A few months ago, I found myself daydreaming (as I often do) and this time, it was about a nail design that would feature a landscape- like a safari or even an underwater scene- but it would have dimension to it. The subjects of the scene (plants, animals, fish, etc.) would appear to be inside of the nail, as opposed to simply on top of it.
I’ve seen this kind of “snow globe” effect used before, and I thought of how cool it would be to utilize this technique to help bring a scene alive! Lucky for me, I happen to be friends with the stamping Queen herself. So Debbie, creator of the Clear Jelly Stamper and mastermind behind its large array of amazing stamping plates, teamed up with me to help bring my daydream to life! Together we created two new stamping plates- a jungle/safari plate as well as an underwater/sea life plate. For this issue’s cover, we made use of our underwater plate and let ourselves get swept away with the ocean… Also, luckily I know an adorable girl who was willing to be transformed into a mermaid!
Sometimes I wonder how we get anything done between laughing so much. We all have to work, but luckily I get to work with such wonderful people.
Meet Debbie, owner and creator of Clear Jelly Stamper, and Baylee, one of my salon’s talented nail technicians and this issue’s cover model!
I thought about attaching this 3D aquarium nail scene to one of Baylee’s nails for this shoot- making it more of an extreme nail art cover. But, in the end, I decided against it- even after I had already painted this underwater scene. Trial and error is all a part of the process!
Definitely a team effort to ready Baylee for this shoot.
If I wasn’t a nail tech, I would have seriously considered doing hair and makeup! Of course, I’m not complaining. And I’m certainly out of my area of experience doing hair and makeup, but I’m doing it anyway, because it’s too much fun! Especially being able to learn as I go.
I chose to do very dramatic makeup on Baylee, focusing on green and blue tones to get that underwater look of a mermaid.
Baylee has an AMAZING head of hair! It really holds curls. After I curled her hair, I pulled it up off her face to make it look as if it was being swept to the side by water. Then, I simply braided her hair down that one side while still keeping it full and messy, as if water was moving it around.
While I did Baylee’s hair and makeup, Debbie worked to finish the nail design.
Using her Clear Jelly Stamper, Debbie stamped a nautical design for our mermaid.
Here, Debbie and I put our underwater stamping plate to good use! We decided to use the “snow globe” effect (or in this case, aquarium effect!) on one feature nail. Baylee’s middle finger has the layers of clear builder gel with our sea life stamps in between.
For the shoot, we came up with the idea of wrapping Baylee in string lights for two reasons...
Reason one: to suggest that she- the mermaid- is caught in netting.
Reason two… because it looks so cool!
Even though Baylee isn’t a professional model and we are not a pro makeup and hair team, we were able to play the part together for an afternoon. The result was great and the experience, even greater!
Debbie 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!
Baylee Juch is a twenty-one year old full-time nail technician working at Nail District in Langford, BC, Canada. Ever since she can remember she had a love for nails and nail art. She never thought she could make a career out of it until she met Suzie. At age nineteen, Baylee took Suzie’s nail workshop and shortly after, was given the opportunity to work in her salon. Baylee feels so fortunate to have found something she’s passionate about and be able to also call it her job. Baylee lives in Shawnigan Lake, BC, Canada.
It was on a weekday in the mid 80s when I was working at my first salon that I met a new client that would forever change the way I saw people…
This is a story about how rumours don’t compare to the truth. Working at a nail salon, of course people talk. Each appointment with a client is an opportunity to get to know them- whether you like them or not. I’ve had clients who I absolutely adore and go on to become my friends outside of work and I’ve also had clients where I wish they could just drop their hands off and pick them up in an hour when I’m done. But, luckily, I’ve always enjoyed doing nails and have felt lucky to have it as my career. So, I will service them either way. It’s my job.
