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The Lunula

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (783)

When looking directly at the nail plate you will normally see a small opaque white area that looks like a half moon at the base of the nail near the cuticle area, this area is known as the Lunula. The name Lunula comes from the latin word for Moon. To fully understand what this "lunula" is and why sometimes the lunula is more visible than others, we need to understand where the nail starts and how it grows.

The mother of the nail. The nail plate is created in an area called the matrix which lies directly below the eponychium underneth the skin. The matrix is a small area of living tissue and It is the most important part of the entire nail unit. This area is considered the “mother” of the nail, and is where the cells are produced that makes up the nail plate. These cells are made of a special protein called keratin and are the building blocks of the nail plate. The matrix will produce healthy cells as long as it receives nutrients from the arteries and is unharmed. If the matrix gets damaged in any way, the production process will be altered. It is very important to protect the matrix by taking special care when manicuring or prepping for an enhancement service.

The eponychium and cuticle together become the seal that protects the matrix. If this seal is punctured and damage to the matrix occurs, it can lead to infection and nail deformities.The size and shape of the matrix determines the thickness, width and curvature of the nail plate. Ifsomeone has a short matrix, then they will have a thin natural nail. Some ask, “Is there anything that you can eat or drink that will make your nails thicker?” The answer is “No”. It is genetic and the length of the matrix cannot be changed any more than you can change the length of your fingers.

The Lunula. This is where the lunula comes into the nail unit. The matrix length starts under the skin where the eponychium is, and grows to include the white area of the Lunula. Basically the lunula is the front part of the matrix we can see. On some fingers the lunula is not visible; however it is tucked under the eponychium, and out of sight.The lunula appears white because the cells have not completely flattened and are still in the process of compressing. The cells are still somewhat plump and round in the lunula, which is why this area of the nail plate is white (the cells are white) and is the thinnest and the softest part of the nail plate, Extreme care must be taken when using any type of implement or file on the nail plate over the lunula…remember it is the thinnest and softest part of the natural nail, and is the easiest part to puncture or damage.


Interesting facts:


  1. You can tell if a person is right handed or left handed, by looking at the size of the lunula on the thumb. The lunula is larger on the dominant hand. This will hold true most of the time.
  2. You can judge how fast your metabolism is by the size of your lunula. The lunula is the cresent shaped white spot on the base of your fingernail. Some people have BIG ones, and some people can barely even seen their lunula. It has been noted that a small lunula may indicate a low metabolism while a large lunula can indicate an active metabolism.


Just finished your course?? whats next...

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

For all those who are new to this industry one of the major parts of nail enhancements is practice, practice , practice. We have all been there and some most likely gave up half way, but there's no doubt about it, the best nail techs are the ones that never stop practicing. Ohh and my gosh its hard! The hours of filing, the back ache and not to mention finding the models!! But it all pays off eventually.

So, how can we take away the pain of practice??


  • Stop looking at the clock One of the main pressures when practicing is the time issue, we watch the hours go by painfully slowly and start panicking, once we reach total panic we realize the nails are a mess and our clients cuticle area is getting redder by the second. STOP! When practicing you must concentrate on the job not the clock, getting up to speed will happen automatically once you become more comfortable with the product, your files and your tools
  • Finding your perfect model My biggest recommendation to all of my students is The Nail Trainer available from Essential Nails. This life like hand is the perfect model, who NEVER complains and is always around. The Nail Trainer has removable nails in different shapes and sizes to be able to practice tip, sculpture and overlay techniques, as well as bitten nails. And as your client cant complain you can work at your own pace ... a nail a day or 20 full sets a day! whatever is good for you...
  • Learn from the masters No matter whether you've been doing nails 20 days or 20 years you can ALWAYS learn more to improve and advance your skills. Some "more qualified" nail technicians view additional training as a disadvantage, believing that they have all the skills needed. Take a moment to study articles written by some of the nail industries top nail technicians, educators and competition winners. What is they're main advice?? Never stop training. Every single year the nail industry expands, improves and launches new products and training techniques. Don't get left behind. Most nail companies offer conversion course or workshops to bring you up to speed with the latest techniques.



Correct Acrylic bead Ratio.

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

One of the hardest things to learn when it comes to acrylic nails is getting the correct mix ratio of liquid monomer and polymer powder over and over again. The consistency is determined by the by the amount of polymer powder blended with the monomer liquid.

