FAQ's
ANSWER: A good place to start would be w/ some classes---either from a manufacturer, a distributor, or generic classes through NCA. Also, watching every nail video you can beg, borrow or buy. Get your hands on as many back issues of Nails and Nail pro that you can. Get the current edition of MiLady's Art & Science of Nail Technology. Go get your nails done at several differant salons. Go to some trade shows and buy a starter kit of whatever system you want to start practicing w/ first. And then practice, practice, practice!!!!! A good way to get in good w/ a salon owner while you are perfecting your skills is to first bone up on your PEDICURING SKILLS, I don't know of a salon owner in the world who turn down a good pedicurist for any amount of part-time hours (as long as you are dependable and consistent). Now that you have your foot in the door, (no pun intended) other services will start to come your way! When other techs are busy, you can offer to do single nail repairs (how bad could you mess up 1 nail?) or polishing for them when they get behind....as the clients get to know you, and the owner sees you are sincere, success will come your way and you'll be moving up to FULL-TIME in no time! Good Luck, Barb (nailsplash)
ANSWER: To combat SERVICE BREAKDOWN AS TIPS GROW OUT from the start: 1) try differant types, brands, thicknesses of glues, 2) cover as little of the natural nail bed w/ tip as possible (cut back the wells if needed)thereby reducing the amount of glue used and the amount of tip overlay area to grow out. 3) make sure that you are sizing the tips correctly. Most new techs UNDERSIZE tips by a full size or so (ie using a 10 always on pinkies vs. most people actually need 9's and even 8's!)When an undersized tip grows out it will want to pull away from the natural nail. When between sizes use the LARGER size, and CUSTOMIZE the tip by filing sidewalls, etc, as needed! 4)Try differant brands of tips. No one tip style will work for all clients---you must stock at least 2 differant brands (in addition to any French White tips you stock!) 5)YOU MUST BLEND TIPS COMPLETELY, poorly or improperly blended tips WILL LIFT 6)To aviod any possibility of the glue problem to begin with: learn how to sculpt on forms your new full-sets from the start.... 7)Check your acrylic overlay application, you may be using it too thin and wet at the sidwalls in an effort to keep them thin looking. Thin is good, but TOO WET HAS NO STRENGTH! So then you are relying on the tip for strength instead of your acylic. If the acrylic here seems "SOFT"(where it's lifting at the sides) then that means it never cured properly because wrong liquid/powder ratios were used, a VERY common mistake.... so don't think it's just you, everybody has these types of problems, and you always need to be able to adjust your style! OK more on "how to avoid the problem to begin with" later...What to do right now?! Do not glue the separated area, that will only postpone and increase your problems. I do NOT recommend sealing the backside with acrylic (that's a whole new conversation thread for later...) What you need to do right now is file off ALL the lifted areas (a pain I know but worth it in the long run, first shorten the nails to re
ANSWER: News Service/Medical Breakthroughs © Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc. 1997 A team of orthopaedic surgeons has developed special exercises that can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The exercises, which should be done at the start of each work shift and after each break, decrease the median nerve pressure responsible for CTS, according to the results of a study presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting. A. Extend and stretch both wrists and fingers acutely as if they are in a hand-stand position. Hold for a count of 5.
B. Straighten both wrists and relax fingers.
C. Make a tight fist with both hands.
D. Then bend both wrists down while keeping the fist. Hold for a count of 5.
E. Straighten both wrists and relax fingers,to a count of 5.
F. Repeat exercise 10 times, then hang arms loosely at side and shake them for a couple of seconds.
Total exercise time: 5-10 minutes.
ANSWER: Regarding safety of gels vs acrylics when pregnant..... In my opinion, preganant or otherwise, avoiding solvent based evaporative products is best whenever possible. "Acrylics" (both regular and tradfitional odorless) are solvent based, and dry/cure through evaporation of those solvents. Gels are cured through photoinitiaors rather than solvents. So, yes, in my opinion I would (and did!) pick gels during and after my pregnancies. Even with a local exhaust system I was getting queasy from the monomer fumes. I no longer had that problem with gels. Now of course, if you have been doing nails for a long time and are considering switching to doing gels during your pregnancy, you have to think about the added stress you will incur learning a new system! Not to mention costs. Everything has a risk vs benefit associated with it, so you have to decide what is best for you. Regardless of what you use (acrylics or uv gels), you should still have local exhaust to handle the dust as well as the rest of the odors, such as polish remover and polish itself! And if anything doesn't feel right or makes you nervous or uneasy, then it is probably not worth the stress. This area just has not been studied enough for any one to make a complete informed decision. So everyone has to decide for themselves, what is in their own best interest. You can always try taking MSDS of products to your MD, or better yet a genetic specialist. When I was pregnant with my last child (I've had 2 since my nail career began), I DID go to a genetic specialist, but he could not give me any definitive answers or recommendations either...(of course things could have changed since then). There are lots of anecdotal stories of good and bad about pregnancy and nails, pregnancy and hair, pregnancy and just about anything you can think of. But not a lot of studies or technical data to help us even make an informed decision. For more info on this subject, check back issues of our magazines, or their
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The differance lies in the percentages used of each ingredient, not just the ingredients themselves. Some of the basic ingredients in nail polishes promote superior adhesion, some promote high gloss, long lasting shine, and others promote faster drying time (I won't bore you with the chemistry of which chemical does what, as all are involved in some degree in all of them)....The laws of chemisrty say that a polish cannot have all 3 of these properties (among others) in one polish. For instance: In order to make a polish dry faster you must increase one ingredient and decrease another, the outcome is usually a loss of shine and durability. So while all polishes may have the same core goup of ingredients, it is the % of each that matters. A basecoat will have more of the ingr. that promotes adhesion than a colored polish or topcoat will. A high gloss topcoat will have more of certain ingr. than a fast dry topcoat or polish color will (generally). Polish colors tend to be about in the iddle on all 3 properties. Think of baking a cake....if you use all the same ingredients, but alittle more flour and sugar, ad a little less eggs and baking powder...will it still turn out the same? Will it even ever form a solid and "bake" at all. Very small, minute ingredient changes can have a world of differance in the world of chemistry! (One last example; Just think, that 1 oxygen molecule added to hydrogen makes water!!!) So, while the ingredient lists may be the same, the ingr. proportions are NOT, and that makes for differant "chemicals" with differant properties. Hope I have helped and not confused! MORE ON POLISH INGREDIENTS...... RE: Chemistry of nail polish ingredients/ differance between base and top coats..... Ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity on an ingredient list. However, even if two products have the exact same ingredients, listed in the exact same order they can still be completely differant. It takes only minute changes in active ingredients (ie those responsible for adhesion, shine, or drying time)to change the properties of a formulation. And the further down the list they are, the less of them there is to begin with, which then makes really small changes even more important and noticeable in a products performance. To illustrate this theory: Try polishing one of your non-polished nails with the base coat and another with the topcoat and let them dry. The basecoat should DRY FASTER and have a less shiny surface (matte or satin finish) than the topcoat (to help polish grip to it). The topcoat should be glossier in comparison, and will probably take longer to dry. (You may need to do this experiment over POLISHED nails instead to see the diff. in shine.)

