TikTok videos of girls doing nails at home have become increasingly popular recently.
As a result, people have begun to wonder if it is possible to do their own manicures and acrylics instead of going to the salon.
Some business-minded women are also likely becoming curious about the potential of creating a side hustle doing nails.
When people think of doing nails as a side hustle, many imagine them doing it out of their homes.
After all, if it is a side hustle, you probably can’t afford to rent out a nail salon.
But is it legal to do nails at home without a license?
Do You Need a License To Do Nails at Home?
If you are doing your own nails, you do not need a license.
If you are doing other people’s nails for free, you also do not need a license.
However, if you are charging people to do their nails, in almost all cases you will need a license.
Cosmology license rules and regulations differ by state, however, all states require that one has a license to do nails professionally.
If you are charging for your services, you are technically doing nails professionally.
The main reason you need a license to become a nail tech or cosmetologist is for safety reasons.
If health and safety procedures are not followed during nail treatments, patients could be at risk of contracting certain diseases like hepatitis C.
How Can I Get a License To Do Nails?
If you only are interested in doing nails, you can get a nail tech license.
This is similar to a general cosmetology license, but it only focuses on nails.
It is typically less expensive and time-consuming compared to a cosmetology license because it focuses exclusively on learning nail-related skills.
A cosmetology license will generally allow you to do nails and a variety of other cosmetic services.
If you are interested in diversifying your skillset in the beauty service industry, a cosmetology license will help you do that.
Getting a license to be a nail tech or a cosmetologist usually involves taking a course and then taking a state licensing exam.
How Much Does It Cost To Get a Nail Tech License?
Typically nail tech programs cost between $3,000 to $5,000.
That might seem like a lot of money, but remember that it qualifies you for a job that not everyone can do.
Some programs do provide financial aid if you don’t think you can afford the fees.
Can I Ask for Donations When Doing Nails?
In many states, there is a way around the licensing rules.
Some states permit you to ask for donations when doing nails.
However, in almost every case you cannot set an amount or a minimum.
In most cases, you cannot require a donation in exchange for your services.
In some situations, you can’t even ask for a donation, but you can accept it if it is given to you.
This can make a home nail business a little risky.
After all, even if you aren’t paying rent for a nail studio, you still have associated costs.
If you aren’t allowed to ask for donations, it might cost you more money to do people’s nails than you earn.
Home Nail Salons Might Be Forbidden
You need a license to be able to charge for nail services, but even with a license, there are some cases in which you are not allowed to run a nail salon from your house.
Some states completely ban at-home salons.
Other states allow them but have specific requirements for at-home salons that might make it impossible for you to start your business.
For example, some states will require that you have a separate entrance and bathroom for clients.
There is also the question of zoning laws.
Even if your state allows you to have a home salon, your zoning laws might prohibit it.
What Should I Know Before Starting a Home Nail Salon?
If you are still interested in starting a home nail salon, there are a few things you should know after you obtain your license and check your state’s rules regarding home salons.
Take these steps to make your nail salon successful:
1. Clean out your workspace
Oftentimes clients are willing to compromise on expectations when going to a home salon.
The lower prices and convenient location often outweigh any cons.
Almost all clients will still expect a clean workspace, though.
Make sure your pets can’t get into the area you are working in.
While your clients might think they are cute on a normal day, most people don’t want Mr. Fluffy’s fur getting stuck in their acrylic nails before they harden.
2. Think about parking
Even if you do everything legally, you still need to plan for parking.
If you have clients blocking the driveways of your neighbors or taking up a whole row of parking spots, you might get yourself into trouble, or you might get your client into trouble!
No one wants to leave a nail appointment to find out that their car has been towed or they have received a ticket.
3. Use professional equipment
Make sure you aren’t simply making your clients sit in an uncomfortable folding chair.
The equipment you select for your home nail salon should look professional, be easy to clean, and be comfortable for your client.
You can buy many products for your home nail salon from inexpensive online suppliers like Amazon.
Just make sure that you read the reviews so you know that the products you have chosen will last!
One example of a simple product that will make your business run smoother and look more professional is a nail polish display rack.
4. Have a wide selection
If you only have a few nail polish colors, you need to fix this before opening your home salon.
Make sure that you have a variety of colors available.
You are going to want to have lots of pinks, reds, and neutrals.
You also want to have every color of the rainbow so that you can create fun nail art.
A lot of people who choose to get their nails done do so for the variety of looks they can achieve.
You should also make sure to include variety in every service you offer.
For example, if you offer dip nails, you’ll want to provide clients with a large selection of colors.
On Amazon, you can find many collections of dip nail powder that include 20 to 36 different colors.
If you buy a kit with a variety of colors, this should be enough to get you started.
5. Use high-quality products
For basic tools like nail trimmers, the most important thing is that they are safe and work well.
For the nail polishes, though, you’ll want to make sure you select something that won’t chip easily.
6. Sanitize everything
In addition to cleaning your general space, you must ensure that you sanitize your tools regularly.
If you do not sanitize your tools between each client, you could be held liable for an infection they get because of your service.
If you are caught not sanitizing your tools at all, your entire operation could be shut down.
Is It Cheaper To Do My Nails at Home?
Doing your nails at home is generally cheaper than going to a salon.
If you are just doing a simple polish look and you always use the same color, it will certainly be cheaper to do your nails at home.
One bottle of polish will cost less than one nail appointment.
However, you won’t get the added benefits of hand massages, callous removal, or cuticle creams.
Even if you buy your own callous removal set, you will probably still save money in the long run by doing a simple polish manicure at home.
If you want to do acrylic nails, it will still probably be cheaper to do them at home.
A typical acrylic nail set from Amazon costs between $20-$30.
However, not everything you need is included in the acrylic nail set.
You will also have to invest in tools like an acrylic nail drill which can cost you another $25.
The real question when it comes to doing acrylic nails at home is not whether it will save you money in the long run but whether you will be able to do them by yourself.
Typically, acrylic nails take a lot of practice to get right.
Often, people use a fake or mannequin hand to practice doing acrylic nails.
This will run you another $15.
If you are doing your nails entirely by yourself, you should be able to work with both your right and left hand.
For many people, this will be the hardest part.
If you can learn the skillset and can do your own acrylic nails regularly, you should save money within six months of regularly doing your acrylics.
Do You Need a License To Do Hair at Home?
If you are interested in starting a nail salon out of your home but don’t have a license, you might be trying to think of other side hustle ideas to pursue.
Unfortunately, you also need a license to cut hair out of your home.
The limitations involving starting a home hair salon are the same as starting a home nail salon in most cases.
How Can I Get Better at Doing My Own Nails?
The best way to get better at doing your own nails is to practice! In addition to practice, it’s a good idea to seek out resources to teach you new techniques, skills, and approaches.
Start small and build your skillset.
At first, you might just do a single solid color, then learn how to do a French manicure, followed by nail art.
How Can I Get Cheap Nail Extensions at Home Without Acrylics?
Acrylic nails can be expensive and difficult to do on your own.
If you want a similar look but don’t want to spend dozens of hours learning how to do nails, consider using press-on nails.
You can find tons of affordable sets of press-on nails at the drug store or even on inexpensive websites like Amazon or Shein.
They only take a few minutes to apply.
You can find press-on nails of all different sizes and styles.
Many of them come with intricate nail art already on them.
A set of press-on nails will typically be cheaper than a set of acrylic nails, even if you do them yourself.
As an added bonus, they are also much less damaging to your nails!
The only major downside is that they do not last as long as acrylic nails and will need to be replaced after a few days to a couple of weeks.