Nail Career Education

Behind the Cover by Suzie

Sometimes when I’m faced with doing a magazine cover, I become overwhelmed with everything I could do with it. I have so many ideas! I think, “I’ve got to do this, and that! All topped with glitter and 3D art! And what about snowflakes- or pearls?!” It can get crazy. Even though doing a cover is super special, that doesn’t mean that it has to include every nail accessory I own and exhibit every skill that I have as a tech! To combat these flooding images and thoughts, I take a deep breath, bring my shoulders down to relax and envision a design I’d like to see. For this cover in particular, I imagined what Mrs. Clause might cook up if she was a nail tech…

  1. A staple on our set is of course nail products- and also animals! They calm everyone. The pup you see here is Ferris, who my model Elizabeth nick named ‘Ferris Wheel.’

  2. I decided to use Young Nails products for this design, as I have never used them before. You, my YouTube viewers, have asked me to try them many times. I was super excited when, after meeting Habib and Greg from Young Nails in Florida at an industry trade show, they sent me an awesome collection of goodies!

  3. I built these Christmas nails with sculpting gel from Young Nails, I found that it comes in beautiful colours and is very nice to work with. For me, it’s so much about the viscosity in working with gel and pairing it with the right brush. These products from Young Nails are ones I will use again and again.

  4. Lots of filing!

  5. Cameraman’s POV!

  6. I never know which glasses I may need to see super close for that fine, detailed work.

  7. The Young Nails gel paint I used come strongly pigmented and brightly coloured straight out of the container! So bright and cheery- perfect for these adorable Christmas candy cane stripes. You’ll see in the YouTube video for this design, that I mixed two of the greens to create the PERFECT candy stripe colour.

  8. My original thought for these nails was to paint just the elf’s legs and shoes, but forgetting that I made these nails particularly long, I had to just go for it and continue to draw the elf’s body too to fill out the space!

  9. I couldn’t do this without the sharp skills of a good photographer. Luckily, my hubby has excellent technical skills. My job is to make sure the fingers are in just the right position.

  10. One of my favourite parts of this process is setting the scene! I LOVE it! Elizabeth was an awesome model.

  11. Art comes in many forms. Designing a nail photo is one of them! A lot goes of thought goes into a single nail photo- coordinating colour, matching complimenting and monotone colours, clothing and makeup for the model, the background tones and hues, accessories- the list goes on! When you hit all these different points the way you want and it works- it’s magic!

  12. Something I haven’t done before in my own nail photos is including the model’s face. For this shoot, I thought we’d give it a try! We painted Elizabeth’s lips with deep red glitter lipstick for that extra Christmas feel. They were gorgeous!

  13. Ferris approves!

  14. I’m lucky enough to be able to surround myself with good people who enjoy the creative process. It makes it so much easier to try different things and have fun during the process!

Elizabeth Kim

Elizabeth Kim is a nail technician living in Victoria, BC. At 16, Elizabeth took her first nail course and began sculpting gel nails. Soon after, she added acrylic to her skillset. She remembers going home and watching Nail Career Education videos on YouTube to help her perfect her craft. After completing Suzie’s 5 Day Workshop in early 2018, Elizabeth’s hard work and dedication paid off when she was hired as Nail District’s newest nail tech! She’s made a family with the girls at Nail District and sees Suzie as a mentor. She urges everyone to strive for success. She says, “You never know where amazing opportunities are waiting to find you!”

Storytime with Suzie

Let me tell you a story...

It's about a lesson I learned when I had just opened my second salon. The salon was three times bigger in size than my first and I was able to hire a few more employees. I was so proud because I could afford a receptionist for all of us, which was such a luxury! We even had a proper space for the receptionist. Business was awesome! I had a very solid clientele and a great reputation in our city. I was known for being able to do a set of french white nails in under an hour, so many office workers and those with 9 to 5’s would come on their lunch break. I took pride in my ability to do a french nail quickly with beautiful precision, all while not making my client feel rushed. Whether they wanted long or short (there were no stilettos back then) I was still able to finish them in record time. I would still chit chat with them, but while continuing to work.

So, my 1 o’clock is a lady that was recommended by a loyal client of mine. I was rather excited to give her my best work. When she arrived and we got her comfy with a coffee, as there was no Starbucks back then (I know- cavemen times!), we learned what she wanted for her nails and I gave her a beautiful set. We seemed to really hit it off, she paid and off she went as I took my next client.

A few weeks goes by, and I don’t hear back from her for a fill. My client who had recommended her to me was in for her own appointment, so I asked her if everything was okay. She replied, “Well, she said you were very nice and that she loves her nails, but she just felt a little rushed. She’s a stay at home mom with three kids and she really wanted a couple hours at the spa to relax and be pampered. But, you did her so fast, she was in and out in an hour.” I was shocked! Never had I ever had a client complain because I was TOO efficient! I was a little insulted... It takes years to learn to do great work in a smaller time frame, and she didn’t appreciate it.

Sure, most of my clients were coming to me specifically to have their nails done in a timely fashion, but that didn’t speak for every new client who walked through my door. I wasn’t paying attention to HER. I forgot to take into account her individual needs and preferences as a client and what that means for her experience with me. She, unlike many others I was servicing, was not a bank manager. Her schedule, and her life, was very different.

That’s the key. Treat every client individually. Ditch the assumptions and ask instead, because you may be missing what matters to them the most. Sometimes it’s not all about the nails, but rather about how they feel when they’re getting them done.

Lesson learned: Getting your nails done has as much to do with how it feels as it does with how it looks.

