My theory, by gang green. Miss.

I am, for the most part, not a terribly observant or perceptive person. However, some years ago, I noticed something. It was kind of odd, and yet slightly amusing. Ever since then, I’ve kept up with it in a half-assed way.

What was my observation? Nail salons, and their relative abundance.

I don’t know about anywhere else, but as far as I’ve observed in Texas, there must as many nail salons per capita as there are gas stations.

My observations over the years have led me to come up with the following:

• Any strip center with ten or more stores will have at least one nail salon.
• If there are two small strip centers next door to each other, one will have a nail salon.

I’ve seen four-store strip malls with a nail salon. I’ve seen two nail salons in the same midsize strip center. And to top this, I’ve seen a duplex in which both stores were nail salons.

While this doesn’t seem very earth-shattering (and it isn’t), I do wonder about why these establishments seem to be so heavily represented. All across this great state, you see them, and yet I don’t see all that many people with professionally manicured finger or toenails. Where is all the business coming from? How often does one need to get one’s nails done, anyway?

Anyway, I’m curious as to the rest of the country. Has anyone else noticed this phenomenon? Does it exist elsewhere, or is it restricted to my home state? Any theories as to why there would be such a demand for shiny, colored nails?

I’ve noticed, but again, I’m in Texas. Several years ago, I used to wear acrylic nails which had to be “filled” every 2 weeks. I went to a salon run by a local family (non-Asian) and all the clientele had their own implements kept at the salon. The only way to get appointments in that place was for a client to die or move away. I went there for at least 7-8 years. During that time period, I noticed the sudden proliferation of nail salons. They’re everywhere–even in the walmarts. Sorry–guess I didn’t answer your question. I agree with you–LOL. Hope some folks from other places chime in. (btw–I kinda miss my shiny, colored nails!)

I’m in MA, and haven’t noticed that.

…Except in certain neighborhoods. In one particular neighborhood, there were two on every block. It’s the kind of area where you expect every woman to be a clone of Marissa Tomei’s character in My Cousin Vinny.

For anyone wondering, a “fill” is needed because your own fingernails grow out, leaving the acrylic on top with a gap between it and your cuticle. To fix this, the salon person spreads “a mixture of a polymer powder and a liquid monomer” per Wiki) over the gap and smooths it down to match the existing acrylic.

Given how quickly that gap becomes noticeable, keeping acrylics looking good can mean more frequent salon trips than a fancy haircut does – more similar to having dark hair bleached a lot, leaving roots showing, unless you get 'em touched up often.

Once you’ve had acrylics applied, you can’t usually take them all off and expect anything but a mess left behind. If you like manicured nails, this means that once you get 'em, you need to keep going to the salon… indefinitely. My sister fell into this trap with “wedding nails” six years ago, and hasn’t stopped since.

How do you shorten them, then? Can you just file them normally? (Or, rather, have a manicurist file them for you?)

You tend to see a lot more of them around here in the black neighborhoods - at least here, the black girls are more likely to have elaborate acrylic nails. For some reason, black ladies never own or work in the salons, though - they’re always Asian people, usually IME Korean. I don’t know why.

What does any of this have to do with brontosauruses?

Yes, either. Beauty supply places do sell specialized files for acrylics, but as far as I can tell the regular ones work too, just not quite as efficiently.

A brontosaurus’s nails are very small at one end.

I haven’t seen this so much in black neighborhoods, but there definitely seems to be an ethnicity thing going on. Hispanic, Italian-American, Greek…

When I lived in Austin, I saw them on a pretty broad spectrum – all ages, all races, though especially women working cash registers, where people are looking at their hands all day. Most of the salons in my general area seemeded to be run by Hispanic people, judging by the salon names. I know it’s different in LA.

I almost never see acrylic nails worn in New England.

Did I miss the meme memo today?

43% are Vietnamese. Why? Tippi Hedren

My theory by A. Elk. Brackets Miss, brackets.

Awesome – I’ve never seen that skit. Thank you!

Happy to help. :wink:

The places I’ve been to tend to use a Dremel tool for that. They just put on a fresh emery wheel and file them down. It’s much faster than a regular nail file. Once they’re cut down, they’re filed and buffed to smooth them out so you don’t hack yourself to bits. I know it’s possible to file one’s own nails, but I was absent the day they taught basic hair and manicuring skills at Girl School, so if I need that done, I treat myself to a manicure. (I don’t have acrylic nails, so it’s not a regular expense.)

Where I live, we don’t have the proliferation of nail salons that you see in other parts of the country. The ones I have noticed seem to be located in malls or Wal-Mart. Most of the free-standing salons I’ve seen tend to offer spa-type services such as massage and facials. The one I go to offers all sorts of scrubs and hot paraffin treatment. Those hurt, but in a good way.


That is fascinating!

I’m including the salons that masquerade as spas, since most of them are really 10 pedicure stations, 15 manicure stations, and one little alcove where the waxing/massage/etc is done.

What about hair salons that masquerade as spas that also offer nails on the side? Living in Ohio I saw quite a few of those, but not a huge number of businesses that were primarily nail salons. In fact, of the two hair salons I went to with any regularity, both offered nail service as well, but did not seem to do any heavy business in that department.

I never found this unusual, as it seems only natural to me that a beauty salon offer both hair and nails. I would see a few people getting their nails done while they got their hair did. I did this a couple times just because it came with a hand massage and I like hand massages.

Come 40 minutes southeast and you’ll see them everywhere. It definitely seems to be an ethnic thing here…mostly African-American and Hispanic women have them done, especially with the little sequinned, shiny inlays and such.