Best of Columbia

Lee Nails was Voted Best Nail Salon of Columbia, SC since 1999 by Free Time Magazine.

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@ East Forest Plaza.

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Business Hours

 Monday-Thursday: 10:00am - 8:00pm 
Friday-Saturday: 9:00am - 8:00pm 
Sunday: 1:00pm – 6:00pm

Call 803.738.9400

or Make an Appointment Online!

Our Location

5424 Forest Drive, Suite 104
Columbia, South Carolina 29206
(Across from Hobby Lobby and &Sam’s Club).

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FAQs Print E-mail
Questions, Answers & Definitions

1. What are your sanitation measures and procedures?

Ensuring the health and safety of our employees, customers and the general public is our #1 priority. Every single employee at LEE NAILS understands and abides by the sanitation guidelines as outlined by the South Carolina State Board of Cosmetology (you may also click here to view our license information). To go one step further in ensuring the consistencies of our sanitation standards as well as service level, here are some of the things we do as a standard practice:

  • All metal implements are sterilized after every client in Barbicide disinfectant (bactericidal, fungicidal, and viricidal).
  • Foot Spas: Thoroughly flushed after every client (usually while the client is being polished). Also sprayed down with Sani-mint (antibacterial disinfectant cleaner) and wiped dry.
  • Nightly (after work), all foot spas are flushed for 15-30 minutes with bleach and detergent. Additionally, they are also flushed and left overnight to soak once a week.
  • Management does a once a week thorough inspection of all technicians, stations, products and disinfectants to ensure all guidelines are followed.
If you are uncertain about these procedures being met during your visit at our salon, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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2. I used to go to one particular nail technician, but would like to try someone else in same shop. Is this alright with the technicians?

Yes! All of our nail technicians are encouraged to work on each other's clients in order to learn from each other's work, as well as critique and improve each other's work. All of our nail technicians follow the same guidelines and standards; however, each does boast their own unique personalities and style of work.

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3. Is it essential to have nails manicured or enhanced in a salon?

It is not essential to have a professional manicure or enhancement, but it is certainly beneficial in more ways than one! Most salon atmospheres are clean, efficient and offer a luxury we all crave-pampering! Treating yourself to a day, or even an hour, at a salon is a refreshing, revitalizing experience. With today's industry standards for salon sanitation and advances in salon technology, the salon is the best environment for nail services.

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4. What are the pros and cons for having acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails, in most cases, are the strongest semi-permanent nail extensions available. As with all nail extensions, with proper application and proper maintenance there are virtually no negatives to wearing acrylics.

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5. Can I get fungus from wearing acrylics?

Fungus is not caused by wearing acrylic nails, but from improper maintenance Occasionally, when lifting occurs and the nail is neglected, moisture gets trapped in between the acrylic and the nail bed, creating "water moles" (green or tan in color). This is often mistakenly called "fungus". Water moles are not a disease or a serious condition if recognized and treated properly. The color stain can usually be buffed away, disinfected and will eventually grow out along with your nails. If left untreated, this can potentially turn into a more serious infection. Water moles should not occur if enhancements are done properly with regular maintenance.

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6. My nails won't grow past my finger tips without breaking off. Are nail extensions right for me?

Today, nail extensions can accommodate all lifestyles. Nail extensions are not thick and do not have to be worn long. Today, a more natural look is appealing. There are many different types of extensions such as tips, sculptured nails, nail wraps and gel nails. Consult a professional nail technician to determine which nail extension is best for you.

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7. My sculptured nails chip easily at the free edge. Why?

Your sculptured nails may be too long or too thin on the ends for your lifestyle. Have them coated a little thicker or filed a little shorter.

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8. Should I left my nails breathe or take my acrylics/polish off every so often?

The idea of leaving nails bare for a few days to let them rest is a common myth. Fingernails are made of dead cells, and they don't need to breathe.

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9. How often should I get a new set of acrylics?

This depends on each individual's daily activities and maintenance of their nails. A new set is usually recommended when there are air pockets (cloudy looking) in the acrylic or when the natural nails pull away from the acrylic's underside. Air pockets indicate that the acrylic is not adhering to the nail bed. For an average person, a new set is usually needed every 3 to 6 months.

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10. Will fumes from acrylic nails harm my lungs?

There have never been any recorded cases that state nail product fumes are harmful to the lungs. Remember, anytime a product has a strong odor, even cleaning products in your home, it's recommended these products only be used in well-ventilated areas.

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11. I just had my acrylic nails removed and my nails feel as thin as eggshells! What will strengthen them?