Christmas Jelly Stamping Tutorial by Debbie Duxbury

Gone are the days of blindly placing artwork on a fingernail with an opaque stamper. Nail stamping has come a very long way in recent years with the invention of the Clear Jelly Stamper! Before the clear stamper revolutionized the stamping industry, nail artists would work blindly with single layer decorations. Those who were searching for more intricate designs would spend hours creating decals. With the patience of a Saint, they painted the images and waited for their masterpieces to dry, before awkwardly adding them to a polished nail. This process produces some beautiful artwork, but takes a frustrating amount of time and can be quite difficult to accomplish.

A Step-by-step Tutorial to Creating Holiday Designs!

Enter the Clear Jelly Stamper! Just over three years ago, veteran nail technician Debbie Duxbury and her husband Nigel invented and introduced the Clear Jelly Stamper to the world. Now, aiming your stamper at your intended spot and hoping you will like the result is a thing of the past! Not only can you place an image exactly where you want it on the nail or whatever you’re decorating, you can LAYER those images! #SeeWhereYouStamp!

Creating completely customizable artwork on your nails with “multi-layered” plates is one of the main functions of the Clear Jelly Stamper system. It gives users the ability to select the colours they wish to use to easily create unique, art covered manicures.

Follow along this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to easily stamp your very own multi-layered nails for the holiday season!

  1. Start every great manicure with the proper set up. Using a high quality stamping polish is essential for success– especially when you are first learning to stamp. Here we are using Clear Jelly Stamper polish, Big Bling Stamper, the Lesley Silicone Mat, CjS Plate Cleaner, the CjS Practice tip kit and NEW this Christmas, CjS C-19 layered stamping plate called Frosted Christmas. All of the manicures in this guide have been created with the Frosted Christmas plate.
    • Have your nails painted and ready to go.
    • If you are stamping over artificial nails you can stamp over a clean prepped nail before you top coat, use a tack free top coat or you can stamp over gel polish. Remove the tacky layer if there is one, then stamp and finish with your top coat.
    • Apply stamping polish to a clean image plate.
    • Scrape using light pressure on a 45 degree angle.
    • Don’t worry if there are streaks. Most times, the stamper won’t pick them up at all.
    • Move quickly to lift the image.
    • Use a light rolling motion over the image.
    • The lighter the pressure, the better!
  2. When using the correct technique and polish, even the finest images can be lifted!

    • Looking through the stamper, decide where you want the image on the nail.
    • Press the image down over the nail and hold for a few seconds.
    • Remove the stamper slowly to reveal the transfer.
  3. Repeat these steps to lift the base colour of the rose!

  4. Use your nail (if you wear artificial nails) or the flat side of your scraper to remove unwanted images from the stamper.

  5. Press and hold the image onto the nail.

  6. Now, lift the second colour for the base of the poinsettia (the leaves).

    • Remember to use the final outline as the guide to decide where the leaves should go.
    • Take your time positioning the leaves around the flower.
    • Press and hold to transfer!
    • Lift your outline.
    • Clean off any excess images.
    • Take your time and position your outline over the base images.
    • Press and hold down over the nail.
    • Slowly release to reveal the transfer and your gorgeous multi coloured image!
    • Complete your manicure with CjS Smear Not top coat to protect your creation.
    • If you’re a nail tech, top coat and cure.
    • The completed look is a fully customizable, delicate and beautiful image!
Above: Two manicures that are exactly the same except for their base colours.

Debbie Duxbury

Debbie Duxbury is the inventor and owner of the Clear Jelly Stamper and layerable nail art plate technology. Through being an esthetician and nail tech for over 25 years, Debbie saw the need to #SeeWhereYouStamp and all the possibilities it would bring to nail art. Debbie and her husband Nigel took it upon themselves to revolutionise the stamping world for everyone!

Find out more about Debbie and Clear Jelly Stamper at:

Celebrity Nails Q&A with Merrick Fisher

Merrick Fisher is a VIP nail artist,

Born and raised in Beverly Hills California. He has been passionate about nails since his childhood and he trained for two years, one-on-one with some of the top nail art educators in Japan. Merrick is often found doing nails on the sets of editorial, beauty and fashion photo shoots and music videos.

Keep up with Merrick on his Instagram at @merricures. You can find a list of Merrick’s current celebrity clients at www.merricures.com

  1. How long have you been in the nail industry?

    Six years now. I started training one-on-one with Japan’s best nail artists as my instructors. It was challenging, because their attention to detail is like no other, but it was a lot of fun.

  2. How did you get discovered by celebrities?

    By word of mouth or my agent.

  3. Who was the first celebrity you did a service for? And were you nervous?

    Paula Abdul. I wasn’t nervous per say— I was very excited. At first, I thought I was being punked! She was so sweet and wonderful and became a regular client for a while.

  4. Do you have a favourite type of nail you like to do for a client?

    Whatever they’re in the mood for. Usually it’s pretty clean and simple, nothing too out of the ordinary.

  5. Do you have a set up where they come to you? Or do you meet your celeb clients elsewhere?

    I always go to them. Whether it’s on set, in their home or at the hotel they’re staying at.

  6. Are your services rushed or is it relaxed? Imaginably, it could be chaotic if it’s just before they go on set or on stage.

    I try to be relaxing. Stars have enough going on as is. I want them to enjoy their service and relax— even if only momentarily.

  7. Your nail collection must be enormous as well as versatile! What’s the ‘one thing’ you would not show up without?

    There’s a few things now I have learned to never be without. My number one is a fully charged portable e-file. Without it I would cry! Because my work would take much longer. I’ve also learned to keep a portable table with me, as well as a light, a kindle (so I have something to read as often times there is a lot of downtime, like on set) and a portable phone charger.