There was a rumour that was going around about a new client I had booked for her first appointment with me that day. She was recommended to me by another salon. The rumour was that she was a bit of a whiner and a hypochondriac. At this time, I was in my 20s and she was in her 50s. Back then, 50s was not “the new 30s.” Let’s call her Fern. Fern looked much older than her years; you could tell she has a rough life. She was rather chatty and seemed very sweet though, from what I could tell.
She had a gentle, motherly disposition. She came every three weeks to see me for her nails, without fail. Over the months that we got to know each other, she had told me of some medical issues of which I saw no signs of and diseases that I had never known anyone else to have either. But, like I said, nails is my job. Not judgement. Besides, I found her lovely and I looked forward to her visits.
Fern and I developed a nice business relationship and friendship too. I always ask my clients how they are and what they’ve been up to and as time went on, Fern decided to open up more about her personal life. One day, she told me about a visit her and her daughter made to a local high school where they spoke to the students about Schizophrenia. I asked her how that came about and so she explained to me that her daughter has Schizophrenia. They were speaking to the high school students to help bring awareness and understanding to the disorder. She went on to tell me about a story about how her daughter was so paranoid (as I learned paranoia is a part of the disorder) that one day, she duct taped her entire doorway so that no light or air could get in out of fear that things or people would attack her. Later on, she was baking in her kitchen when she realized she needed an ingredient for a recipe she was making, so she had to tear all the tape off of her doorway just to borrow an egg from a neighbor. She explained how her daughter tells this story in such a funny and relatable way and how all the students enjoy it. I was both shocked by the story and so impressed by her for taking the time and effort to do this with her daughter. I learned that her and her daughter had been doing this for years.
I knew that Fern worked at a food bank, so on another day I asked her a bit about that. Over the next few months, she shared even more stories about her job and her personal life. When she told me that she had a son who was homeless and also has Schizophrenia, I was blown away. She had four children. What were the odds that two of her children would have the disorder? I continued to learn about Fern; how she volunteered at the local jail to comfort and be a listening ear to the prisoners there. At the food bank, she was a rock for the homeless and those in need and she often opened up her own home to these people. During an intimate conversation she and I were having one day, I asked her what drives her to do all of this. She said to me, “I understand how they feel and I decided I was going to love the unloved.” That sentence has stuck with me ever since.
Throughout the coming years, I began to see the symptoms of the diseases Fern said that she had years earlier. People said she was a hypochondriac, but it was all true. Some of the diseases that she had fallen victim to couldn’t even be named by doctors at the time, but then became so later on. Despite what people thought about Fern, she actually had many illnesses that she didn’t talk about. She was someone who suffered in silence. She was a tough lady.
Fern was a BOULDER of strength in her family. Her daughter eventually took her own life, so Fern took it upon herself to raise her grandson. She worried for her own son as he aged, still living on the streets. Even despite all of Fern’s efforts, doing everything she possibly could for him and using her connections she had through her government work, her son lived his life out this way.
This woman was anything but a whiner and a hypochondriac. She was an inspiration who I came to admire. I learned a lot from her and from the stories she shared with me. I consider myself lucky to have been able to know her.
When the day came, I attended her funeral. There I saw all the faces of the people she had helped throughout her life. So many people from the food bank, her husband, her children, her friends, the pastor from her church standing near the homeless that she had helped.
Thinking back to what I heard about Fern before I had gotten to know her, it’s unbelievable how offbase it was. That rumour going around years ago could not have gotten her more wrong.
And so I learned, you can never find out who someone truly is through a rumour.
First, apply pink builder gel to the nail, carving a heart shape with your brush before the gel cures.
Sprinkle chameleon flakes into the heart shape you created in the gel.
Apply a colour of your choosing (here we have a deep purple) to the nail’s smile line. Add some sparkles or flakes here as well before it cures. Build with a clear builder gel and shape the nail.
Add to your heart design by painting delicately around it, embellishing where you please on the nail. Make sure not to cover the heart, and cure.
