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Why more and more Kenyan men are becoming expert nail technicians



Jeremy Kamau works as a nail technician in Nairobi’s Central Business District. On a typical day, you’ll find him outside his nail booth, arranging stick-ons and approaching potential customers in the bustling walkways.

Kamau is among approximately 15 other young men vying for customers, predominantly women, for their nail bars.

Many educated young men, like Kamau, are turning to nail bars after struggling to find employment for years.

Despite the growing number of men in the industry, there’s still a stigma attached, especially from other men who consider nail care a feminine pursuit.

Nevertheless, thousands of young men in Nairobi and other cities are earning a decent income from nail care.

Kamau notes that some of his female customers appreciate the masculine touch in nail care, a sentiment shared by other male nail technicians.

Kamau pursued a beauty course seven years after completing his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams (KCSE). Despite his father’s desire for him to pursue Information Technology, Kamau followed his passion for nail beauty.

A basic nail job, like a pedicure or manicure, costs between Ksh.400 and Ksh.500 per client, though prices can vary.

The job involves various tasks such as nail polishing, painting, and applying gel or acrylic nails.

Kamau’s tools include nail clippers, a file, cuticle oil, footbath equipment, and towels. He also offers foot and hand massages as part of his service.

Kamau’s success is largely attributed to referrals and repeat customers, with him attending to up to 10 clients on a good day.

Youth unemployment remains a significant challenge in Kenya, with over 1.54 million unemployed individuals aged between 20 and 29 years, mainly secondary school and college graduates.

Many young male nail technicians are calling for support from the county government, particularly in reducing license costs, to help them succeed in their businesses.


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April 2024

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