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Fungus is actually NOT very common at all. Even Doctors cannot be sure just by looking whether someone has it until they grow a culture, which can sometimes take weeks. FOR MUCH MORE DISCUSSION AND DEFINITIONS PERTAINING TO THIS SUBJECT CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO THE PAGE "GLOSSARY OF NAIL TECH TERMINOLOGY !!!

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Generally, vertical splits in the nail are caused by some type of injury to the nail matrix, which may or may not be permanent. Keeping the nail covered wth some type of cvering, such as a wrap r gel overlay with fiberglass generally does produce good results. Keep the free edge trimmed short and maintain the repair regularly for best results. In most cases this allows the damaged part of the matrix to heal and produce healthy nail that nolonger splits. If you don't repair the nail w/a covering then the split will continue further down the nail bed and not have a chance to repair itself. Nails are made of the same keratin protein as hair is (minus the colrant),and is also composed of STRANDS just as hair is. Nail (strands) are compressed together rather than "individual" as hair strands are. So, when one of the nail strand "folicles" (this is not correct terminology, but used to be descriptive) is damaged within the matrix, it stops making nails strands (temporarily usually). This "missing" strand is usually not eveident while the nail is stll "on" the nail bed, but can become evident once the natural nail has grown out past the support of the bed (past the hyponichium) and out into the free edge. Without this added support, even normal daily wear and tear can make the missing strand become evident as a split or crack that runs vertically from free-edge toward cuticle. (Injury, abuse, or harsh chemicals can hasten the process.) Preveting the split from progressing further is 1st priority, and that is where the protective covering comes into play....even for MEN. My husband endured 4 weekly visits to the salon for gel maintenance on a (painful) thumb untill the split had grown out of the nail bed and we were able to keep that nail short enough (ie no white free edge) from that point on to prevent a recurrence. Procedure: I used 1 thin coat of gel, then fiberglass, and 1 more thin coat of gel. At maintenance, I would shorten the nail and then buff out the gel till flush with the natural nail, just as in a regular fill, and then reapply 1 thin coat of gel. If the split was still progressing then I would add more fiberglass at this point as well. (Note: do all your regular prep procedures such as pushing back cuticle, removing the shine, and priming if necessary, etc.) Once the split has grown out past the free , keeping the nail short generally keeps future splits from happening. Also, regular use of a 3 way buffer on this nail seems to help keep the nail "fibers" laying down smooth, helping to prevent them from catching on something and splitting again.

ANSWER: Most times the judges NEVER see the model, only her hands! So great looking nail beds that you can work on comfortably and efficiently are KEY! Forget the AGE thing and just concentrate on doing your best. Afterall,you are competing so that you can become a better nail tech, who offers better nail services and ultimately earns more money....winning 1st would be great, but the real goal (prize!) is in the education! Keep focused on THAT and someday a 1st place will come!
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Yes, you have chosen the right career! Don't give up....frustration is a part of this job for life!
Climates change (well here in Chicago we have shifts in temperature that range more than 100 degrees or more! 90 plus in the summer and 10 below and lower in the winter!), clients body chemistry changes, childbirth, illness, medications, menopause... products change...etc What you are encountering here w/ the nails separating from the old tip just as they are about to grow out is COMMON! Unfortuneatly, schools (and manufacturer classes as well) don't focus enough on Fill-ins, which is how ultimately we make our livings (from repeat biz, not 1 time full-set customers). (although I do know that Creative does have a Re-balance (fill) class, so check that out!) What you are having is referred to as a service breakdown (when all 10 nails start experiencing breakage or damage of the same type at the same time). And the good news is that the service breakdown you are having is a GLUE BREAKDOWN! ....more to come in a bit.... GLUE BREAKDOWN
When the glue that holds tips on gets old it gets brittle and starts to deteriorate. Clients who have their hands in water a lot will breakdown sooner.