To finish, top coat the nail and use gem gel to add some metal elements and/or crystals!
On your built and shaped nail, apply a colour of your choice. Carve heart designs into this layer before curing, and then cure.
Add a thin layer of clear gel inside the carved hearts. Add chameleon flakes or a glitter of your choice on top of this thin layer and then flash cure. Apply a thick top coat layer to even out the surface. Cure and buff the nail.
Outline your hearts using the one stroke technique. To do this, make sure that one side of your brush has a colour gel while the other side has clear gel and paint around each side of the hearts in one smooth motion. This technique gives your hearts a see-through effect. Cure the nail.
Outline your hearts in white, then cure.
To add dimension to the design and brighten up the nail, apply some neon colour to the biggest heart, then cure.
Complete this design by applying a top coat and adding metal elements or Swarovski crystals with gem gel!
Start this design by applying pink builder gel to the top of the nail. Leaving space in between, apply another curved section about three quarters of the way down. Cure the nail.
Apply a thin layer of clear builder gel over the nail and add chameleon flakes in the spaces left between the pink builder gel sections. Flash cure the nail. Continue to build the nail with clear gel, shape and cure.
Using the one stroke technique like in design two, paint a heart in the center of the two pink builder gel sections. Cure the nail.
Outline your heart in white, adding swirls and curves all around it. Cure.
Top the design with sparkles, then cure and top coat. Finish off your creation by using gem gel to add metal elements or Swarovski crystals!
Olga Khazova is a nail artist, pro educator of Mosaic Nail Systems and owner of European Standard. Ogla began her professional career in 2007 in the Ukraine. She has a great passion for nail art and is constantly upgrading her skills. She shares these skills in her teaching of the craft. Olga has also been a finalist and won numerous nail art and nail shaping competitions. Her company European Standard offers online classes as well as high quality professional nail products from Europe.
For as long as I could remember, I had been biting my nails. It wasn’t from stress, but rather from a desire to fix what was wrong or even just inconsistent. I shy away from the term, but ‘perfectionist’ is an accurate label for me. Inconsistencies in my nails led me to biting, clipping, buffing, chiseling- you name it. So a couple years ago when Suzie suggested doing a set of nails on me, I’ll admit that I was skeptical.
“I could make them look nice and natural, Grant,” she said. She even mentioned how it might cure my biting habit. Yeah right I thought. I’ve been at these suckers for nearly twenty years! Although I had doubts that I would adjust to the length and I was worried that they would break, I went ahead and decided to try them anyway.
I would come to learn a valuable lesson the year Suzie started doing my nails: never doubt a wild Suzie, especially in her natural habitat!
For all of the years I had known Suzie, I had never watched her work on a nail set from start to finish. It was an enjoyable experience, from the banter, the colour selection to watching the artist- who I call Suzie- in her zone.
Once she finished them, I immediately noticed how entertaining it was to tap my nails on the table dramatically. What can I say? I’m a simple man with simple pleasures. I also soon found that when I dropped change on the ground, it was lost forever, as I could never find a way to easily pick it up.
Shortly after the first set, I still ended up finding my fingers in my mouth (which was essentially muscle memory), however, I wouldn’t bite them. They were now even in length and thickness, so why would I? There was nothing to fix. In as little as days, my fingers found their way into my mouth less and less; the habit was beginning to break. As the redness around my nails started to fade, I began to ponder what colours and styles I would like to try next. I had a whole new lease on my nail life!
Today, I will occasionally falter and bite or clip my nails. Often it’s because I’ve gone too long without a fill and they have started to be become inconsistent or have begun to fray. Overall though, there has been a remarkable improvement with my nail biting habit. I used to be someone who would constantly bite my nails, to the point where they would become red with irritation and even bleed! Now, I only will on occasion, and my nail beds have since healed. My natural nails too, have become stronger and have taken back their original form. Plus, from my two years now getting my nails done, not once have I broken one. It’s almost as if Suzie builds them to last!