  8. Do you attend classes or spend time on YouTube or Instagram to learn new techniques?

    I do all of the above! I will attend maybe a couple classes a year in person, but daily I watch YouTube and Instagram tutorials. There is always something new to learn.

  9. Do you have a favourite celebrity client?

    I would say Bethenny Frankel or Sharon Stone. We always have a good time and a fun laugh.

  10. Have you developed friendships with them, outside of the nail appointments?

    Yes, most definitely. I consider some of my clients very dear friends and we do get together outside of doing nails.

  11. Has there ever been a celebrity that you don’t want to work with?

    Yes. There was a singer in particular I was very nervous about servicing. Many nail techs over the years had told me how impossible this individual was to work with. I actually conquered my fears and worked with the person the other day, and can now proudly say that things went terrifically! I feel like I climbed the tallest mountain. By all means, don’t let the voices/chatter in your head intimidate you from doing your work.

  12. What’s the most popular service you provide?

    Gel manicure on natural nails is probably the most popular. Sometimes regular nail polish if it’s set work for a magazine editorial and there are a lot of color changes.

  13. What’s the wildest design you’ve done for a celeb?

    My clients are pretty tame so far. Nothing out of the ordinary yet, to be honest.

  14. Do you have many male clients?

    I have some, but definitely more females for sure.

  15. What’s your favourite colour?

    Blue. I love all the various shades of blue. I find it very calming and tranquil, and it reminds me of the ocean.

  16. Are you on the road a lot?

    I do travel a lot in my car, going to all of my clients. I do make sure to have lots of podcasts and fun music to listen to, to make the ride more enjoyable.

  17. Are you a homebody or do you like to travel?

    I am both. I love to travel and adventure, but I also like to be home with my dog and be surrounded by family and friends I love and adore.

  18. Do you like flying?

    I love flying.

  19. What’s the craziest place you had to meet a celebrity to do their nails?

    On set in the middle of nowhere, filming a music video a couple hours away. Fortunately, nothing too bad or scary!

What to do When You Forget Your Appointment by Suzie

You love your nail tech and you look forward to every appointment with them. In fact, you can’t wait for the next one! Which is… this Thursday, isn’t it? You can’t quite remember the time of the appointment, so you check your calendar and you see that... it was actually today?! Two hours ago! You check your phone to see that your nail tech has called you twice. Oh no... You feel terrible! What do you do?

Speaking from a nail tech’s point of view, I’ll be honest; we hate it when clients don’t show up. It’s a gut punch. You’d be surprised the thoughts that can go running through our heads. We think of all sorts of reasons why our client could have stood us up. From them hating our work to thinking they don’t like us at all. There’s also logistical concerns. An absent client means money missed. Which is made all the more frustrating if we had to turn another client down because we were booked with this appointment or we ended up having to come in on our day off. Having said all of that, we do understand that clients are human and that it happens. And sometimes- only SOMETIMES- our schedule is so busy that it’s nice to have an unexpected break, to grab a quick bite or to finally get to go to the bathroom!

So, here’s what to do:

  • Call or text ASAP! Contact your nail tech right away when you realize you’ve missed your appointment. You don’t want to keep them in limbo wondering what might have went wrong, especially when it was an innocent mistake!

  • Apologize and own it. If it was an error on your part, just own up to it. Everyone makes mistakes and your nail tech is human, just like you. Odds are they’ll understand. Especially if you talk to them directly and apologize.

  • Offer to pay anyway. As a courtesy to your nail tech and in respect for their time, offer to pay for your missed appointment. This shows your tech that you value them having you as a client and that you intend to keep up your end of your client-tech relationship. You may find that they end up waiving the fee, as often the offer alone helps them know that your heart is in the right place.

Tips for Techs

  • Be easy on your client. Especially, if they are a regular client. Remember that these things can also happen to us. Whether it’s unexpected traffic on our way to work or another client getting us so far behind that we end up being late for our next.

  • Consider your client overall. If you have a great rapport with your client, that in itself is worth a lot. A mistake like a missed appointment can be forgiven when the client is so great to work with.

No one is perfect. Everyone forgets from time to time! Let’s allow each other to make an error and not be judged too harshly for it, as we would hope that they would do the same for us.

Love Your Hands by Hayley Clarke

Three Simples Stretches for Hand Health

The health and happiness of your hands are paramount to your nail career success! Whether you are working on a professional level or you are just starting out, taking steps to care for your body will support your self care regime, improve your technique and increase the longevity of your career. Love your hands!

Here are three simple hand stretches that can be done everyday in just minutes:

Warm up: Increase circulation by opening and closing your fingers very quickly for 30 seconds. Next, put your hands up and quickly swivel your wrists for another 30 seconds (the queens wave very quickly).

Stretches: These stretches target the extensor and flexor muscles responsible for the movement of your wrists, hands and fingers. Repeat twice daily for best results.

  1. Hold your right arm out in front of you (just below shoulder height) with your fingers pointed down and your palm facing you. Place your left hand over the back of your right hand and fingers and gently press your right hand towards you with your left hand. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on your left side. Target muscles: Extensors.

    Enhance this stretch by clenching your extended hand into a fist.

  2. Hold your right arm out in front of you (just below shoulder height like before), but this time swivel your arm so your fingers are pointed down and the back of your hand is facing you. With your left hand, gently stretch each finger back, individually holding the stretch for 5 seconds starting with your pinky finger. When you get to your thumb, reach your left hand underneath your right grasping your thumb with all of your fingers. Gently stretch your thumb to the outer side of your forearm, holding the stretch for 5 seconds. Repeat on your left side. Target muscles: Flexors.

