This is a question that often gets asked. But what is the answer?
Firstly, in many countries a ‘minor’ is considered to be under the age of 18. But it can depend on the context e.g., drinking alcohol in the UK is legal at 18, but in the US, it is 21.
Well, there is no legal requirement in force concerning nail services (not it the UK – I am not sure about other countries) but there are several things to consider.
- The National Occupational Standards recommend that any person under the age of 16 needs a parent or guardians written consent and they need to be accompanied by an adult for the appointment.
- Your insurer will have a view on this, and it will usually be in line with the NOS. Always ask them if you are considering taking a minor as a client.
- Like the rest of the body, the nails and nail matrix are not fully mature at that age. They can be thin and weak. They are often quite oily so can be very bendy. I rigid overlay or enhancement could work against them. Their attachment to the nail bed could be weak. Many have childhood allergies that could make them susceptible to becoming allergic to nail products.
- As with every client, a certain amount of care and maintenance is essential. Would the child take that daily care and return to their nail professional for maintenance or removal? Or would they not bother and pick them off making what is probably a relatively weak nail even weaker?
- If they are still at school, they are probably engaged in sporting activities. If they have enhancements and there is any length on the nails, they will be very susceptible to breakage that is very likely to damage the nail plate and even the nail bed.
In conclusion, it is worth asking your insurer if you are covered to provide nail services for a minor. When you know this, you will be able to answer the question immediately if it should arise. If you are covered and choose to take on a minor as a client, then make sure do the following:
- get a written consent from a parent or guardian
- ensure they are accompanied by an adult for the appointment
- carry out a thorough consultation by looking at the condition of the nails and surrounding skin PLUS their lifestyle e.g., sports
- have them agree that they will take your advice on the daily homecare and return to you for maintenance or removal and NOT pick them off!
- give them sound and professional advice on exactly what service is likely to suit them even if it is not exactly what they want.
By doing all of this you are safe guarding both you and your young client.
Also read ‘Nails on Minors Blog’ for additional information.