 When the bead is right the following is assured:

  1.  Excellent retention
  2. Strength and toughness
  3. Clarity
  4. Prevention of overexposure
  5. Proper set and cure times

When he bead is too wet the result is:

  1. Potential lifting and weakness
  2. Bubbles
  3. Excessive shrinkage
  4. Overexposure
  5. Lengthened set and cure time

When the bead is too dry the result is:

  1.  Lifting
  2. Bubbles
  3. Weakness (lack of cohesion)

You know when the bead is right by the look, the feel and the color it has:

HERES LOOKING AT YOU...Use your own good judgment and eye as an artist to look at the bead before you place it down!!!! When the bead is formed and pulled from the powder, look at it and watch to make sure all the powder gets absorbed into the liquid. Make certain that no excess powder is lingering around the edges of the bead. If it stays too firm and looks dry, get rid of it and start over. Service breakdown could result without the right amount of liquid.If the bead is too shiny and wet, tap it gently back into the powder to pick up an ever so slight amount.A bead that is too wet will lead to excessive shrinkage, bubbles, cracking, and lifting. Most nail technician?s work too wet and they don?t take that extra second to look at the bead first

FEELING GOOD? The bead you create should feel good. When you drop the bead on the nail, allow a few seconds to pass so the bead starts to level. When you start to press the bead out onto the nail it should have the feel of moving mayonnaise around. Total control for about 2 ? 3 minutes (depending on the powder you choose to use). If the bead looks right, but feels wrong, it might be your touch. When you first place the bead, it will feel wetter, but as you work, the product will start to set up and a firmer pressure will be required.

NOT EVERYTHINGS BLACK AND WHITE Use your eye as an artist to make sure that from bead to bead you are achieving the same colour. When using a highly pigmented powder such as High Pink or a High White, they contain more pigment, and a drier bead of one of these will certainly look different. More pigment, more colour!

TRY IT OUT A good test is to drop your bead on the practice sheet or your practice tip and wait about ten seconds. The bead should dome out and level by about 25 % with no ring of liquid around the base. If it is too wet, it will drop about 50%, and too dry, it will hold a firm shape and not drop.

SIZE MATTERS When a smaller bead is desired, then extract more liquid from your brush by wiping it along the edges of the dampen dish. Then dip into your powder, and remember to look at it to judge. On the same token, if you need a larger bead, don?t wipe as much liquid out of your brush prior to dipping into the powder.


You are the artist, train and trust your eye!


Lifting! Why it happens...

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Lifting is when the acrylic or gel product lifts or separates from the natural nail. Normally lifting will happen after 3 or 4 weeks due to your client needing a rebalance or infill and it starts near the cuticle area. But premature lifting after just a few days is the main problem that effects most nail students at some point. This normally happens because the student is not doing all the product application steps correctly but their are other reasons for lifting.

 Here is a list of different causes and solutions, to help you stop lifting and create perfect long lasting nails

Product / brush contamination> This alters the chemistry and affects the product performance. Use a dedicated brush for different monomers and make sure you clean and store your brush and products properly

Product applied too thin> It is important to build the apex for strengthand to taper the edges thin for flexibility

Weak supporting structure> The health and integrity of the natural nail will give the enhancement the proper foundation . Avoid filing aggressively, rough abrasives,and drills on the natural nail

Drills> Drills may cause micro shattering of any uncured product, learn proper drill techniques. You may need to apply product a little thicker to compensate for drilling or electric file

Nipping (use of cuticle nippers)>Nipping destroys the nail plate and can lead to onycholysis (nail plate separation). Nipping lose product results in more lifting and more nipping and the cycle continues, learn preventative techniques to maintain the health of the enhancement foundation

Acrylic Mix ratio> too wet or too dry (see nail articles for more info) Avoid using the acrylic product ratio too wet, it causes shrinkage and may cause product to pull away from nail reducing enhancement toughness. Avoid using your product too dry, it may cause a lack of cohesion and too little monomer will not properly hold structure together

mproper PREP of the natural nail > Leaving moisture and contaminates behind will block proper adhesion, make sure that natural nail is thoroughly cleansed and dehydrated

Touching the surrounding skin with the product and your brush> This is a sure way to overexpose your client reslting in alergies. This can also contaminate the brush and it will get oils from the skin that can block adhesion. Never touch surrounding skin with the brush, and leave a tiny margin along the sidewalls and cuticle area

Not using complete systems> It is always best to work within the products system to benefit from the synergistic affects. Mixing products from different companies can also have adverse effects on the product adhesion

Seasonal changes> Changes in temperature and humidity can negatively affect the mix ratio, recalibrate to compensate

All your efile questions answered

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Some questions get asked and answered again and again. Electric files, what with all the controversy they can kick up, are a source of perpetual wonder. We (NAILSMAGAZINE) wrangled manufacturers of electric files and bits and got them to share the answers to the questions they hear most

Q: What’s an electric file for?

A: If used properly, an electric file can be used for backfills, reaching hard-to-reach areas like the cuticle area and underside of nails, shortening nails, shaping enhancements, high-shine buffing, natural nail prep, and refining tips. Many techs find that using an electric file shortens their service time and reduces job-related stress on the body.