If the extensions were removed properly, the eggshell feeling will be temporary. Ask your technician to use a nail strengthener to help toughen them up. Nail and cuticle oils will help plump the layers of the natural nail that have been repeatedly dehydrated by the use of antiseptics in the process of applying extensions. A professional manicure will provide all of the necessary treatments for your natural nail to regain its durability. Remember, every time a nail extension is picked off, pulled off or bitten off, two to three layers of the natural nail plate are forcibly removed. This can actually remove half the thickness of the natural nail! To ensure proper removal of extensions, see your nail professional.

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12. Why does my nail technician use a primer?

Nail technicians use a primer to help acrylic nail extension products adhere better to the nail. Primers are special formulations that, if applied improperly, can cause nail damage. Therefore, it is a good idea to leave the application of primers in the hands of the nail technicians. Not all nail extensions require the use of a primer. Wrapped nails, such as fiberglass, silk and linen, or glue and powder applications do not require the application of a primer.

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13. Are tips less harmful to nails than sculptured nails?

Neither one of these types of nail extensions are harmful to the natural nail as long as proper application and proper maintenance procedures are followed. The difference between these two applications is that tips are more temporary, whereas sculptured nails are semi-permanent.

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14. Why do my nail beds hurt and my cuticles look red and puffy after I have nail extensions applied?

This can be caused by excessive filing. The file used on your nails also may have been too coarse. Be sure to tell your nail technician you have sensitive nails. Red puffy cuticles may also be caused by a reaction to products used on your nails. Consult your nail technician to prevent problems like this.

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15. What is the best nail length for someone with short fingers?

People with short fingers normally have shorter nail beds, so a medium-to-short length for natural nails is best. If nail extensions are preferred, a shorter to medium length extension is best because nails that are too long on a short nail bed will not be well-balanced with the length of the nail bed. Whether you choose natural or artificial nails, an oval shape is best to help lengthen short fingers.

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16. I have big, athletic hands. What is the best nail length for me?

People with larger hands normally have medium-to-large nail beds, so a medium length for natural nails is best unless a very active lifestyle requires a shorter length. If nail extensions are preferred, depending on lifestyle, a short-to-medium length extension is best. Most nail extensions work best at a short-to-medium length. Nail tips now come in a variety of lengths and styles to suit all lifestyles and preferences.

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17. What is the best nail length for a bride-to-be?

That depends on personal preference and lifestyle. On this very special day, you tend to be hard on your nails. With little or no time for maintenance, a shorter or medium length nail is preferable.

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18. I want to do something really unusual with my nails. What's a good option to try for special occasions?

There are a myriad of products for decorating nails. This is called "nail art," some of which, like airbrushing, take a great deal of skill and are best left to the professional.

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19. I do not want to have acrylic nails, but do need something to strengthen my nails and keep polish on longer. What is my best option?

Try having them coated with a fiberglass, silk or linen wrap or a powder and glue coating. Called a natural nail capping or "overlay", this is a thin coating applied to the natural nail only. It strengthens the nail and also helps nail polish stay on the natural nail.

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20. Why is formaldehyde used in nail products?

Formaldehyde is an ingredient used mostly in nail polish and nail strengtheners to help them dry fast, and acts as a strengthener.

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21. How does my manicurist get the nail glue to dry so quickly when she is doing wraps on my nails?

Your nail technician is using a product called a "glue accelerator" or "activator." This product instantly dries nail glue during wrap or powder and glue applications.

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22. What is the difference between acetone and non-acetone nail polish remover? Which is best?

Acetone polish removers are for use on natural nails. Non-acetone polish removers contain ethyl acetate or methyl ethyl keytone as their active ingredient and were developed for use with nail extensions because acetone can cause extensions to become brittle and lift.

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23. Will I damage my nails if I peel off my nail polish instead of using nail polish remover?

Any time you are picking or peeling anything from the surface of the nail, you may not see an immediate difference, but it will eventually cause a problem by making the natural nail thinner.

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24. I do not want to wear nail extensions any longer. Can I take them off myself?

To properly remove nail extensions, trim the length back to the natural nail length, then file the surface of the nail leaving a thin coating of the product on the nail for strength. This service is best left to a nail technician.

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25. How often should I get a professional manicure?

This also depends on your lifestyle and preference. If you prefer absolutely perfect, medium to long nails every day, you'll need a professional manicure once a week. If you favor shorter length nails for an active lifestyle, and you can do polish touch-ups at home, you may need a professional manicure only every two weeks. The faster your nails grow and the more abuse they withstand, the more often you'll need professional maintenance. Apply a protective topcoat every two to three days to maintain your manicure.