ANSWER:

To start: Call your local and state cosmetology associations for their class listings. Call your State Dept of Prof Reg for approved schools and CEU providers.
Next check w/ your local distributors and the class listings in Nails & Nail Pro mags. Another great source is videos....even if they are not on your product line, or even your type of product (acrylics, gels, fiber, etc) all will give you some insight! I still rewatch my entire collection at least once a year (even though I'm an educator and disagree strongly w/ many of the "lessons") because somehow it helps me "remember" on a "concious level" what has now become routine and "unconsious", every oncve in a while I still pick up a hint or tip from tapes 10 years old! Teach someone how to do nails! I know it sounds odd, but even taeching something as simple as polish application makes you think about WHY you do things the way you do! I don';t know a teacher that I've ever met anywhere who won't say that she/he comes away from every class they teach having learned something themselves! Go to shows, and when you do go there with NO NAILS and get 10 1 nail demos from 10 differant distributors! You'll see differant products and differant application styles, and get to "test drive" 10 new products. Also, consider getting YOUR NAILS DONE at OTHER salons. I have had many clients who are nail techs----after working all day who wants to do their own nails anyway? (I know it's a good advertisement, but right now you are after education!!!! If a client persists in asking just say a friend or a ditributor did them, or you were a model in a class....)I have never been intimidated by having other nail techs come to me, so that's how you'll know if she/he is any good, if they are afraid of you (because you are a tech) then they probably aren'y too hot anyway). If letting on that you are a nail tech is too intimidating for you, then just make it clear when you book apppts. that you are very discriminating and need their best and most efficient (timewise) tech! Find out how long they book each appt for and that too will help you determine the proficiency....if they book on 45 mins or less and are busy but ON TIME you'll probably learn something....If they book an hour or more AND are also behind w/ out any abvious reason, then they A) may not be very good &/or fast or B)have no idea how to book appts. to match their skill and ability. Yes, everyone has to start somewhere, we all did (w/ those agonizing 1 1/2 hour fills....) but you are looking for the best, someone you can learn from. Expect to pay top dollar for these "lessons" and if the salon is 45-60 minutes away, then the better your chance for building a repoir w/ this tech AS A TECH yourself, and not just as a client! Lastly, reread those text books: MiLady's Art & Science of Nail Technology (which I had the opportunity to help edit this last goaround) and Tammy Taylors book is very good too! (and I only do gels!)

QUESTION: SKIN PROTECTANTS
ANSWER:

I use Dermashield, another brand is Syderma. Avon also makes one, you can also check out any silicone based lotions made for mechanics...I'll check for the 800 # of the dermashield when I get a chance (link now on links page with pnone # as well). Sally's now carry's one too called "gloves in a bottle", also check w/ your local beauty supply or at a show..... You might want to check w/ a Dr. just to be sure...because a lot (your career) is riding on this....he/she may prescribe a cortizone cream (or other Rx)to help w/ the reaction as well....and an anti-histimine (like benadryl) may also be prescribed--either in oral form or topical spray or cream. Hot water strips skin of it's natural oils (which are what protect it) and so increases the reactivity/allergic response...no hot baths or showers etc (lukewarm only, and very short duration) and limit exposure to Sodium Laureth Sulfates...the most common "foaming" agent used in shampoos, soaps,(even toothpaste) etc....but ALSO extremely drying to skin.... compare bottles of shampoo, and look for one w/ this ingredient listed further down the list ( the higher up in the list, the higher the % of it). Foaming action is NOT necessary for cleansing...so don't be discouraged by the lack of suds.... I had an extremely favorablr response from the skin on my ENTIRE body when I started skipping shampoo every other day in the shower (all your hairdresser associates will tell you DAILY shampooing is NOT necessary and not good for your hair....I once heard Vidal Sassoon makes his models sign a contract that they will only wash their hair no more then ONCE a week!). Also, limit your exposure to all household soaps and cleansers...and switch from hand lotions to CREAMS (like Eucerin or Aquaphor)
Good luck, let us know how you do!

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We do have similar exams here...first you must pass your school exam to be allowed to go on to the state exam.....each state within our country administers their own exam...when you move from state to state you need to re-qualify in the new state (which could be as simple as an easy license transfer, or taking their state exam, or even having to redo school and exam), each of these steps does involve a fee..... We also have non-compulsary tests which can be taken through the National Cosmetology Association. There are also additional fees for this, and you can take them at the local, state, and national levels. We can also take a national certification exam through NCA, again optional (and another separate fee, (and renewal requirements) but it helps to vouch for your credibility as a true nails expert with clients, and helps you to demand higher prices (kind of the same with Doctors in a way, with differant accredidations they can receive that are not mandatory, but we as clients are looking for!...such as for plastic surgery, cardiology, allergists, pediatrics, etc). Unfortuneately it seems as if "fees" are the way of the world. here in Illinois, USA we must pay every 2 years to renew our nail license, and a separate fee to renew our salon license, and another for teachers license, plus annual business licenses to local municipalities...etc.. It is definetly each idividuals right to pursue or not pursue, as it is optional....so one has to weigh the benefits obtained vs. the price.....since no one is required to take an optional certification exam (past the licensing phase), then I believe that it is fair to allow others to attain it if they desire, and feel that it is in their best interset to do so. I know personally that I learned a lot during the test taking process itself from NailsChicago, then to NailsIllinois, and then finally Nail TechAmerica. I happen to be a very competitive person, and these sorts of accreditations allow me to pursue that part of my personality in my career in a rewarding and challenging manner! take care