Q: Do electric files damage nails?

A: In the hands of an untrained technician, an electric file can be damaging to nails. With the proper training and responsible use, an electric file is safe to use on nails.


Q: Do electric files burn the natural nail?

A: Electric files do not burn the nail. A tech controls the machine and determines how much pressure is applied to the surface of the nail. The rule for heat is: Pressure causes friction, friction causes heat. If pressure is not applied to the surface of the nail, the nail will not get hot. If your bit is fresh, you will not need to apply pressure. Constant movement and light pressure is the best technique for minimizing heat with all types of bits. Sometimes heat from pressure can be caused by the client’s tense finger pressing up against the bit as you are working. Take time to explain the theory of pressure and friction to your clients and they will work to relax their fingers to avoid causing discomfort to their nails.


Q: Can an electric file be used on skin?

A: Some manufacturers have developed bits like the one above to use on callused skin during pedicures. These bits must be used at very low RPM to prevent irritating skin. These bits were developed to reduce elbow and shoulder stress associated with the use of a traditional foot paddle.


Q: Which bit should I use for a backfill?

A: You can use a smile line scriber, backfill bit, or barrel bit during a backfill application. Any bit with a sharp edge at the top is appropriate for the job.


Q: What should I look for when shopping for an electric file?

A: First, consider your needs. Depending on how often you’ll use the file, decide if you need a top-of-the-line or low-end tool. If the file will be your constant companion, look for a tool that will give you the best performance and last the longest. Look for a well-constructed tool made of quality materials. Try various handpieces to find the one that feels most comfortable in your hand. Consider vibration. A good machine does not vibrate so you can use it all day without fatigue. Features that may be necessary are foot pedal and reverse settings. Variable speed capabilities are a necessity. Look for a variable speed tool with a good RPM range (0 to 25,000 or more RPM) and good torque so the machine does not bog down and strain when you apply pressure. Bits are mounted to electric files in a variety of ways. Some have locking chucks to keep bits in place, others require the use of wrenches or tools to secure bits. Make sure the bits mount in the fashion you prefer. And check the size of the bit. The standard bit size is 3/32” and bits in this size are easy to find in professional stores. Finally, look for a good warranty. The industry average is one year.


Q: How often should an electric file be replaced?

A: Electric files are meant to last for years with basic user maintenance and a periodic tune up or service from the manufacturer where only original parts are used to replace normal wearing parts. It is a good idea to send an electric file in for service when symptoms start to occur before a potential problem can get worse or damage other internal components.


Q: What speed should a file be used at on the natural nail?

A: Using only bits designed for natural nails, the speed of the electric file should be low. A good rule of thumb is to shoot for below 2,000 RPM.


Q: When should a bit be replaced?

A: When it is no longer refining the product in a timely manner. With daily use, bits can last anywhere from two to four months. You can use a bit for a year, but it won’t work properly.


Q: What’s a natural nail bit?

A: Synthetic rubberized soft bits are made for use on the natural nail. They can safely prep the natural nail, remove excess cuticle from the nail plate, and buff the nails, and even remove ridges.


Q: What different materials are bits made of?

A: There are disposable arbor bits, diamond bits, and carbide bits.Disposable arbor bits (also known as sanding bands) cannot be sanitized and are only available in one shape.Diamond bits may be sanitized, are long lasting, and are manufactured in a wide variety of shapes, grits, and sizes for different applications. Carbide bits are durable and come in cris-cross and single-cut patterns. They are available in a variety of shapes and can be sanitized.


Q: Do I need extras of any components or tools?

A: It is a good idea to have a spare set of carbon brushes and an extra cord for the handpiece.


Q: Can I use a carbide or diamond bit on a natural nail?

A: Metal bits should never touch the natural nail. Natural nail bits are safer.


Q: How do I sanitize bits?

A: Bits should never be used on more than one client without proper disinfection. They must be disinfected in the same manner you would disinfect your implements as required by your state board. Start by removing the dust and product from the bit with a wire brush. Wash the bit in hot, soapy water and submerge the bit completely in a disinfection solution for the amount of time required by the solution and your state board. Before using the disinfected bit, rinse it well and dry it before mounting it in the handpiece.


Q: Is nail dust bad for an electric file?

A: It is impossible to keep dust off an electric file during use, but keep dust from getting into it as much as possible. Wipe off the casing and handpiece often to keep dust from building up.


Q: Is there an advantage to using a foot pedal?

A: Different speeds are used depending on what area of the nail you’re working on. For example, the cuticle area requires a slower speed than the one used when filing the surface of the nail. A variable-speed foot control allows the user to change the speed of their file as needed without stopping to manually change the speed with their hands. A foot pedal is an added conveNience if you use an electric file heavily.