Having and keeping up nail extensions has replaced the need I had before to fix them myself with biting. I now bite far less often, have SICK nails and I get a few more hours to chat with Suzie. What’s not to love?
While breaking my nail biting habit has been a journey, it’s been made so much easier with the help of nail extensions. If I’d known earlier that getting my nails done would help this much, I would have gotten them years ago!
"Grant is a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit. He met Suzie in 1997 while they were filming as extras for a hit NBC sitcom. Today, he lives in Victoria and is criticized heavily for wearing tank tops throughout the Winter. He appears as a guest on Suzie’s YouTube channel chronicling his journey away from nail biting."
I love my job. I mean, who wouldn’t love to mix glitter and play with sparkle and shimmer all day?!
My name is Cheryl and I’m the creator and owner of Fuzion Gel, a nail product company based in Kelowna BC, Canada that specializes in fast-bonding and colour changing gels as well as —you guessed it— sparkle gels!
My passion for creating unique sparkle blends is an extension of my desire to inspire everyone to look inward and celebrate their uniqueness. Each blend can be custom made to represent the individual; to express who they are or simply how they are feeling that day. Even on the most casual days, if your nails are sparkling, it can make you feel dressed up and add that extra skip to your step!
The sky’s the limit when designing glitter gel or loose glitter mix. There is so much to play around with! My personal favourites are the multi-dimensional mixes that use a variety of microfine colours for depth and include some chunky holographic pieces. The fun and magic of glitter mixing though, is finding your perfect blend! Exploring and experimenting with different colours, sizes and accent pieces that speak to you are what it’s all about. Some of the most beautiful blends I have ever made are what I lovingly call happy accidents!
With that in mind, there are certain ways to obtain particular looks you might be going for with your nails. For example: if you want a soft, warm sparkle, mix glitters together that are the same size- the finer, the better! Alternatively, if you’re looking for a daring and bold design, opt for glitters in a variety of colours and sizes.
Here are the steps to create the perfect glitter mix for you!
Begin with your base colour. Microfine glitters work well for your starting point. Choose from matte, sparkle or even holographic! Be sure to love the colour glitter you start with because the rest of your creation will be based on it.
Continue your concoction by adding a little or a lot (up to you!) of different glitters in a variety of sizes and shapes. From microfines all the way to chunky!
Tip: I like to make sure that at least half of my mix is microfine. Otherwise, the mix can end up losing its depth.
Enjoy the process! Let yourself be pulled in different directions. You never know what you could end up with!
As for applying your perfect glitter mix to your nails, follow these steps:
Prepare your nails by giving yourself a quick manicure.
Apply a base coat (gel or nail polish) in a colour coordinating with your glitter blend.
Sprinkle or dip your nail in your glitter mix!
Allow polish to cure/dry as required.
Finish with 1-2 coats of top-coat, depending on what the texture of your glitter blend allows.
The best part about mixing glitter is finding what you love. It’s another way to express yourself and embrace who you are. And who you are is gorgeous!
Cheryl Mclaughlin is the owner and creator of Fuzion Gel. Her passion for nails lead her to personally test, create and develop Fuzion, which is a full gel line that includes colour changing gels, sparkle gels and more. Cheryl also runs beginner to advanced nail training through Fuzion, which has a network of over thirty educators in Canada and Australia. She and her team have future plans for online training and hope to be able to teach technicians worldwide in 2019!
Julie Kandalec is widely known for her timeless, artistic and innovative nails across New York City and beyond. For the past 20 years, she has been able to cultivate an in-depth artistic expertise in the beauty industry, earning coverage in a multitude of press pieces in Cosmopolitan, Allure, Refinery29, and PopSugar (to name a few!)