QUESTION: NAIL BREAKAGE
ANSWER:

Broken nails: generally you can trace problems all the way back to the FULL-SET application! If the nail was not applied perfectly (and application tailored to that cleints individual needs)then problems can, and usually will show up around the 2nd or 3rd fill (they generally APPEAR to still look OK at the 1st fill after the full-set, and shortly thereafter start to show problems, sometimes only a few days after the 1st fill---so if you do the fill after someone else does the full-set, then you will get the blame for doing a poor job, when the fault most likely belongs to the tech who did the intial full-set application!)
ANOTHER scenario for this situation happens when you take over a client from another tech and that tech has been doing "FLUFF" fill-ins for the last 1-2-3 appts.....meaning she didn't rebalance or do any PREVENTATIVE maintenance (hint: she's been finishing in 20 minutes! and running out the salon door before everybody else at the end of the night!) So, before you disect your fill procedure, go back and look at your FULL-SET procedure to be sure the nails have been applied perfectly (no cutting corners!), to give you a good foundation to build on with your fills. Then when problems appear you can decide if they relate back to the full-set, or later on look for other possible causes of service breakdown, THEN you can start looking at the client herself---after you are SURE you are not at fault! Just some initial thoughts....more later

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Nail Wipes/LINT FREE.....I believe in saving money...so I do NOT use any type of "professional" wipe. The best buy for my money, and the best performer as far as being lint free are Marathon cocktail napkins ($200 for $7.99, that 1/4 of 1 penny apiece!) OR generic paper towels. Always available, always reliable, and cost next to nothing! Try it and you'll agree! I also do not use the the brand name paraffin liners/bags, I wrap the clients hands in (extra wide)saran wrap that I buy thru the wholesale club or restaurant supply.As for polish I buy mine for $0.64 (that's right 64 cents) a bottle from nailite ( the ones in the back of our magazines)and my clients love it! I sell it for $5 a bottle. I also buy from nailite their U-V dried topcoat, not only is it HALF the price of the "name brand" it's actually better in my opinion! I have also had a lot of luck w/ their files, glues, primers (acid and "non"acid), nail prep, and 5 differant styles of nail tips.(I buy everything in bulk)I am NOT a discount salon, I charge $40 and up for fills (and believe me, I too am surrounded by discount shops w/ prices as low as $12!) and have a waiting list for clients....(I could raise prices, but then I wouldn't get to call all the shots! My clients refer to me as the "Nail Nazi"(as a reference to the "Soup Nazi" on Seinfeld...)I just like to keep the money in MY pocket so that I can ensure I will still be around in this business for at least another 10 years. I do not carry ANY brand name products for my clients to see....as far as they are concerned everything is MY BRAND. And they are very, very happy! (I do reward them w/ other extras though....see my post about 2 weeks ago re: pricing).Hope this helps! Don't be afraid to save money---every dime you spend comes out of your packet and not into your bank account.

ANSWER:

The type of U-V dryer I use is the Lanel U-V 3 stage. It starts w/ just blowing fans for 3 minutes (the recommended wait time after applying a U-V topcaot before exposure to the U-V lights,) then 3 minutes of U-V light, and then 2 more minutes of heated blowing fans...I have or had ALL THE DRYERS in the market (both profinsh designs, the IBD Jet Dry, etc... and the LANELS (about $300 each I think???) and the clients overwhelmingly chose the Lanels (I only have 1 client that still prefers the pro-finish light, and no one likes the IBD Jet Dry, I tried it both with their topcoat and with mine, the polish simply is not DRY as they promise---in fact when I bought it at the show after a demo, I noticed that I had smudged my demo nail beyond repair sometime during the time I was writing my check---I should have returned it right thrn and there, but I thought I could get it to work.)The Lanel is Pricey for a dryer, I know, but my first one from 4 or 5 years ago is STILL working well, and it gets quite a workout! As for U-V topcoats I like the GENERIC made by nailite, half the price ($20 vs. $40 (?) for the 4 oz bottle)of Pro-Finish, and I actually think it's better! Less thickening of the product, less "wrinkling" or discoloring of the polish (that's why I no longer allow outside polish w/ the UV topcoat, unless the CLIENT is willing to risk it---especially non-professional brands ---like Maybelline or Cutex---they don't do well w/ U-V topcoats!) in the lamps. Plus it has been my experience that I've seen fewer allergic reactions, and the smell is no where near as pungent as the Pro-Finish (I have nothing against Pro-Finish, it is a great product, and the revolutionary leader in this product category, so I'll always be thankful to them for developing this wave of products...could not live w/out U-V topcoats and dryers)! But I just happen to prefer this nailite brand!---You can use it with any U-V nail dryer..... As far as straight U-V lights for curing GEL NAILS I like the LCN lamps---but those bulbs (U-V U shaped 9 watts) are too expensive to "waste" on drying nail polish (although I have found a non-nail supply source for buying them in bulk for 1/3 the regular price...same exact bulbs, made by the same company, same box, etc..) as is my table space and time too valuable to allow clients to dry right at the station where I did their fill---they must vacate so I can get on to the next client---so they move on to the dryers.