Q: I’m a beginner. What kind of bit should I use?

A: It’s up to you. Some users find that starting with a disposable arbor bit (or sanding band) is a good introduction because they give a similar feel and finished look as a similar grit hand file.


Q: What is the difference between carbide and diamond bits?

A: Carbide bits have flutes cut into them that provide the cutting power. The more flutes on a bit, the finer the cut. A carbide bit reduces material by acting like a potato peeler, shaving layers off while leaving the surface smooth.Diamond bits are made by applying an adhesive to a shank and rolling it in diamond material that then dries on the shank. The diamond particles file the nails by scratching the surface to remove material.


Q: How do I know if a bit is properly mounted?

A: Different electric files have various methods of mounting bits (some require tools, others don’t). Read your manual for instructions on mounting bits and practice the proper technique. Once a bit has been mounted, start the electric file at a low RPM to be sure it is properly mounted before increasing the speed.



Q: What are the most frequently used bits for acrylic?

A: Medium diamond barrel, medium carbide, medium Swiss carbide, medium disposable arbor bit.


Q: Can I buy an electric file at an art store?

A: You should buy your electric file from a professional nail distributor or manufacturer. The tools found in craft or hobby stores are designed for use on wood, metal, and glass.


Q: What bits do I need to get started?

A: The bare necessity is a barrel bit for shaping and shortening and a cone bit for the cuticle.


Q: What’s a ring of fire?

A: A ring of fire is created when the surface of the natural nail is filed too aggressively with a file or electric file. Red, painful patches develop on the nail plate. Electric file users sometimes cause rings of fire when improperly using a barrel bit at the cuticle area. When used at an angle in the cuticle area, the barrel bit’s edge cuts into the natural nail. When using a barrel bit to refine product, hold the bit flat and avoid the cuticle area. To refine the cuticle area, use a rounded-edge cone bit.


Q: Which bit should I use for the cuticle area?

A: Use a cone shaped, rounded-edge bit in a fine or medium grit.


Q: Why do I lose control of my bit when I am shaping the nails?

A: You are using too high an RPM and/or applying too much pressure. Slow down your RPM and apply less pressure.


Q: How fast should I use my electric file?

A:The average RPM usage is between 7,500 and 15,000, depending on the service. Cuticle work and backfill cutting should be slower than the filing on the top surface of a nail. If your RPM is too slow, the bit will grab and you will not make much headway in your filing. If your RPM is too fast you will not have control and run the risk of damaging the nail or nicking a client.


Thanks to the following companies who contributed to this piece: Kupa • Medicool • Ram Products SuperNail • Tres Chic Nails • Ultronics • Nancy King for AEFM • Lysa Comfort





Efiles or Traditional Files??

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Imagine the scenario :You know the feeling,... that horrid moment when your nail services goes from plesent and relaxing BURNNNNNNING............................ Unfortunately, too many women are feeling exactly that due to the growth in discount nail services and the improper use of electric files (known as Efiles). The evidence can easily be seen in the nail plate. Clients with three, four, or more “rings of fire” on the nail plate - red, half-circle lines that show through her pretty enhancements

So heres some news for clients and techs alike Nail services aren’t supposed to hurt. But does this mean the use of efiles should be band? NO. friccion burns can be caused by both traditional and electric files. True, the growth in "painful" services has been enhanced by the use of Efiles but once again the culprits are those untrained "so-called" nail techs! As with all electronical tools, the operator needs to be fully trained and qualified in order to use them... and thats where the problems start. Toooo many techs buy cheap nail drills, with far too much RMP and have no Efile training at all. This is especially true of most NSS salons, where most of the complaints seem to come from

 When it comes to drill use in the nail industry, there are distinct camps: There are those who believe that drills are a time-saving godsend that allow a nail technician to quickly shape and finish nails; then you have those who believe that drill users are lazy (or at least sloppy) sculptors who can’t put product on properly and must file it into shape with a drill; and there is the “drills are dangerous” group that thinks drills ought to be banned outright for use in nail care.

Wanting to use Efiles?? Thats fine.. just do it right! Make sure you shop around for a good quality electric file, that is recomended and approved for using on nail enhancements (your husbands black and decker is'nt!!) Then book yourrself on a Efile training course. These courses tend to be a day or so long, and specialise in training your with the correct filing techniques, making it clear where to and not to file, and what RMP to use. If you are a efile user, stay up to date on training and machinery and let clients know why you use a efile. If you prefer hand-filing, more power to you, but dont bad mouth efile users as theyre not all to blame!

Working while Pregnant? What are the risks

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Most nail technician's worry about the risks of working with nail chemicals while pregnant. Medical, chemical, and workplace hazard experts alike agree that a pregnant nail technician can continue working in the salon unless she is experiencing other medical problems not related to the salon environment or she is unwilling to work safely.However, everyone emphasizes that while there is no information to show that it’s unsafe to continue working with nail products, there’s not enough information to say it’s completely safe, either. Simple safety precautions can lessen any potential risks.