    Improve this stretch by keeping your fingers straight and open like a fan.

  3. Bring your hands in front of you. Connect your finger tips, tenting your hands and applying pressure to gently stretch out your fingers. Slowly bring your fingers and palms together into prayer position and lower your hands down as far as you can keeping your palms connected. Hold for 30 seconds. Target muscles: Flexors.

Cool down: Bring your hands back up to your heart and give yourself a few words of self love as you complete your stretches. Namaste!

Professional Tip for Nail Techs at Work: Relax your body! You may notice your whole body is tense when you hold your client’s hand in place. Instead, drop your shoulders and relax your whole body. Release any tension and use that energy instead as strength to focus on the place you are holding. Breathe. By releasing the tension in your body, you will improve circulation, relieve muscle tightness and feel more relaxed.

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

Hayley Clarke

Hayley Clarke is a Registered Shiatsu Therapist and Reiki Master/Teacher who shares over 15 years of experience. She is certified in several modalities including strength training, a variety of physical therapies and energy balancing techniques. She has developed a unique treatment style which infuses energy balancing techniques and physical therapies to support your body, mind and soul. Hayley practices and teaches in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Find Hayley at fullcirclebodyworks.ca and facebook.com/hayleyfullcirclebodyworks

How to Organize Your Nail Desk by Talia Sander

As a nail technician and content creator on YouTube, you can guess that I have a lot of supplies and equipment that I use on a daily basis. Luckily one of my passions is also organization! When it comes to workflow, having an organized space is a must for me. I am able to work more productively, find my tools easier and clean up after I’m done working much faster.

I’m going to share with you 5 solutions that I’ve implemented at my nail desk specifically to help me stay more organized and focused as I work on clients.

  1. Keep supplies off of your desk

    Relocate all of your tools that take up space on your desk onto a moveable cart system. Put each item back into the cart as you’re finished using it. Having everything you need to work on your clients in a cart keeps your desktop clean and cleared for the essentials. The moveable cart can also be stationed beside your desk as you work and then tucked away in a corner when you’re done for the day.

    This tiered cart is from Costco, but many different styes can be found at Michaels, HomeSense or Winners
  2. Have a “returns” drawer

    Keep a drawer in your desk where you can quickly toss nail products and tools that you only need for a specific design or appointment. Having a drawer like this will allow you to keep your desktop nice and tidy as you work while also keeping cleaning up between clients to a minimum as you won’t have to put everything back right away. At the end of your work day, you can return everything from the drawer back to its rightful home. This is a small hack, but can be quite the time saver!

  3. Use different types of organizers

    One of my favourite pieces that I use to organize my nail brushes is actually a makeup pallet organizer. It fits perfectly in my desk drawer and I use it to hold all of my nail brushes I work with on a regular basis. Try organizing your nail brushes in categories of what you use them for. For example: clear gel brushes, glitter brushes, acrylic brushes, etc… This way, you keep each brush clean and untampered with. Keeping your brushes organized in your desk drawer also helps in other ways. For instance, tucking away all your gel brushes keeps them from being exposed to UV light, which will keep them in good condition.

  4. Use clear organizers

    Using clear organizers helps make your drawer space look cleaner and more spacious. It also allows you to easily see what is in the organizers, from whichever way you may be looking at them. This makes finding whatever product you need much simpler.

    This clear organiser is from Impressions Vanity (another pallet organizer)
  5. Keep what you use the most, close!

    A product that I use on the majority of my clients’ nails are Clear Jelly Stamper products. Being that I’m mostly reaching for these products, I’ve devoted two drawers in my desk to house them alone. This keeps them at arm’s reach, so I can grab and return them throughout my work day with ease.

    One of my CjS drawers is where I keep all of my stamping polishes. Polish holding unit is from CjS, holder to the back is a blush organizer from Impressions Vanity
  • Bonus Tip: Label away!

    Labeling is an excellent organizational strategy. You’re more likely to stay organized if you know where everything goes!

Talia Sander

Talia Sander is a nail technician and content creator for her YouTube channel Talia’s Nail Tales. Her channel is devoted to sharing professional quality nail products, working on her client’s nails and nail studio organization.

See her recent desk tour video that goes more in depth of her organization tips and tricks

Time Tips by Suzie

Tips to Manage and Save Time at the Nail Table
For students, new and experienced nail techs

For Nail Tech Students:

When you’re learning it’s hard NOT to think about your time. You’ve had your nails done; you know how long it usually takes. You’ve experienced the feeling of sitting in the chair while the tech meets your requests. However, remember, you are learning. As soon as you walk in that education room, do not look at the clock! Time should not be your focus. After all, how can you do something fast when you don’t even know how to do it yet? You can’t. You need to develop your skills and style first and foremost. Once you are creating nails you are happy with on a consistent basis, then you can learn how you can cut your time down. You can’t do it the other way around.

  • First, learn to create nails properly, then practice doing it faster.

For New Techs in the Salon:

Time is one of the biggest issues for nail techs and clients in the salon. Both parties count on it. Nail technicians need to get their clients done within a certain time frame, as they are usually booked back to back. Clients have their own schedules as well- work, errands, other appointments, picking up their kids, etc. When you are just starting out as a nail tech, this can be a difficult space to navigate because you’re still building your clientele. You will have many clients that you haven’t met before, which means you don’t yet know what they want done in their appointment. Clients have no idea what is involved in a nail fill, a new set, nail art or even in just fixing a nail- and they don’t have to- it’s the nail technician’s job to lead the way and help them understand what to expect.