 

ANSWER:

New in the nail business/frustrated new nail tech. Do 100 full-sets and then call me in the morning!....don't mean to be glib, but practice, practice, practice is the surest 1st route to success. Just the fact that you can see the flaws in the nails you do is a step in the right direction! Truly, as an educator (of advanced courses now, but previously for beginners) I have seen that 100th full-set marker to be a true milestone. You won't be able to get that much practice at school...you are going to have to work just as hard now at finding willing victims(which of course will be good practice on how to learn to attract clientele for AFTER Nail School)!Even if you have to use the same person over and over (soak off in between), even if it means using MALE hands (brother, husband, boyfriend...anybody you can beg). Sometimes your only model will be your self, a tip held in a clothespin, a practice hand, or even on plastic practice sheets (I believe Tammy Taylor makes some, to practice ball size and consistency). Put in the time now, while you are still in school! Too often techs are frustrated when they venture out to their 1st new job, because thay have not practiced enough, and so now that they are actually doing more nails they have a zillion questions, and now no daily instructors to guide them anymore. When I taught beginner courses, I could always tell who had been practicing (even during lecture, before we even got to hands on!). Those who had been practicing the most were very frustrated and had a lot of questions. Those who were doing just the bare minimum (or none at all) of practice outside the classroom, had NO QUESTIONS, and seemed very smug and as if they already knew it all. Which of course made those who were practicing wonder why they (the small minority of students really working hard)weren't getting it. So relax, practice, and keep in mind that those students in class who have no questions and no frustrations, won't last long in our ever-evolving industry! PS Just curious, how did you find these message boards, did your teacher tell you about them? If so, then sounds like you've got a great teacher! If you found them on your own kudos to you...and no matter, kudos to you just for being smart enough to ask for help! Oh, and one other word of wisdom (in addition to PRACTICE)----PATIENCE!

ANSWER:

So yes, I definetly think it could be the phenols in the barbicide drying your skin. All disinfectants can be drying, as most use a defatting action to basically kill foreign bodies by "sucking the life" literally out of them. If you removed all (basically, just even some...)of the waters and oils, etc, from our bodies (human bodies)we die too....so for this reason the answer is not necessarily to change your disinfectant (Although you may want to consider some of the newer generation of disinfectants) , but your storage and retreival methods. Either change to a (the name of this tool is eluding me now) you know, the gadget that looks like scissors, to remove your implements, or change to a drainage basket system, where the basket is attatched to the lid so the tools come up out of the solution as you lift the lid....while you are healing I would recommend a barrier cream and/or GLOVES. Reminder, barrier creams are USELESS if not applied properly: step 1) wash hands 2)dry hands well 3) apply barrier cream or foam, paying special attention to cuticles, and under nails, tips of nails, etc 4) LET DRY for 5 minutes (or you just wipe it off before the barrier is formed!) 5) in your case I would repeat all of above! for added protection I find the best way to do this is to incorporate it first into my AM routine, I keep a can of Dermashield (the brand I use, it also has triclosan in it, a long acting anti-bacterial...)at home with my other lotions and apply after my shower, and then again 10 minutes later in my dressing routine. I reapply at lunch time and dinner time (about) following the steps above, to keep up continuos protection. This will help with your exposure to not only your barbicide ( others, such as Isabel Christina---my personal favorite---or whatever...but also will help prevent exposure to alcohol, acetone, etc, also help prevent irritation from exposure to acrylic (or gel) nail dust filings that settle on skin. During all filing services (by hand w/file or w/ drill) I wear GOAT SKIN GLOVES to protect me from dust and from the files irritating (and filing through) my skin. Cost about $15 a pair, and last about 1 1/2 to 2 weeks each----and WORTH it. Takes a while to get used to working in them (which is why I use goat skin, doesn't get hot, very form fitting and flexible) but again is worthwhile to learn how...I found wrapping with those tapes to be too time consuming, and they looked so dirty after 1 or 2 clients.

ANSWER:

What's eating me???/skin sensitivity to disinfectant. Yes, it may very well be the barbicide or other implement sanitizer that is causing your skin problems. This is why I think so...several years ago I used to keep nail scrub brushes by the wash-up sink in barbicide (for disinfection between client use)...found several clients with this same reaction you are desrcribing...so watched those clients closely during their pre and post service scrubs, and found to my horror that some of them thought that the blue liquid was part of the scrubbing process...so instead of rinsing the brush first and then scrubbing with it and the soap (I use anti-bacterial soap for before service, and a gentler (non-anti-bacterial) soap for after service--confusing I know, but clients eventually understand why and appreciate the system---I label them, put up signs and each is a differant color as well)----any way...some of the clients were actually scrubbing the BARBICIDE into their skin, especially the very delicate area under the nail free-edge, and experiencing the same symptoms you describe! At first I thought I had a mass product allergy on my hands and was scared to death! Once I changed my brush system---to alleviate any threat of this problem recurring again, and because I rethought my basic sanitation priciples--the problem eventually went away...I changed to a system of individual brushes for each client (not as in an envelope type system...I personally don't endorse that option either, but that would be a whole 'nother post....)What I mean is that the brush I use to dust with during service is the same brush I give them to wash with at the end of service, and then they throw them into a bin and then I wash, disinfect, and dry them, and then return them to the clean bin at each station. I decided this was more sanitary, and eliminated any contamination from bactreia or oils from a standard barber duster brush used on all clients during the day at the stations. Also, I switched to surgical scrub brushes (found them at a show once and ordered 500 at about 33 or 50 cents each, can't remember exactly...) because they are MUCH softer and less likely to scratch or even slightly abraide the skin and cuticle area, whereas our typical client nail brush can because of it's coarse, thick, plastic bristles. I decided to eliminate using brushes in the pre-wash, although about 10% of clients still ask for one before service as well, which is fine, since I hand it to them I know it's clean and dry..