Little is known definitively about the effect of chemicals at the low levels of exposure typical in a salon environment. In very high concentrations, some of the chemicals used in the salon have been linked with a higher incidence of miscarriage, congenital malformations, and other pregnancy complications; however, mostof these studies have been done either on laboratory animals or on people with much higher exposure levels than nail technicians have.No negative conclusions can be drawn from this research but the research is still inconclusive regarding a link between salon chemicals and certain birth defects, but don’t take chances. Using commonsense precautions substantially reduces any potential risks. For example, there have been studies done on laboratory animals that have linked some salon chemicals with birth defects or other abnormalities, but the levels that the lab animals were exposed to were hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of times higher than what a nail technician is exposed to in the salon. Studies of women working in the plastics industry,where the exposure to methacrylates is much higher than in the salon, did not show any increase in miscarriages or birth defects. Long-term overexposure to toluene has been associated with mental retardation and physical deformities, but these deformities resulted when pregnant women sniffed toluene to get high; they were not caused by occupational exposure.There has never been a reported case of birth defects associated with the small quantities of the chemical present in the salon.

A March 1994 study appearing in Epidemiology magazine titled “Spontaneous Abortions Among Cosmetologists” does rate some concern on the part of nail technicians. Unlike previous studies, the subjects were working cosmetologists. The analysis focused on 96 cosmetologists who had had a single live birth and who worked either full-time in cosmetology or in other jobs during the first trimester of pregnancy. The researchers found associations between spontaneous abortion and the number of hours worked per day in cosmetology, the number of chemical services performed per week, use of formaldehyde-based disinfectants, and work in salon where nail sculpting was performed by other employees. The study did not prove that there was an increased risk based on exposure to nail sculpting; it only suggested a possible association. Additionally, when the cosmetologists wore gloves, a protective effect was seen.

Take adequate precautions a pregnant nail technician must first understand which chemicals may pose a threat to her baby’s health and her own. While you certainly must be careful about exposure to all chemicals, volatile organic solvents (VOCs) — such as nail dehydrators, primers, acrylic monomers,wrap adhesives, activators, nail polish, and polish remover — warrant the greatest concern. Inhalation is the primary route that vapors and dust take into your body.The single most important action a pregnant nail technician can take is to assure that her work environment is adequately ventilated.Product can also be absorbed through the skin or through your digestive system if you accidentally ingest it. Other precautions include: wearing gloves, capping bottles tightly when not in use,using only small amounts of product in dappen dishes instead of working from large bottles, wiping up spills immediately, using closed trash containers and emptying the containers several times a day, washing your hands before and after eating or drinking, taking frequent breaks to get fresh air, and paying special attention to symptoms such as nausea, headaches, or dizziness.

What is MMA??

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

As the nail enhancement industry has grown, so too have the complaints regading the standards of safety and higiene used by nail technicians around the world.

Many of these complaints have been influenced by the bad press caused by technicians using products MMA.

MMA ? What does it stand for?? The correct term for MMA is Methyl methacrylate. MMA is a type of monomer and polymer that originated in the dental industry. Due to its unbelievable adhesion, low cost and fast setting time it is still used today, safely, to create resins, plastics and plastic dentures.

Whats wrong with using it to create nail enhancements?The first acrylics for nail enhancements were created by a dental manufacturer using the same acrylics used for dentures and other dental enhancements. In the 1970s the FDA in the United States of America banned the use of MMA in nail acrylics due to a increase in complaints regarding damage caused to the natural nail and allergies caused by the product. Unlike dentures, which are created outside of the mouth, cured and then come in contact with the mouth later, nail enhancements cure while on the nail and because the atoms in MMA are so small that they can penatrate the nail bed and skin, resulting in sensitivity and allergic reactions. The FDA believe that MMA when used in nail services is a "poisonous and deleterious substance "and restated there standing on this subject in 2001.

Why is MMA still used in other countries? Due to is being somewhat cheaper than modern day nail acrylics MMA is still available in most countries. In fact only 24 countries have banned the use of MMA in nail enhancement servicesAt first clients are happy with there extensiones because of the incredible strengh they have untill they discover (normally by personal experiance) that if you knock the enhancement made with MMA product, not only will the nail enhancement lift off but it will most likely take the nail plate with it! Other side effects are pain, numbness in the nails, nails turning black and both nail and surrounding skin allergies. MMA also has a very poor adhesion to the natural natural plate, meaning that the nail tech must excessively file the natural nail plate before applying the product.