  • When you’re first starting out and taking lots of new clients, make sure to schedule in ample time for their appointments. This way, you’ll have enough time to adjust to whatever their needs may be. This will also reduce stress for both of you. If either of you are pressed for time, there will be tension and that’s the last thing you want your client to experience during their appointment. Not to mention, a day of appointments like this would NOT be fun for the tech.

  • Scheduling in that extra time for initial appointments with your clients will also allow you to set the tone of your relationship with them. They will see that you are taking time to get to know them and to understand exactly what they want and they will respect and appreciate the kindness and calmness you have brought into their day. Building a solid client-tech relationship is key when building your clientele. The result is return customers.

For Experienced Techs:

You’ve built up a strong clientele and find yourself being booked back to back as a daily routine- congratulations! Now, how do you keep on schedule while maneuvering time pitfalls and complications such as late or over consuming appointments?

  • While your client is waiting for their appointment, present them with your nail/gel polish wheels so that they can decide what they’d like before their appointment even begins- or at least by polish time so that there’s no added time for this decision.

  • For late clients, try to include 10 to 15 minutes extra per appointment for this issue in particular. If you have a client who is notoriously tardy, try booking their appointment 15 minutes after you actually tell them to come. A bit of a sneaky trick, but it’s an effective one. Then there are those clients who show up a full 30 minutes late, where half of their appointment is gone and yet they still expect to be serviced! For these extremely unpunctual ones, go ahead and begin their appointment when they arrive, but as you reach the halfway point, tell them that you only had enough time to do the one hand, charge them for both and then suggest that they book a time to come in and have the other done when they’re available. You can bet that they will come back! After all, they’ve already paid for it. The reason to do this is so that you don’t waste the hour that you have booked for that client. If they only show up for half of the appointment, then they only get half of their service, but you still get paid for your time.

  • When it comes to clients who like extravagant designs, suggest that they send you pictures of what they want a few days before their appointment. You may need to extend their appointment time frame and/or find the proper products so that you are prepared to fulfill what they want.

  • If you find yourself really tight for time (as it often happens), consider keeping another desk where you can polish clients and set them under the light to dry while you begin your next client. This is a small timesaver, but you would be surprised of the difference it can make cumulatively to the end of your day. The table can also used to fix one nail repairs while a current clients hands are in the light. This way you're not switching clients backing forth you are just switching tables.

These tips will help you save time and they may even get you out of a jam or two that you find in your day. Remember though, that each client has different needs and perspectives, so while doing nails as efficiently as possible is a valuable skill to develop and utilize, not every client you come across will appreciate this in the same way. Some clients like to take the process slower. As the saying goes, “time is money,” and while that is true, think of it more in terms of value. Taking your time with each client may seem counterproductive, but building a good foundation this way will ensure you a lasting and loyal clientele, which is extremely valuable.

Lash Passion by Zachary Falb

What makes you get out of bed each morning?

An alarm clock? Two cups of coffee? Or the passion you have for your career? It’s okay if the answer is all three but if you don’t have the excitement and love for your profession, it might be time to change directions.

My love for eyelash extensions was cultivated out of a desire to change the way a woman thinks about her beauty in two hours or less without the use of needles or surgery. Similar to how a new haircut and hair color can transform your appearance, a custom set of eyelash extensions made to suit your own face and eye shape can make you feel alive, youthful and instantly beautiful.

Eyelash extensions have been around for decades but mainly in the form of strips that are glued to the upper lash line. Advancements in product safety, chemistry, technique and product development has launched the lash industry into one of the most profitable beauty services in the world. When performed correctly, eyelash extensions are damage-free, long-lasting and very addicting. Lash lovers can roll out of bed gorgeous skipping their mascara and eyeliner all together. Plus, with advancements in adhesive chemistry, long-term results mean infills are only needed monthly!

I love being a lash artist because I give people the confidence that is already inside of them, they just needed a gorgeous set of lashes to realize it. Lashing is a very technical skill that takes years of practice to perfect. No two eyes are alike so custom creating a set of lashes for each client is at the forefront of my rulebook. Always ensuring the health and safety of the natural lashes is paramount to the success of the service. Taking into consideration all these factors contributes to service success.

I love seeing the lash industry grow and evolve each year. Doing what I love gives me the drive, passion and desire to change the world one lash at a time.

Zachary Falb

Zach has been involved in the beauty and cosmetic industry for over 12 years and the eyelash industry for the last 6 years. His continual focus on education has contributed to creating and developing training programs, product innovation, business development, new market expansion and designing training curriculum for major companies across the USA, Europe and Asia.

Kids in the Salon by Suzie

“Why can’t I bring my kid to my nail appointment?”

This is a tough one for nail techs; most aren’t sure how to handle the enquiry. It’s difficult to assess when children behave differently and parenting styles vary. Many nail techs have kids themselves and they understand how helpful it is to bring the little ones along. Still, depending on the situation, letting them come may not prove to be all fun and games. Let’s consider a few reasons why.

  • Lack of proper accommodations. Most salons simply don’t have enough room to properly accommodate children. Each square foot costs money, so every bit of space is utilized. Often, salons don’t even have a spot where kids can sit, so they end up sitting on the floor.

  • Puts techs behind schedule. Nail techs are always on a schedule. If the parent needs to attend to their child during the appointment, it puts the tech behind. Often there is a bathroom break needed for the little one as well as general fussings or even the occasional tantrum to contend with. Any of which will leave the tech behind schedule for the rest of their work day.