ANSWER:

Scrub Fresh/Nail prepping & sanitizing....I would not personally recommend putting it or any other nail cleanser/dehydrator in a spray bottle, because then it will get on the skin and the cuticles and possibly cause excess drying, cracking, etc of the skin for the client...which could then lead to sensitivities developing to it or even OTHER nail products we use...remember the rule of thumb...nail products belong ONLY on the nail, and nowhere else....my preferred method to sanitize the nail plate is NOW to use only light buffing and superb dusting of the nail plate (using a dry surgical scrub brush)...this method relayed to me by Maggie Boyd (a former(?)NIA founding board menber...does NIA still exist, I forget right now...where HAS my mind gone...just found out, no longer in existence) I then go on to primer of choice, MAP (methacrylic acid primer) or BX (OPI Bondex or the generic), or an ABA bonding gel (they call them "primerless" but....! That's a WHOLE 'nother tangent for me, remember, I have a chemistry background in my "previous" life, so don't get me started....) and SOMETIMES (rarely) in conjuuntion, (before the primer) I will use a pH nuetralizer before (BRUSH-ON). This causes the least amount of natural nail...(dare I say it, I don't like the term..."damage", so I won't... lets use...)"change". Which in turn leads to an overall healthier FREE-EDGE when the nail grows out under the enhancement....(provided you have had no episodes of cuticle area lifting during the 6 month fill process from new nail growth to free edge)and so then LESS or no natural nail separation at the free edge from the product This "sanitazation" process is more MECHANICAL then CHEMICAL in action. Just as brushing our teeth or washing our kitchen floors is more mechanical than chemical...yes chemicals are involved, but so is elbow grease...you cant just swish toothpaste aroung in your mouth!...you must BRUSH the teeth to remove debris, bacteris, etc, there are no spray on or wipe on toothepastes,...same for the floor, the cleaners help, but you must REMOVE the dirt once it is broken up.
An alternative to the method above is the method I used for 8 years previous to changing to the current...and that was to wipe the nails with 99% alcohol on a lint free wipe(see previous post about why I like marathon cocktail napkins...just rechecked my data on those....it's 2,000 for about $7, less than 1/4 of one penny each!)...with the wiping method I could keep the alcohol on the nails (not the skin) and ALSO employ MECHANICAL removal of debris...because I don't just want DEAD bacteria...I want the bacteria (dead or alive!) REMOVED...this also helped to remove dust remnants, and was my final step before primer....but TRY Maggies method (no dehydrants or chemical sanitizers...) on yourself for 6 months---and see the dramatic differance in free-edge health, and thus reduction in free-edge separation, curling, drying, etc, etc, etc,! Leads to more (ALL) clients wearing enhancements over THEIR NATURAL NAILS w/ less tips, forms, repairs, chips, etc, so they can go LONGER between appts. (and you get paid MORE for the same time frame of work, see my previous posts here or my web page [www.nailsplash.com] about pricing for more info) which ultimately leads to happier clients, which leads to client retention, referrals, and a full book.

QUESTION: NAIL BREAKAGE
ANSWER:

The short version:
1) Glue breakdown could be the culprit (try other glues brands and consistencies, shorten the wells on tips so that less nail is covered by glue and tip...)
2) wrong ratios of liquid to powder on the sidewalls. In an attempt to keep the overlays thin you may be working your product too WET at the sidewalls, which leads to NO STRENGTH. At first you don't notice ( ie first 4-8 weeks of fills) because you are still depending on the tip for strength instead of the acrylic, but as tip grows out (and GLUE BREAKS DOWN and tip starts to separate from natural nail) you are now left w/ very weak sidewalls that break easily, or just pop off due to the lifting tip.... See more about this BELOW under topic: nail breakage.

QUESTION: NAIL DRILLS
ANSWER:

No doubt about it, I like the KUPA UP200 the best. I like the medicool backfill bit, I don't even know how to describe it, it's not like the other backfill bits on the market(for carving out new smile line for pink and whites)(its not a small barrel design, it carves very nicely), I think they have a link to it on the beautytech.com message boards, it's about $15 I think, check it out! Yes, I use my drill for the entire fill prep, (I use mandrels w/ sanding bands...I keep 8-10 mandrells on hand in sanitizer so I can switch between clients, and I Pre-soften the edge of the sanding bands about 100 at a time in advance, to save time during service, or you could use diamond or cardide bits which are easier to sanitize between clients)from reducing free-edge thickness after shortening, to thinning out the stress area as it moves back at each fill (I ALWAYS REBALANCE, I do not just fill), to reshaping rounded shaped nails after shortening, and I use a football (diamond med-fine is my pref.) near the cuticle (on the old gel (I do gel, so exchange the word acrylic here as needed), not the natural nail)to thin that gel there and 1/2 way up the sidewalls on the bed. I don't recommend the cheaper drills except as a back-up, because excess vibration can cause wrist and hand pain (my personal opinion and experience). Ande yes, they do last a long time! But I do keep 2 for my own personal use, because I am so reliant on it now, that I panicked when I ONCE had to send it in for repair, and vowed to never go even an hour without it again...my back-up drills slowed me down, and time is money!