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26. How long should a professional manicure last?

Generally, a professional manicure will last from one to two weeks, depending on how fast your nails grow and what you do. The faster they grow and the more abuse they withstand, the more often you'll need professional maintenance.

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27. How do I maintain great looking hands?

For natural nails, the basic routine should include a cuticle oil or cream and a professional nail strengthening treatment. To shape nails, use a nail clipper and a fine-grit file. If you wear polish, you'll need a basecoat, topcoat, polish remover and professional formula nail polish. For a natural look, you can use top coat alone or use a nail buffer to maintain natural shine. To keep hands soft and smooth, treat yourself to an exfoliating salt scrub and a hand lotion with sun protection. If you choose to extend your nail length with tips, wraps, gels or sculptured nails, use products containing botanical oils to moisturize hands and nails as products containing mineral oils can cause nail extensions to lift.

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28. How long does it take to completely dry polish?

How long it takes depends on the type of polish and polish dryer. Generally, it takes one to two hours before nail polish is completely dry. Formaldehyde-free polishes take more time to dry. Many nail polish dryers allow you to use your hands 5 to 15 minutes after polish is applied. However, that doesn't mean heavy gardening!

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29. My cuticles are so dry and parched year-round�what do you recommend for improving this condition?

Dry, chapped cuticles are the most common problem around. Chemicals, the environment, cold weather or simply picking at them due to stress can all contribute to this problem. Besides being unattractive, this can also lead to hangnails. The greatest damage to cuticles simply comes from lack of attention. Most people don't consider at home maintenance important and figure that a trip to the salon will be ultimate cure. 1 Here are a few easy suggestions you might want try at home:

  • Use gloves when washing dishes.
  • Apply lotion after bath or when skin is still damp.
  • Leave cuticle-oil by your night stand and apply nightly.
  • Salt scrubs with essential oils are also great if used regular at home (included with every hot oil manicure).
  • Paraffin treatments for intensive skin penetration.

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30 What causes puffy cuticles?

Puffy cuticles can be caused by several things. If the cuticle has been scraped, or there are abrasions on the cuticle and chemicals are then used, the skin could be irritated. Puffy cuticles can also be caused by an allergic reaction to products used on the nails or products in which the hands are being soaked. Your professional nail technician can best diagnose the reason for your puffy cuticles and assist with treatment. Professional application of nail products is the best prevention for skin irritation.

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31. What is the best way to remove hangnails?

Nail technicians remove hangnails with cuticle nippers. The best way to prevent hangnails is to use cuticle cream, oil or lotion that is massaged into the cuticle and nail mantle. Then use a cuticle stick to gently push back the cuticle after you have softened it, which in most cases, eliminates the need to trim cuticles of hangnails.

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32. I love the French Manicure look or the light sheer colors, but my nails are so yellow. Do you have any at home suggestions?

Many acrylics change color to a yellow cast just from wearing them for a long period of time or if a basecoat is not being used under polish. 2 According to Elle, manicurist for the Mark Edward Agency, NY city, you can try following:

  • Squeeze lemon juice on your nails (the citric acid helps lighten stains).
  • Add effervescent denture cleanser to warm water and soak nails for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Protect nails with a base coat that is formaldehyde free.

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33. What is the difference between a French Manicure and an American Manicure?

A French Manicure focuses on providing natural looking nails with a white tip and a pink base. An American Manicure is usually a white tip with light beige or neutral base.

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34. What is a paraffin wrap?

Paraffin is a waxy substance used in heat treatments by manicurists and aestheticians. Warm paraffin is used to coat the hands, feet or face. This paraffin coating holds heat in for 10 to 15 minutes and causes the pores to open to allow moisturizers to penetrate into the skin more readily. Paraffin therapy conditions and softens the cuticles and leaves hands feeling soft and pampered.

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35. I have half-moons on my nails. What are these?

The technical term for this is the "lunula." The light color of the lunula, also known as the "half moon," is caused by the reflection of light where the matrix (also known as the mother of the nail, where nail growth begins) and the connective tissue of the nail bed join.

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36. I have nail ridges. What causes this problem and can it be fixed?

There are many different causes of nail ridges. Trauma to the nail, certain medications taken over long periods of time, and chronic health conditions can cause temporary or permanent nail ridges. Vertical ridges are also common as we age. If ridges are temporary, they will grow out within six months to a year. To diminish ridges, you can buff lightly with a soft buffer, lifting the buffer between strokes to prevent friction heat. Use a light touch; over-buffing can damage nails. Your nail technician should recognize these and treat them appropriately.