  • Treatment interference. Say the child needs a bathroom break right in the middle of the appointment. Their parent takes them, but it is difficult with their nails partially done and still needing to set properly. The parent must remember to do so in a clean manner, without washing their hands as this can seriously affect the adhesion of the nails. If they end up needing to wash their hands while assisting their child and they don’t, a whole other set of issues is created…

  • Safety risk for the child. A more concerning issue when little ones are present is the potential for actual harm to come to them. Here’s an example: a child is on the floor (as there’s nowhere else to sit) and there happens to be acrylic dust that wasn’t cleaned up where they are seated. Their hands come into contact with the dust, they then rub their face causing the dust to get in their eyes. This is very uncomfortable for the child and makes for a stressful day for everyone involved. While this is a milder example of what could happen, the products and chemicals found in salons can be very harmful if not used properly. If a chemical caused more than an irritation to a child, the liability for the salon would be detrimental, financially and emotionally.

  • Disruptive to the environment and experience. Salons usually provide a calming, stress free atmosphere for clients to relax and unwind in. Bringing a young child into this type of space can be disruptive to the other clients who did plan on childcare so that they could relax. It can also be disruptive to the parent’s experience as well. It’s difficult to lay back and let go while also keeping an eye on your child.

It may be best to come solo to your nail appointment– unless you happen to have an adorable puppy to keep your kid entertained!

Every salon differs on their policy when it comes to allowing kids. Some are accommodating, while others opt for a blanket rule on the issue and don’t allow it at all. If bringing your child is really important to you, seek out a salon that does welcome children. You can also try an independent nail tech. Many techs who work from home have less of a problem with kids coming along as their environment is more controlled. Their workspace is smaller and more private, which makes it easier to keep an eye on the child. They also have more space that is their own and not shared, so providing seating/accommodations for children can be easier. Having said that, like salons, all techs differ as well, so check with them beforehand.

Now that we know why kids and appointments may not go so well together and where we can go if we still want to bring them, let’s talk about what to tell your client when asked this sticky question…

As a nail tech, it is up to you to decide your policy. If you work in a salon, the policy may already be decided for you, which makes things easier, as you become more of the messenger. For nail technicians who work for themselves, it is their decision. Be honest with yourself and with your clients. If you are someone who needs a calm and quiet environment to do your work, you may find it’s better for everyone if you say no. Alternatively, you may be someone who thrives with a bit of energy in the room and can work with the flow of what the child may bring. Either way, own it. If it’s no, explain to your client that you want to provide the best quality of work and service for them and that their child can interfere. If your client values your work, they will respect and understand this. If they choose to go elsewhere, it just means that they have different needs. If you decide to give it the green light, scheduling in a bit of extra time in the appointment for bathroom/tantrum breaks can go a long way in ensuring that no one gets stressed out.

Whether you are the client or the tech in this scenario, remember to be clear, honest and understanding. There is a place for every type of tech and client out there, it might just take a little bit of effort to find it. When you do, everyone is happy.

Four Steps to Combat Insecurity by Elizabeth Morris

Repeat after me: “Doing nails IS a REAL job.” Being a nail technician comes with its challenges and one of these challenges is very unique to any other vocation you could possibly choose. More often than not, when a nail lover tells their friends and family that they want to be a manicurist they are met with doubtful faces and words of discouragement. And this battle can continue throughout their career. The general populous doesn’t seem to understand that not only is doing nails amazing and rewarding, but it actually can make you a nice living. Did you know that the in the US alone over $8.5 billion was spent on nail salon services last year?!

It’s important that you feel empowered in your choice whether you’re a DIYer or you’re working professionally. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with throwing yourself into nail care! But regardless of our own steadfast passion for nails, sometimes we can find ourselves giving into our insecurities and listening to those around us who tell us things like: we should get a “real job”, we're not good enough, we're bad at what we do, or even that no one takes us seriously. It can sometimes be an internal tiny voice that we may not even be fully conscious of or the effect it has on our bodies. But the tell-tale signs of insecurity, unhappiness, and depression can be found when our motivation levels plummet and our fuses are short. Our love of nails can be faced with feelings of guilt and depression.

Instead of getting stuck in this down-in-the-dumps mode we need to focus on keeping ourselves on an upward trajectory. Not only for the sake of ourselves, but for the sake of our clients, friends, and family. So how can we stay motivated and continue to find a deeper meaning in our passion for nails? Here is a quick step-by-step plan to help you snap out of that lackluster mode and rev up your mind, body, and your work:

  1. The importance of organizing each day and sticking to a regular schedule is paramount to combat lethargy and that feeling of insecurity. Seems silly, but your mood can truly be elevated by committing to waking up at the same time every day, eating well, doing your hair, doing your makeup, and finding time to go for a walk or exercise even if just for 15-20 minutes a day. Forcing yourself to stick to a schedule will start out feeling uncomfortable and useless, but it is scientifically proven to help combat anxiety, lethargy, and demotivation. View your day as a checklist full of small goals. As you complete each task, even as simple as waking up on time, check them off. You'll feel a small sense of accomplishment when you follow through on each goal which will help create a snowball effect of "can do" attitude. Plus, by actually getting up, looking your best, and getting your blood flowing with some exercise you'll feel more awake, more alive, and more confident.

  2. Find at least one positive affirmation to tell yourself each morning and at least one thing to be grateful for. Examples? "I love and approve of myself just the way I am." "I am grateful for my friends and family who are there to support me." “I can and I will!” Really dig deep and say these mantras/affirmations to yourself daily. Whenever you find yourself falling into a negative thought pattern, these mantras will help you snap out of it and gain perspective.