ANSWER:

Picking a gel Nail System
Start with the LCN kit(Light Concept Nails), which includes the light and samples of their gel, as well as a video (I think). This is THE LIGHT YOU HAVE TO HAVE, so even if you decide on a differant gel later, you will still use it with the LCN lamp (I know the manufacturers don't like it---but this lamp cannot be beat---not that I have found yet anyway!I use 3 of them at each station, 2 in front, one for each hand, and one on the left side of my L shaped station for repairs, overlapping clients, etc).As for gels, if you want something less expensive than the LCN gels, try the star calcium Kapping gel (I use something similar to this that I private label--for my own use, not to sell (well not yet anyway!)in the LCN lights. It has a differant consisitency than the LCN gels, which I personally happen to prefer, but others prefer the LCN or even IBD lines of gel. Once you have the LCN light, you only have to buy individual containers of gel from the other companies, and not invest in another whole kit! See my post above re:odorless and U-V acrylics for more general info on how to pick a system. Also visit THE GEL NAIL PAGE (see link back at nailsplash homepage) for GENERIC info on GEL NAILS.

ANSWER:

Yes you do have to file Gel Nails off, but you don't have to file it ALL off. Ist prepare just as you would for a fill. Shorten and shape the nails, thin out the entire nail, and file flush the cuticles and sidewalls gently. At this point you would normally go to gel application, instead you continue filing the gel untill it's ALMOST gone. The key is to shorten the nails, there is no way for them to maintain the length the have become accustomed to w/ out the support of the gel enhancement.Next manicure the nails as natural nails utilizing some type of reconditioning treatment (such as paraffin wax). I reccommend that clients come in one additional time for a follow up manicure w/in 1-2 weeks to acess the nails and see if any gel still remaining on the nailbed is still intact----it almost always is, because it is so thin and clear and almost imperceptible.It is the rare occassions I've had to remove a set of gels (due to moving, finances, etc)(and I charge the same price as a fill for the procedure, and it takes anbout the same amount of time for removal, paraffin, manicure and polish...so it's no bother if a client waits untill her appt. to tell me she has to quit coming---more than once w/ tears in her eyes). But what surprises clients most is what GOOD shape their nails are in after the gel is removed. These clients ultimately return because of their good experience w/ gels. Gels are the wave of the future, for our clients, and for us! Don't be scared by the fact that they have to be filed off. I personally guarantee you that filing off a set of gels properly is far less work and far less injurious to the nails, cuticles, and skin than sitting in acetone for anywhere from 15-30 and sometimes even 60 minutes!

ANSWER:

I would suggest checking out professional NAIL companies that will ALWAYS have education and support available to you, such as STAR NAIL (U-V acrylics and gels) Light Concept Nails ( Gels only, as far as I know----I especially love their lamp!). Check out your local distributor that you use most, and see which brands they carry, and which manufacturers have the most classes coming up in your area. That's where I would start. Learning any new system takes time and patience, and you will want the most professional technical help you can get....many have toll-free hotlines manned by professional educators to help you in a jam, between classes! When you settle on a product line take several classes, and then retake them a few months later, just to be sure. And beware of any companies who claim their product is so EASY to learn, that is a promise that simply can't be backed up! Stick with professional only products, they won't steer you wrong. If you are interested in GELS in particular I have some generic info about them on my web site (see link on home page). As for U-V cured liquid powders I have tried the STAR nails one, and liked it, as do several other techs I know, who currently use it.

ANSWER:

Practice, practice, practice.... At this point in your career you first need to concentrate on Quality, not Quantity! And more important to your long term success will be your FILL-IN time. So concentrate on doing a Quality full-set, or the clients won't even be BACK for the fills! As for 2 hours, that is very normal (actually pretty good) for a new tech! The standard norm is 1 1/2 hours. Sure, many of us CAN do sets in 45-60 min, but thats after YEARS of experience, and so then we don't even get to do many full-sets anymore (full book of repeat biz, means all fills, no full-sets availability). Go and see a nail competitionm at a show sometime(they usually allow observers---but don't talk near or to the competitors...sounds obvious I know, but I've had to beg sages to get people to stop)and watch some of the best nail techs in the world just BARELY finish a full-set in 2 hours! That should make you feel better! As far as your co-workers, are they getting these clients back in for fills after their speedy full-sets? Or do they ALWAYS seem to be doing full-sets....food for thought isn't it! Just do a GOOD full-set, and time will come, as will the permanent client base!

ANSWER:

Welcome to the club!(Carpal Tunnel) And a not very fun club to belong to! Whether it is carpal tunnel or tendonitis or...you need to solve the problem and relieve the pain! I have carpal in my left hand (the one that FIGHTS w/ customers for control of their hand) and tendonitis in my right thumb. But they both hurt equally when they flare up!If you can't work wearing the carpal tunnel brace, at least put it on when you are getting ready to service a tense client, it will be an instant reminder to her to relax! (and then you can take it off a few minutes into the service...but I have learned to work while wearing it in the past!)And always wear the brace at home and especially at night sleeping! This works for when either my carpal tunnel, tendonitis, or arthritis flairs up. The brace keeps your hand/wrist in the natural relaxed position (although it doesn't feel so natural)to give it time to rest and therfore reduce the inflamation and swelling.Then you need to totally rethink the way you work and the way you hold your files and implements, or the problem will never resolve it's self and you'll end up out of the business or going thru surgery or both! Make sure that your wrists are not always bent down (as in palm toward wrist) that is what causes the inflamation to start! Make sure the clients arms CAN relax comfortably at your station, without her feeling the need to SUPPORT them and thereby tensing her wrist and fingers. Make sure her elbow is down on the table, so that the rest of her arm can go limp so that you can manuever it easily.Treat yourself as a professional athlete would, and get the BEST CARE possible! (ie get referred to a specialist if possible!)Anti-inflammatory's such as naproxen and ibuprofen are usually presrcibed along with THE BRACE. There are medical tests they can run to find out if it is true carpal tunnel or not,but even if it's not carpal tunnel, don't dismiss it, it could become carpal tunnel later, and pain is pain is pain....the treatments are almost identical in these types of cases of hand/wrist pain!You must wear the brace though as much as possible, go to a medical supply store to find a style that is comfortable for you and sized right as well. A generic off the racks brace is fine temporarily, but if you don't wear it, it won't help, so you need to look into differant kinds. If you find yourself whacking yourself in the head w/ it at night then wrap a towel around it to cushion it.Believe me, you will get used to wearing it, you only notice the metal shank right now because YOU are FIGHTING the NATURAL position. Once you readjust your work style, and get through the worst of the pain you'll hardly notice the brace anymore.At the first sign of a flare up I immediaitely start sleeping w/ one or both braces again for a few nites, and then I'm usually back in control. Also, you must do stretching exercises for your wrist. Keeping the wrists warm w/ athletic wrist bands has helped me as well, as have the magnetic or copper bracelets. Hope this helps, good luck!

ANSWER:

I saw these at BBSI about 5-6-7? years ago, and they didn't seem to take off then...so I can't be too optimisitc about them now if they've made a return.....I'm sure the cost will turn out to be exhorbitant and prohibitive for continuous or regular use....mainly because of the cost of the propellant (which your airbrush compressor would normally provide, and at a 1 time only initial charge) and also the cost of the packaging...and enviornmentally I can't say I'd be thrilled either...Airbrushing is HARD. It takes TONS of practice. If you are going to invest, then be sure to allow lots of time for practice, mistakes, cleaning clogged guns, etc, and be sure to have education availble---use that to detemine which gun/compressor to buy....I (we, most of us..) have a closet full of old guns we never took the time to leartn to use properly....And I am as guilty as anyone....I just can't get the hang of it and so for now just don't want to....have had about the same (good and bad) experiences with all of them....Badger, Iwata, Aztek (Eliz. Anthony's) etc, and I can't say that it is any of the guns that failed but ME who failed! So, If you are intent on airbrushing, forget the cans (for now, unless some miracle happens with them!), get a good quality gun (any you hear recommended on these boards), extra needles, lots of clean up spray, several classes, and PRACTICE, practice, practice.....

ANSWER:

It's talked about a lot, and promoted at shows, but so far hasn't really caught on in a big way.... (as far as I've seen anyway). I think we need more research and understanding before we dive headfirst into this! I happen to be allergic to almost everything scented on the planet, so I have not really investigated it very thoroughly. That's part of the reason why I do only gels! I'm actually allergic to the chemical "carrier" for scented products called "horseroot tail". I'm even allergic to chamomille----- the ingredient most commonly added as "soothing" and for "sensitive skin"--- it makes me itch and break out in hives! But I do find the theory behind aromatherapy fascinating (I've attended classes on it in the past, but have to leave when they switch from lecture to actually breaking out the products). If a salon is going to start using aromatherapy they should study and investigate it well, and use it selectively on individual clients (not diffuse it throughout the entire salon).

ANSWER:

A lot of people in our society today have a lot more stressors on their immune system (preservatives, pollution, overuse of anti-biotics, etc) than generations of the past (ie the drastic increase in asthma and allergies this decade), and it's always that "last straw that breaks the camels back". For this reason I would be sure to check it out well before proceeding, and checking w/ clients about allergies in detail before proceeding with anything. Even if they are not allergic to a specific "aroma" or it's components, the add on effect of the "chemical cocktail" each of us already carries around, could put their immune system over the edge. So while I DO BELIEVE in the benefits, I also believe that the very REASONS behind WHY aromatherapy works make it a more powerful tool than some of us may understand! So, if you have a client who is allergic to a lot of things in general, or having a bad allergy season or has asthma or other respiratory problems, I would advise NOT using it on them at all. (One quick example of this chemical cocktail and "add on effect".) I am very allergic to mold. And hence have also become sensitive to "mold food: ie aged cheeses, mushrooms, etc. During the height of mold season (August for me) If I eat any of these foods in even small quantities I get "overloaded" w/ mold and get sick w/ flulike symptoms. Now, at Christmas, when it's not too moldy here in Chicago, I can actually indulge in Brie cheese and stuffed mushrooms---occasionally---if I get greedy and eat them 2 days in a row then I'll "overload" and get sick. If I'm a good girl and eat in moderation (the key to everything in life it seems!) then I'm fine. Just some food for thought...gotta go, getting hungry now! So proceed with caution! AGAIN, WHAT MAKES AROMATHERAPY WORK IS ALSO WHAT MAKES IT POWERFUL! AND SINCE WE DON'T FULLY UNDERSTAND IT YET (NOT JUST US, EVEN DOCTORS DON'T UNDERSTAND THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE THEORY COMPLETELY)WE SHOULD ALL PROCEED WITH CAUTION AND RESPECT IT FOR THE WONDERFUL BUT POWERFUL THERAPY THAT IT IS! LET ME STRESS MODERATION AGAIN, IN EVERYTHING IS KEY!!!!!!!!