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37. How do I get my nails to grow faster?

There is no "sure thing" to make nails grow faster. The average adult's nails grow one-eighth of an inch per month. Regular salon treatments, a healthy diet, vitamins, cuticle conditioners and nail strengtheners all can help promote healthy, new growth.

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38. Why are there white spots on my natural nails?

As a child, you may have been told these were called "lie spots." The more lies you told the more white spots you would have on your nails. This, and all other tall tales, are not true. White spots are calcium deposits in the nail, usually caused by hitting the nail or smashing the nail in a door.

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39. How should my toenails be trimmed? Straight or rounded?

Toenails should be trimmed and filed straight and never too short. This will help to prevent ingrown toenails.

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40. What are acrylic nails?

Acrylic nails are the most common form of nail enhancement in the salon. They are strong and durable and provide a nice shape to the nail, especially for clients who have an abnormal shape to their nails. Acrylic nails are applied using a sable brush with liquid and powder. They can be applied over a natural nail or plastic tip, or they can be sculptured. They usually produce an odor but can be odorless. The nails harden on their own in just a few minutes. They can be worn with or with out polish. Acrylic nails can be removed using 100% acetone.

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41. What are UV GEL nails?

Traditional UV gel nails are derived from acrylic. They are strong and more flexible than acrylic. They're perfect for clients who have dry, brittle nails as they provide a lightweight flexible feel to the nails. UV gel nails are applied using a thin layer Gel powder and a thin layer of Gel liquid. The gel liquid is brushed on like polish and then put under a UV light to harden the nails. They can be applied over a natural nail or plastic tip, or they can be sculptured. Gel nails are odorless. They can wear with or with out polish. Note: Gel nails rarely turn yellow (they might turn yellow if they’re getting old). They are completely translucent, and have a glass-clear finish; therefore many people prefer to wear them without polish. 

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42. What are SOLAR nails?

SOLAR Nails are the upgrade of GEL nails, and they look more fantasy than Gel. They are made by the pearl tips plug on your nails bed and the natural pink Solar powder over them. Then we do the shined buff make them look glassy. You don’t need to sit on the UV light or fans. Instead of pink and white nails, they look like pink and American. They’re none yellow (they might tune yellow if they’re getting old), and the change of lifting or cracking less than the other nails. People really love this kind of new nails. Why not take a try!

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43. What are Diamond nails?

Diamond nails are the upgrade of Silk Wrap nails. They are strong and durable like acrylic, except with less odor. They are applied by brushing a resin glue on to the nails and then dipping the nail in to diamond powder. They're virtually odorless except for the catalyst spray that is used to dry the glue. They can be applied over the natural nail or any plastic tip, but are not recommended for sculpting. Diamond nails can wear with or without polish. Diamond nail can be removed using 100% acetone. Note: Diamond nails are less damage your real nails then the other nails, but the change of lifting or cracking sometimes more than the other nails. For all kinds of nail, we still have to sand you real nails in order for the artificial nails adhere better; but we sand lightly with less damage.

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44. What is a pedicure and what does it entail?

A pedicure is performed on your feet by soaking your feet in the pedicure tub with anti-bacterial soap and softening skin lotion. We: shape the free edges, treat the cuticle area and surrounding skin to remove any dead/dry skin, scrub/file the bottoms of your feet to remove and dead/dry/cracked skin, massage your feet and legs, and then polish your toenails. Additionally we can provide a hot towel as a special service to you. Our tools are sanitized to protect our customer from any nail diseases. Also, our salon is stocked with top of the line spa pedicure chairs with heaters, high jet whirlpool, and roller massage that will give you the most relaxing time after a hard, busy working day. The normal pedicure services are still performed; however, there are variations that can be performed using extra exfoliants, masks and aromatherapy. This is called our "Spa Pedicure".

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45. What is a manicure and what does it entail?

A manicure is performed on your fingernails by soaking your nails in warm water with softening cuticle lotion, shaping the free edges, treating the cuticle and surrounding skin to remove any dead/dry skin or hang nails, buffing your nails to a bright shine (optional), massaging your hands and arms, and finally polishing your nails. This is typical manicure; however, there are variations that can be performed using extra exfoliants, masks and aromatherapy. This is called our "SPA Manicure".

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1 Source: Nails Magazine (vol. Feb 2002)
2 Source: LHJ (Ladies Home Journal) Jan. 2002



Contact Us

We can be reached at our salon phone
(803) 738-9400
or our cell phone
(803) 348-9749

You may also use our online form to schedule an appointment.  We'll contact you if there are any conflicts!

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