World-renowned celebrities like Viola Davis consider Julie to be their go-to manicurist, especially for awards shows like the Golden Globes and the Oscars, where Viola won both awards for Fences. She has also been sought-after by Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Emma Roberts, Emilia Clarke and Hailee Steinfeld who frequent her expert manicure services. Julie is also seen seasonally backstage as essie's lead artist at NY Fashion week, and spent nearly 5 years as Paintbox's Creative Director.
In 2017, Julie launched her successful beauty and travel blog and brand, Julie Off Duty.
How did you get your first big break working with celebrities?
I was in LA visiting a friend while building my portfolio and there was a cover shoot with the Pussycat Dolls. I knew the manicurist on the job and she needed an assistant. I was in town with my kit, so I worked on it with her.
Who was your first and who was your favourite celebrity to work on?
The first celebrity I worked on was Eve. My favourite… it’s so hard to say! I love Emilia Clarke because she’s so down to earth. Viola Davis is so strong and Anna Faris could seriously be my BFF!
You travel all over the world for your job. What’s your favourite destination?
I have been to the Hawaiian islands 6 times and could go over and over again. Maldives as well- I’ve been twice. And the Amalfi Coast is my new obsession. Everything has this chic yet relaxed, non-touristy vibe there.
What are your favourite nail designs?
At the moment, I am obsessed with the embroidery design popular in Korea and Japan. I have always loved texture and detail and this design show both in a really beautiful way.
What are the must-have products you will never be without when you’re traveling to a nail appointment?
It sounds so simple, but if I’m doing gel, I triple check that I have 99% isopropyl alcohol, my LED lamp and its cords and a very long extension cord. Also, I always bring a light source of some kind, plus an extension cord for that too! Next, I always have several art brushes and at minimum, some sort of studs and unique glitters. Lastly, lots of 100/180 grit files in case I have to remove someone’s enhancements quickly- or I’ll bring my e-file. The rest (cotton, polish, tools) I can usually find in a drugstore if needed.
Has there ever been a strange time or location that you have been called for an appointment?
Actually, next week I am holding for an overnight job and they are shooting at night time. So, the call time will probably be around 10PM. I am a night owl, so this is actually ideal for me. Ha ha!
Do you have a favourite experience you’ve had with a celebrity client that you can share?
Yes! Anna Faris hand wrote a letter to essie after I gave her a mani/pedi for the SAG awards one year saying how happy she was and how much she liked me!
Do you ever have to meet celebrities and complete secrecy?
Yes, I’ve had to sign a multi-million dollar non-disclosure agreement!
When you are on location, do you stay longer to enjoy the area or do you have to get onto the next job?
I always make it a priority to stay and enjoy where I travel to or go a day or two early to see the area. I’ll research what the local nail and beauty trends are and write about it like I did recently in Brazil while shooting with Elle magazine.
Are you on call or are your jobs always organized beforehand?
Both. But, more and more common being the latter! I like to know when I have to go to work. Being on call is so difficult.
If you didn’t get into nails, what other career could you see yourself doing?
Something in dance. I always wanted to be a backup dancer on tour with an artist!
Is there a celebrity that you were nervous to do a service for?
I was really nervous to do Kim Cattrall. It was very soon after I moved to New York and I love Sex and the City so much!
Is there a celebrity who you aspire to service one day?
Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence and Trisha Yearwood. Maybe even Trisha’s husband Garth Brooks, whom I’ve loved for years!
Do you see yourself in the years to come continuing down this career path or do you have other avenues in mind?
Yes, I am a beauty lifer! I do have other plans in mind, but they are top secret for the time being. I love giving back through beauty though.
Where have you not been to yet but still want to travel to?
The list is soooo long! Egypt, Switzerland, Lake Louise, Bali and Tahiti are tops. Oh, and Prague!
What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment so far?
Doing Viola Davis’ manicure was definitely incredible for me, as that’s when she won the Oscar for Fences. Also, I’d always wanted to work backstage at Fashion week and I am proud to say that I’m on my 11th season leading shows at NY Fashion week for essie.