    Positive affirmations and finding gratitude are proven techniques to help people overcome insecurity, anxiety, and fear. You can also Google examples of these positive affirmations to get started if you're having a hard time finding them within. The key is to change your gratitude mantra daily. By having to come up with a new thing to be thankful for you’ll start to step away from obvious things like friends and family and you'll start to discover more detailed things that help you savor life. For example, being thankful for the way your oatmeal in the morning warms your belly and helps you through your day. This exercise will start out a little challenging and you'll find yourself saying some pretty generic things to be grateful for or feeling silly at the start, but with some practice you'll start to really focus on the things that do make your days special and your day will feel more meaningful.

  3. Turn that frown upside down. Yes, it is one of the most obnoxious sayings ever created, but did you know that smiling is actually a super simple way to physiologically change your mood? And guess what- there's a bonus… it also improves the mood of everyone around you! Try a little experiment and try focusing on smiling more for one day. See if you notice a difference in the way people respond to you and you'll be surprised how contagious smiling can be. Smiling has been such an important part of our interaction as humans and is an automatic sign that you are friendly and do not require the other person to be on alert. It makes everything from interactions with loved-ones easier and more pleasant, to clients as well. Plus, your newfound positive energy will also help attract positive energy back. Try it out and you won't be disappointed with the results. As they say, "Smile and the world smiles with you..."

  4. Savor. To savor doesn't just mean to taste or smell something, it means to enjoy something completely. Try to focus on the moments in your day and savor them. Focus on the shine of someone's hair, the smell of someone's perfume, the way your clothes feel, the music that plays in your workspace, etc. By savoring the small moments that make up our day we find more meaning in them. It also helps us to remember each moment more vividly which helps us to feel we are living life more fully rather than just existing on the surface. As busy beauty professionals it can be so easy to arrive home at the end of the day and not even remember how we got there. Twelve hours seem to slip by like the blink of an eye and if you put a lot of these types of busy surface existence days together pretty soon you'll start to feel like you're not really living your life. Savoring is one of the best ways you can put an end to feeling like the grains of sand are slipping through your fingers. You'll remember more, you'll appreciate the little things more, and you'll get a sense of true enjoyment out of your days.

To summarize, the steps are: stick to a schedule, start your day with a positive affirmation and at least one thing you are grateful for, smile, and savor. Try implementing at least some of these steps or all of them if you can. If you commit to making a concerted effort, you'll soon find that you'll feel better .You’ll feel more in control of your life and you'll get more fulfillment out of each day. You’ll also feel overall happier and more motivated from one day to the next. It's important to continue to focus on living a full life and finding meaning in our passions and careers if we want to stick with them for the long haul. A little change of mental process goes a long way. Plus, being a beacon of positive energy will bring positive energy to you, both in your personal life and in your work.

Elizabeth Morris

Elizabeth Morris is a professional gel nail technician, artist, podcaster, YouTuber and owner of The Nail Hub. As a corporate financial analyst turned nail technician, she loves to share her passion and knowledge with others. Through a combination of financial expertise, salon ownership, and behind-the-chair experience she offers nail lovers detailed, focused, and professional advice to help them advance in their passions. Her business The Nail Hub offers the highest quality gel nail products, training, consulting and support for gel nail specialists and salons.

All Nail Career Education followers get 10% off at thenailhub.com with code SUZIE

Find Elizabeth on Instagram at @thenailhub

The Beauty in Messing Up by Suzie

Make mistakes, please!

NO ONE is perfect. While this is said time and time again, do we ever really listen?

We can be so hard on ourselves. We watch someone ‘effortlessly’ accomplish something, yet we become frustrated when we try and it doesn’t feel the same.

But how could it be the same? We are all at different stages of learning- and of living! Seeing someone else’s work shows you their skill level, but it does NOT show you how many mistakes over the hours, days and years they have made to be able to hone their skill well enough to create it.

When we see other people as guideposts, it’s easy to find ourselves feeling inadequate. It’s great to become inspired and motivated by what someone else is doing, but if we forget to consider their entire journey- mistakes included- then we are in danger of falling into the fear of failure. And contrary to what we’d like to believe, we need failure.

We learn by failing. That’s what experience is. That’s what all of those days, hours and years are- a bunch of mess ups. A bunch of little mess ups that are executed slightly different every time, so that each one becomes less of a mistake and more of a, “Hey, I think I actually did it this time!” And then you repeat.

When someone has experience with something, it means that they have tried and failed at doing it so many times that they were able to find the one way that works out of a sea of ways that didn’t. If they documented their learning process in a YouTube video, it would take us months, if not years to watch it. We’d see them messing up plenty. But somewhere in the footage, we’d also see the eureka/light bulb moment! The moment when they realize that all of their messing up wasn’t really messing up at all. It was learning.

And that’s beautiful!

The World of Nail Competition by Chantel Joy

I stumbled into the world of nail competitions on a whim.

chantel in group photo

I was encouraged by fellow nail tech Amanda Sosnowski, who is also one of the founders, administrators and organizers of Nail Masters and Nail Masters Canada, an international and national nail competition. While I was gently nudged into the competition ring by Amanda, I admit that I entered very much like a deer in headlights. I was very nervous, apprehensive and felt quite in over my head. I actually had no intention of entering the competition until two days before, so I had prepped very little. Still, I decided to take the plunge anyway and I dove in head first without much knowledge of what to expect. I thought to myself, if nothing else, I’d learn for the next time around.

