "tbh I hate doing marble with polish." By the sounds of things, the chic marble effect is very hard to get right and most manicurists aren't fans of being asked to do it for their clients. Even if this trend may look great when it's done well, it may be worth avoiding it before checking if your manicurist is confident and happy to do it for you.

Classic French nails aren't always in style

French tips go in and out of vogue. Initially a trend in the 2000s, French tip nails swung back into style in the 2020s. The delicate look features a nude base and a bright white tip. While French tip nails may look really classy when they're done well, there is one version of the look that many manicurists cannot stand: when the tips are extra long. Nail tech Maci Parry pointed out that this design is one of her least favorites on TikTok. while another celebrity nail artist also called out "deep or super thick French" nails on TikTok in a video about cheugy nail trends.


If you do want to try French nails, it's probably best to stick with shorter nails. "Micro or tailored French all the way — so flattering and means there isn't too much white tip, so can be bespoke to your own unique shape and length," suggests Lauren Broe to The List. 

Ultra short nails can be bad for manicurists

If you like to keep your nails extra short, whether it be for hygiene, for work or simply for aesthetic reasons, many manicurists may find it difficult to work with you. 

"Ultra short nails can mean the client is sensitive," Aimee Whatford tells The List. "They may have bitten nails, and sore skin, open skin that's been picked, meaning we can't do the service. I don't like hurting people." 


Not only do manicurists worry about injuring clients with very short nails, they may also struggle to do their work properly if you ask for a very short trim. "We need a little bit of a free edge to really produce good work so make sure if you have very bitten or short nails, that you nourish the cuticle with your hands at least two times every day (sometimes more) before booking in for your first manicure," Lauren Broe says. She suggests trying Cuticle MD by Elim to prepare you for the salon.

Duck nails aren't a hit with some manicurists

While the attractiveness of some nail styles is pretty subjective, we can probably all agree that the duck nail trend should be left in the past. Duck nails was a trend that saw people getting nails that flared out into a wide square, larger than the finger, kind of like a duck's foot. Not only is this style incredibly impractical, it's also incredibly polarizing. This odd design was one of the shapes that a nail artist pointed out in a TikTok video of cheugy nail designs that she hates doing.


"Duck nails are hideous full stop," Whatford says bluntly. As she explains, this shape does nothing to flatter the client. "Everything I do is about making the nails look more slender, not fatter," she says.

Lauren Broe adds, "They just look odd and I'm not sure why you'd like your nails to look like that?" We have to say, we completely agree.

Steer clear of lipstick-shaped nails

Here's another nail shape trend that has picked up some steam but may not land with everyone: lipstick nails. And it seems that many manicurists are not on board. This trend features nails that are asymmetrical, with one end longer than the other, similar to a tube of lipstick. While this may be a tempting trend to try when you're after something a little different, it may be best to avoid it.


One nail artist noted lipstick nails as a cheugy trend that she hates doing in the salon. Not only do manicurists find this shape annoying to do, they can also end up looking messy. "Lipstick shape nails just look like you didn't mean to shape them that way or that you sat down strangely when doing so. Just weird," says Lauren Broe.

Instead of getting asymmetrical lipstick nails, try opting for a bright red lipstick shade instead. That way, you can even match your nails to your lips.

Matte nails aren't everyone's cup of tea

When you go to the nail salon, you will almost always get a glossy polish or gel finish that has a bit of shine to it — unless, that is, you specifically request matte nails. Matte nails are nails that have no shine or reflectiveness to them. Even though there are reports that matte nails are officially back in style as of 2023, your manicurist may not approve.


For one thing, your nail tech will probably worry about the longevity of your set. "Matte nails stay matte for as long as the client keeps oils off them, and many can't understand why the finish hasn't lasted well when their own bodies, the cleaning, cooking and other cosmetics will introduce oily things to the nails," warns Aimee Whatford.

As for Lauren Broe, she simply prefers the way glossy nails look. "Some designs can look amazing with a matte top coat, like ombré but personally I think it will look better with a glossy finish," she says. So, if you're considering experimenting with the matte look, it may be worth asking your manicurist for their honest opinion before you get started.