Are you working on anything exciting currently?
I just committed to spending two weeks in Jamaica to teach nails to under resourced youths with an organization called Tradeworks. Additionally, I’m spending a lot of time on my beauty and travel blog, Julie Off Duty and on my YouTube channel.
I’ve always loved art; drawing and painting especially. Expressing myself in this way is always something I’ve connected with. When I was sixteen, I started finding beauty videos to watch online. And through this, I was introduced to the world of nails. I found a nail tutorial and it captivated me. It wasn’t long after that that I went out and got the products and tools I needed to try this artform out for myself.
At first, I didn’t know if I would be any good at it. But, I let my curiosity take the lead and went for it anyway. Besides, it looked simple enough. I would just follow the steps that the tutorials instructed me to. After actually trying to do my first set however, I realized that it was not that easy. I tried very hard and was as careful as I could be, but I was still, as they say, “floating the cuticles,” and at that time, a full set would take me nearly all day!
Even still, my interest wasn’t deterred. Instead of getting frustrated, I leaned into the process, dissecting what seemed to be working for me and what wasn’t so much.
Amongst my search for more videos online to help me learn, I found Suzie’s library of educational nail videos on YouTube. These really helped me understand everything because of how in depth she goes into every topic. Where some videos I’d find online were only ten minutes long, hers would be four times that. I found this so helpful in allowing me to absorb all the information at a natural pace. Without any time pressure, every detail and step can be covered and there are no misunderstandings.
I continued to practice. I followed along with my favourite tutorials and then I took my knowledge out “into the field,” using my two sisters and my mum as models when I could. I practiced nearly every weekend on them and on nail tips during the week and it started to really pay off. Through my trials, I learned my errors, which was vital intel. I discovered how important nail structure was when my nails would snap. I realized that I was not forming my nails high enough on the stress point, and that they were too thick on the free edge. I have to say, it is better to practice one hundred times for every one set you actually do on someone than to only practice once for every one hundred sets. My first tries were misses. But, with every attempt, they turned out better each time. And more importantly, I would understand more clearly what I was doing wrong.
Not only did I learn to hone my own skill, but I also learned about how to work with different products. At the beginning, I was using a really runny base coat. After I would paint all five nails on a hand, I’d go back to check the first one I painted to find that the cuticle would already be floated! Which was so frustrating because I took my time painting all of them, wanting to get as close to the cuticle as possible. When I realized that the base coat was the issue, it was an easy fix, and I was able to get the result I wanted.
I’ve been doing nails for two years now, and I have already learned so much! I’m eighteen now and this time that I’ve taken to learn nails has showed me how endless the possibilities are. From different nail art and styles to new products and trends… This hobby has become a life goal for me. I’m sure that this is what I want to do for my future.
If it wasn’t for finding nail tutorials on YouTube, I’m not positive that I could say I’d be where I am today. I was able to follow my own whim and start learning for free, before I even knew I enjoyed doing it.
I know now that nails is my passion. And even though I have improved my skills a lot since I started, I know that I will also never stop learning.
Mateusz is a passionate nail tech in the making. Currently in high school, Mateusz is learning the trade one step at a time through YouTube. After graduation, he wants to become a qualified nail technician and one day, he hopes to own his own nail salon. Mateusz lives in a small town in the South of Poland.
Whether you struggle with anxiety or not, starting a new job, going back to school or even beginning a new course can be nerve-racking. For those who already suffer from anxiety, it is that much more stressful. While you may not be able to simply will the worry away, there are things you can do to minimize its effect and prevent it from taking over.
Here are some ways to help keep your anxiety under control.
Be an advocate for yourself! Speak to your boss or teacher beforehand privately to let them know of your situation. Let them know what you may have to deal with during a shift or class. For instance, you may need to excuse yourself for a quick break to recoup. Having your boss or instructor aware of this will lessen alarm for them and ease stress for you.