How can i tell if its MMA? MMA has a very overpowering fruity smell to it that will most likely make you feel nauseous. And it is an almost impossible task to remove it with acetone or other nail disolvents. Salons using MMA will most likely offer cheap prices (not special offers) on nail enhancement sevices. The risks for both clients and nail technicians according the the material data sheets available from the FDA are as follows:

It may damage the developing foetus.

  • Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat.
  • Exposure could damage the nervous system. Symptoms may include pins & needles, numbness, weakness and changes in the ability to remember and concentrate.
  • Severe side effects may include abnormal liver or kidney functions, nervous system and reproductive problems.

So what other options are available? Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA) is the "new kid on the block". EMA is a monomer and polymer mix that provides great adhesion along with flexibility. It can be removed easy with acetone with practically no damage to the natural nail plate. Its odour is still strong, but has proved to be safe to both clients and nail techncians when used according to the manufacturers instructions, and will not do any harm to pregant women or an unborn foetus. This is the product now used worldwide by all reputable manufacturers and nail techs alike. But always check the the ingredients on the package before buying a new product, just in case.

Keep yourself and your clients safe.... stay away from MMA


Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Over the last few years the nail industry has become more and more aware of discount nail bars popping up all over the world. These salons, known as NSS (non standard salons) thrive on offering cheap, fast services with no need for an appointment,

Offering fast discounted services alone is not the problem, as these type of salons have filled a hug hole in the nail industry, allowing many more people to get their nails done. People who's work schedules dont allow them to make and keep the regular appointments that many other salons require. The problem occures when these so called "profesionals" drop all regular salon standards and put both their employees and clients health in danger... Not to mention breaking health and safety laws.


NSS are reknowned for one or all the following... 

  • failure to have a legal working licence (if required by the country)
  • failure to disinfect or santise tools, equipment and hands inbetween clients and after use
  • failure to use the correct tools for the job, incorrect use of electric files and other harmful liquids or tools
  • failure to follow the correct prep proceedure
  • use of products out of their original packaging, Use of MMA, a dangerous acrylic (when applied to nails) used in the dental and plastic industrys. For more information see our article: what is MMA??
  • failure to show or tell you what product brand they use

NSS salons will most likly offer a full set of nails at less than half the price of a normal nail salon. Some of the differences can be explained by the incorrect products and disinfection standards, other are due to the low overheads of a discount salons, these often operate in cheap storefronts and employ poorly trained, low wage technicians. But the main reason for this price difference is the use of MMA which can cost as little as $15 a gallon compared to as much as $300 for a gallon of EMA.

As a Professional Nail Technician it is essential that you read, study and understand the dangers of MMA products and warn your clients and other vistors of such dangers.

Dealing with no shows and last minute cancelations!

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Its something every tech has to deal with and its normally a touchy subject... How do you handle no-shows and last minute cancellations??


Charging for missed appointments and notifing your clients upon booking that they will be charged a extra fee for unattended appointments without prior notice is one way of making people think twice about not picking up he phone but this idea can sometimes be hard to actually follow thourgh unless the salon/tech is prepared and has the equipment necesary (creditcard facilities) to take appointment deposits.

Another more traditional way is basically putting clients on the spot by calling a no-show client to let her know she has missed her appointment, then give her the opportunity to book another and remind her to call next time... the only problem is youve still got an empty appointment! So either have a waiting list of clients or or look at our next idea...

Pre Appointment Confirmation:  I’ve found that the most efficient way to handle no-shows is to prevent them. How? By calling them on the previous day to confirm the appointment. Calling them a day ahead prevents forgotten appointments and also verifies the correct time. Once you know your clients, you will know who are your regular offenders, and you can stop calling the others so regulary. Id also recomend having a black book policy where you notify missed appointments by repeteing ofenders. Remeber you have the right to talk seriously but respectfully to clients who continually miss there appointments and explain to them the importance of them advising you the night before if they can not attend. You also have the right to "fire" clients or refuse appointments, basically telling them to call you on the day and if you can fit them in you will.

No matter what you do, make sure your clients are fully aware how important your time is, and make sure you keep your appointments too. You can not expect your clients to respect thier appontments if you are constantly switching and changing them. So start a s you mean to go on!

Are You Clean??

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Salon safety and disinfection has been put under the microscope in the last few years, with more and more cases of salon infections being reported in the worldwide press.

So now its time we all started doing a personal evaluation by asking ourselves truthfully IS MY SALON/MOBILE AREA REALLY CLEAN?



 The goverment/state laws on salon disinfection can change and vary from one place to the other. Specially in the USA, where salon disinfection is a huge issue and inspections are constantly getting stricter. As for the UK and other european countries, they are somewhat more regular at the moment but this is changing with the increase in NSS salons opening and the number of infections increasing.. So what can be done??