To back it up a bit- I was attending the 2nd Nail Masters Canada in Saskatoon, Saskatechewan to simply take in the event. The idea of entering a competition while there lingered in the back of my mind, but I was still unsure. At NMC, I was welcomed in true Canadian style with a hug and smile and I felt genuinely welcomed by everyone there. Even though I was new and didn’t know anyone, they made me feel that my presence was equally as important as everyone else’s. Not once did I feel insignificant or out of place. Because of this, I felt compelled to be involved, and I tossed my hat into the ring!

To say that I learned a lot from competing would be an understatement!

The challenge to do my best work and reflect on the constructive criticism I received from the judges lit a fire under me. It’s inspired me to be a better educator, a better nail technician, and even a better person. Not only do I expand my love for my craft with each competition I’m a part of, but I conquer my fears and self doubt and prove to myself that I am stronger than them each time. Which is worth its weight in gold.

No matter how long we’ve been in the industry, who we work for, how many sets we do every week, if we don’t leave our comfort zones to try something new, we won’t progress. We can’t accomplish if we don’t let ourselves try in the first place.

That first year, I took home three trophies, including 1st place in hand painted (Veteran), which is something I never thought I’d achieve in my career, but I did with the encouragement of those around me.

So, let me encourage you! If you are ever in the position to be able to attend and/or compete at a nail event and competition, DO IT! You very well may be uneasy and nervous like I was, but being in that environment, around all the other techs and seeing those just like you break down the walls of their fears and find what’s on the other side is incredible and infectious. So much so, that you just might want to burst through too.

And believe me when I say the other side is worth the effort to break through to.

Chantel Joy

Chantel Joy is a long time Nail Technician with a passion for art and education. She is an international educator, a lead educator for Fuzion Gel, Director of Education for Clear Jelly Stamper and a Swarovski authorized nail art educator.

She firmly believes you’ve never finished learning and growing and enjoys sharing and teaching technicians of all skill levels.

Why I Throw Trash Over My Shoulder by Suzie

I’ve been lucky throughout my nail career to have clients who I get along very well with. When I relocated my nail studio to my home, my favourite clients came with me and we got to enjoy a cozy and casual environment. All of my clients knew I was choosing to work from home so I could be there for my kids, and they appreciated and respected this.

On a normal working day, I was doing one of my clients while we were chatting up a storm. We were talking and laughing amongst the relaxed (aka messy), but happy atmosphere of my house. Working from home certainly has its benefits- but let’s just say, you could tell that we lived there. My kids’ toys were peppered about, as well as their shoes and backpacks. There was evidence of the little ones all around us.

My client and I were splitting a gut, like we normally would during our appointment. We were cracking jokes and so I was in a very goofy and light hearted mood. I had just finished with a nail form I had been using, so instead of placing it in my trash bin, I found myself tossing it over my shoulder for a giggle. It was as if to say, “Oh well- look at this mess! One more piece of trash ain’t gonna matter!”

Since that day, throughout the years during appointments with my clients, I would whip out the joke when that same feeling would strike me. It’s never failed to get a chuckle.

Along creating videos on YouTube, I became more comfortable when I remembered that there are real people just like my clients on the other side of the camera. On a particular shoot day, I reminded myself of this and the same goofy, light hearted mood from years before came over me. The camera was my client, and I love to get a laugh from my clients. So, over my shoulder the trash went! It felt so good.

Some of the funniest and most infectious things come from unplanned and spontaneous moments. That’s certainly what I’ve found in this case. The laughter I get from my clients and the ‘lols’ I receive from comments online have helped turn it into a little ritual.

And yes, I clean it up after.

Top Ten Tagged by Suzie

Suzie's picks from YOUR nail photo Instagram submissions!

Suzie says: I've been receiving so many wonderful submissions from talented nail artists around the world, so I thought I should feature a few of my favourites in my magazine! Here we go!

  1. “When I first saw this I was so impressed with the artistic flare of the ladybug! It looks like a painting you could hang up in your living room. I love it! It’s SO well done! I also love the complimenting colour on the rest of the fingers.”

  2. “I’m blown away with how soft and delicate this looks. The subtle and gentle strokes are what makes this a masterpiece. Breathtaking!”

  3. “Such a creative use of many crystals and beads here! This has a vintage look that I could not love more. The gems and beads are delicately placed, and of course, beautifully displayed on one of my favourite nail shapes (the stiletto).”

  4. “Applying nails on super short natural nails can be quite the challenge. This adorable glitter fade set was thought out and executed brilliantly! It’s a good idea to start with short extensions for new sets because short natural nails can’t hold length well.”

  5. “I’ve been practicing one stroke flowers myself lately, so I especially appreciate the dedication to that technique shown here. The composition and colour choices are absolutely beautiful. And look at that french! WOW! I hope to create flowers like this one day!”

  6. “Creating the french line on a nail with length is difficult. Creating it on a super short nail is even harder because the line is so small. In order for french nails to look good, the smile lines need to be so accurate as they are closely paralleled. These nails showcase this precision immaculately! Extraordinary work!”

  7. “Look how accurate the colour of the blood is! From the extreme nail shape to the hand painted artwork, this design has nailed that dark and spooky Halloween look. I can only imagine how awesome the outfit was to match these nails!”

  8. “Sometimes less is more. The details on the spider are impeccable! And it’s so creepy!”

  9. “It looks like the Galaxy! This effect is so cool! I’m not sure how this was done, but I’d sure love to find out!”

  10. “I never would have thought of combining these two colours together. It’s a very natural, sort of stone looking nail. Paired with marbling and gems, this is exquisite!”

We'd love to see your submissions!

Tag Suzie @nailcareereducation in your best nail photos, and use the hashtag #suziesubmissions on Instagram for a chance to be featured in NCE’s next issue!