A personal work of art

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

Lizzie Mashiya is a manicurist at Skin Sense and her work is to make nails look beautiful. In addition to filing, polishing, and painting fingernails, a manicure may also include the application of artificial nail tips, acrylics or artificial nail gels.

Some manicures can include the painting of pictures or designs on the nails or applying imitation jewels.

"I have been working here for 12 years," she said. "When my client comes for a manicure, I remove the old nail polish; analyse the nails to see what type of nails he or she has. Usually, these can be dry, brittle or normal. After that, I pit the cuticle oil and push the cuticles back. I cut any hanging nails, file the nails and shape them according to the client's request. This can be in a round or square shape.

"The next step is to massage the hand and rinse off the cream. It is at this point where I give treatment according to what type of nails the client has. The next step is to apply the nail polish chosen by the client and I then advise him or her on how to take care of the nails at home. Here at Skin Sense, we only use two products; Jessica and OBI."

Mashiya studied for her work at Star Nails in Johannesburg.

"I learnt the finer details of this industry at Star Nails where I was also taught the importance of good client service. It is essential to remember that the reason you are there at work is because of the client. The client is king and should always receive good service," Mashiya said.

"You must always be well groomed and presentable to the client. Your uniform must be clean and pressed. How you look before the client will either make or break their confidence in you."

She usually attends refresher courses to keep her well informed with her work.

"You have to love your job. Be patient because several times you will get difficult clients. Some of them scream and others swear at you, while others patiently enjoy what you do for them," she said.

"You must also be well organised so that you don't overbook people. Keep your appointments on diary and recheck them to ensure you are on the right track. Get ready for cancellations as this happens sometimes," she said.

Her day starts at eight in the morning and ends at 5pm from Monday to Friday. Some days she is fully booked with more than eight clients.

"The work can have a lot of pressure especially towards the end of the year when we get fully booked. So you just need to calm down and deliver to clients the best work you can," she said.

"Remember, nails must always look beautiful and be well taken care of."