Check it out : the first step to take would be to speak to your local councel and ask them to provide you with the guidelines laid down by the LOCAL GOVERMENT MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS ACT, as well as joining a national nail association who will help you keep you to date with law changes

Get a routine: To keep things in tip top condition it is essential that you have a daily cleaning program. wether your in a salon or working mobile there is no excuse for dirty tools and soggy towels. Certain sterilization steps my need to be done later in the day when you have more time or if working mobile, these can be done after youve finished in the comfort of your own home to reduce the amount of equipment you need to carry, but no matter what.. IT HAS TO BE DONE! To get a good rutine first of all you need to know the different discontamination levels and how effective they are....


Total Decontamination is acheived by:

SANITATION: is the lowest form of decontamination, is qute easy to achieve and should be carried out before and after disinfection ansd sterilisation. Simply washing hands and tools with remove most harmful bacterias and control the chances of infection. Plus your clients will appreciate it and will see how seriously you take thier custom, welfare and health. Points to follow for sanitization:


DISINFECTION: Is the second stage of decontamination and gently reduces the bacteria on non living surfaces. Thes method is not suitable for hair, skin or nails but is suitable for floors, workstatons, chairs and mani and pedicure bowls. There are two main methods o desinfection in a salon/home enivoriment. Heat applied by a steam cabinet or boiling water solution or chemical disinfectants. When using chemical disinfectants remeber they need a minimum of 15 minutes emersion to be effective,

STERILISATION. Is the total destruction of all living organisms on an object. Items that can be sterilised are all metal tools and plastics. all tools should be washed in warm soapy water, then rinsed and placed in one of the following forms of sterilisation. Chemical: This is the most popular and consists in completly immersing the tools in a chemical solucion for 20minutes. Sterilisation should be carried out in a close fitting container or sterilisation tray and the solution should be changed after every immersion. The Autoclave: AN autoclave is a metal container that is specifically designed to create and withstand heat and pressure. It uses high pressure steam to clean small tools. These are electrical items that have one automatic cycle. We owe it to ourselves and our clients to work safe and hygenic.The modern professional nail technician has no reason not to follow the rules and regulations laid sown by product companies, industry experts and the health and safety executives and councils


Denise Wright to organise the National Nail Championships in Dublin, Ireland

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Denise Wright has confessed shes delighted to be asked to run the Ireland National Nail Championships at Professional in Dublin this year. Many of you will know Denise already. After 25 years in the nail industry, as a salon and training school owner, International judge and Competition Director for three competitions in England, one in Scotland and now her first in Ireland, Denise has been a huge inspiration to most of us..

Denise reveles what has helped her get where she is today "I am known for my passion for the nail industry and I continue to look to raise and maintain high standards through my DVD’s and step by step guides, as an International Educator for NSI and as a member of the UK Habia Skills team. One of the key things that helped my career was competing. Competing not only challenged me to reach higher standards, success helped raise my profile and led to many further opportunities"


Many top nail techs you can name are known from the competition arena and there is no reason why you cannot be the next one – this is your chance to shine and come back from Dublin with one of the beautiful trophies that you can be proud of and which will be a tribute your skills that you can show off to your clients and increase your business. There is also a cash prize for first place!


All you have to do to register is go to the Professional Beauty website, click onto the competition page and select your category. Follow the steps for registration for the show, nail competition(s) and payment.


Or for more information contact Denise direct at [email protected]


Harmony Launch 24 new Gelish Colors

Posted on January 13, 2011 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

2010 saw the arrival of the new nail company


 who took the nail industry by storm with the launch of thier unique range of soak off gel polishes "GELISH" and thier unbelievably fast LED lamps.

 Just months later Gelish swooped 1st prize for


at the Professional Beauty and Wellness 2010 trade show.

NOW JUST A WEEK INTO 2011, HARMONY HAVE DONE IT AGAIN!! and have all the gelish fans waiting eagerly for the release of there 24 NEW COLORS on January the 31st.

By the look of things Harmony are preparing the nail industry for a great 2011.....

For futher information on your local wholesalers please visit

Those living in the UK need to go to

Si requieres mas informacion en español visita

Train with Kirsty Meakin in your own home!!

Posted on November 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM Comments comments (1)



When Kirsty Meakin won at IBS Las Vegas, Essentialnails were so inspired that they decided to produce the world’s first DVD training courses based on a nail art champion’s winning techniques.

The Las Vegas Nail Art Series is a unique education concept that enables you to learn at three different levels of involvement – you can learn just one design at a time, you can complete a course module or you can do a full course including assessment and certification as a Master Technician. For more information email us direct at [email protected]



Sam Biddle introduces two UNIQUE "must have" products

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)


Arabella Fantasy Forms: Arabella fantasy forms are the brain child of Sam Lynam, created as a unique tool to help you improve design skills. Measuring 10cm long, they are designed for nail techs to pre design tips, develop fantasy nails or create individual embellishments. They are shaped like a nail and available in 10 different sizes. They can be pinched, drawn on and are also reusable.

You can use the Arabella Forms in your quiet moments to practise your craft, creating a collection of embellishments to encapsulate onto nails later, pre design complex tips without a client being present or amaze then with your fantastical pieces of art. The Arabella fantasy forms can be used with any system and after you have designed your tip, embellishment or full nail, the design can be taken off the form easily and adhered to the free.

Students can especially benefit from the fantasy form as it is an inexpensive way to practise those smile lines. Used your Aarabella forms for photo shoots, pre make the nails at your leisure, after sizing your models nails, and then apply with speed on the day. Entering a competition? Use the Arabella forms to develop the design.Featured in sam's Pure Gel DVD, you can see just how great these forms are, and how much you can utilize them in your business.Click here to see how the arabella forms work http/

Pinching Clips:Some of you who have been on one of sam biddles workshops will have seen her use these amazing little clips when demoing gel and acrylic designs. These nifty little clamps are perfect to get a C curve in your gel nails; pinch and then place under the UV lamp, the clear plastic will allow the sides to cure. The clamps are curved so sit neatly on the free edge of the nail and they are also perfect to get the pinch in acrylic nails, they will hold the free edge into shape.Available in packs of 3

Interested in these products?? buy online at


Posted on October 4, 2010 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

OK guys here we go again!!!! THE NAIL TEAM are hosting thier 4th photographic nail competiton right now!!! and as always its TOTALLY FREE to enter. So whats stopping you from having a go????

Make sure you read the rules as there is a new rule!!!  The competition is none product bias and open to all, worldwide!


The theme is: WORLDWIDE CULTURES!!!!


Rules, Hints & Tips:

* Can be a 1 hand shot or you can put as many hands in as you want, can use feet!

* Make sure you understand the theme and what your being marked on.

* Maximum 3 entries per person. **NEW RULE** each photo must be of different nails!!!!

* Any nail technician can enter this competition

* Entries can be emailed to [email protected]

* Closing date is 1st December 2010 12pm UK TIME!!! (entries received after this date will not be counted)

* It doesn’t have to be a professional photo, just make sure its clear with good lighting, make the pose different, imagine your image on the front cover of a magazine or poster on your wall! Read what it is your marked on, this may help you to gain top marks. Sending in photos of one hand on top of the other wont score high marks!!

* Picture resolution 300 dpi

* Any nail products and nail accessories can be used (acrylic, gel, nail paint, glitters etc.)

* Try to use a good hand model (long slender fingers, young skin, long nail beds)

* Small step by step (products, application & tools used)

* Check out the nail team photos for an idea photo.


What will the photos be marked on?

• First impressions/wow factor

• Use of theme

• Difficulty of design

• Photo quality

• Overall look


Who will the photos be judged by?

* The Nail Team - Gemma Lambert



* Scratch Nail Magazine Editor - Alex Fox



* Guest Industry Judge





• Top 20 entries will be published in Scratch magazine and other nail magazines

• Some amazing Nail Products for the 1st place

• Consolation prize for 2nd and 3rd places


So get you creative juices flowing and good luck!!!


Posted on September 30, 2010 at 10:27 PM Comments comments (0)

The great scratch shoot out is Scratch Magazines annual photographic competiton, held each year at the Olympia Beauty Show in London, UK. The years competition recieved a grand total of 51 entries from all over the world and Bethany Grace was placed just 4 points from the top ten at Number 16. To see all the entries go to http/



Posted on August 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Bethany Grace and scratch magazine joined forces this month to bring you 1st hand information from behind the scenes of the nail competiton arena. If you havent had chance to see the article yet you can view it here:




Posted on June 1, 2010 at 8:24 PM Comments comments (0)

Once again The Nail Team are giving all inspired nail techs the chance to compeat with others worldwide in thier 3rd photographic nail competition, with the theme Summer Feeling. The entries will be judged by reknowned nail tecncians and educators. For more information contact Gemma Lambert at [email protected]

(Note: Competiton now closed)

Congratulations to Competiton Winner Megumi Mizuno from the UK (HER 2ND WIN THIS YEAR!!)



Posted on April 1, 2010 at 3:21 PM Comments comments (0)

Thats the new theme of the Nail Team's 2nd photographic nail competiton. Techs from all other the world are invited to show off thier creative side and compeat for the 1st place prize.The top 20 entries will be published in Scratch magazine and other nail magazines. So get you creative juices flowing and good luck!!!

Contact Gemma Lambert at [email protected] for full competiton rules.


(Note: competiton now closed)

Congratulations to Competiton Winner Megumi Mizuno from the UK