Find what grounds you. This might be meditation, prayer or breathing/grounding exercises. On your first day at school or on the job you may have to do them fifty times, but with continual practice, you’ll find yourself needing to implement them less and less frequently.
Take ownership and responsibility for your well being. The only person in charge of your life and your health is YOU! While it is okay to accept others’ help if they offer it, don’t assume that they will or that they should. You’ll find accepting full accountability for yourself is empowering!
Remember that you are not alone. So many people struggle with this to varying degrees. You’re not weak. You are human. Just like so many other people out there.
“Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” (Bernard Baruch) If you do decide to tell your boss or teacher about your anxiety, imagining what they might think of you can be a scary thought. Will they see you differently? Will they think you’re weak or an inconvenience? While this is possible, so is their kindness and support. A good boss or educator wants to see you succeed, because in turn that means that they’ve succeeded. If this isn’t the case and you’ve shown them your determination and hard work, then perhaps you need to consider if they are someone you want to invest your time in or not.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Regardless of the obstacles you face, if you’re willing to put in the work then you can overcome more than you could ever imagine. It may take you a bit longer, but that’s okay. If you’re taking a class or working a job that you’re passionate about, lean into that; it is your strength! You still may need to sacrifice your comfort in order to see the other side, but the discomfort is a temporary price to pay for the lasting reward of conquering your fears and achieving your goals.
Genevieve is a new nail technician beginning to build her home business, Aesthetics by Genevieve Kelly. She is currently based in Victoria, BC, Canada
Do you want to show your nails that you really care? Sure, you take the time to keep them clean and you dress them nicely, but there are other ways to show your nails that you want the best for them- so that they can grow to be healthy and strong! As a scientist, I’ve spent decades studying natural nails and nail products, so I have a unique perspective that I can share.
Here are four ways to help nurture your nails!
Never pick, peel, pry or scrape anything from the nail plate. Many people’s nails are damaged by improper removal of nail polish or artificial nail coatings. Yet, this damage is easily avoided when the products are carefully applied and carefully removed. Improper removal causes most of the damage to nail plates and takes many forms. It often starts as picking at a coating and slowly advances into peeling. Before you know it, you’re prying or even scraping! Overly aggressive removal techniques often result in nail surface damage. Scientifically speaking, this is when groups of nail cells on the top surface of the nail plate are forcibly dislodged and a “roughness” is created. If the cells are entirely pulled away, tiny “pits” form. In early stages, this type of surface damage is often mistaken for “dryness,” but don’t be fooled! Such nails are not dry, they are damaged. If this damage continues, the small spots congregate which leads to increasingly larger white spots. People often think this is from nail dehydration, but it isn’t. Fortunately, these surface spots are easy to avoid by taking proper care when removing nail coatings. To do so, never rush or force the removal process. Take the time that’s necessary and always use proper care and caution. If you respect your nails, they’ll serve you better!
Never over-file the nail plate. Less is best when it comes to using files and buffers. Even the finest grit nail file or the smoothest buffer will remove surface nail cells. Files and buffers work by being coated with abrasives that wear away the surface of the nail plate through the friction of filing to reduce its thickness. Depending on the materials used, some work more aggressively than others. A general rule of thumb is: the more course the file or buffer, the more nail damage and thinning it can cause. It’s important to know that by applying more of a downward pressure, any nail file or buffer can cause nail plate thinning or can even friction burn the nail bed causing onycholysis (separation of the nail plate from the nail bed). The thinner the nail plate is, the weaker and more likely it is to split, chip or break. Polish and other artificial nail coatings will adhere better to thicker nail plates than they will to thin or overly flexible nail plates. As the old saying goes, “You can’t build a strong house on a weak foundation.” So, an important element of nail health and your nails’ ability to wear nail polish and coatings is to keep your nail plates as thick as possible!
Never cut the skin around the nail plate. Cutting or trimming the skin that’s around the nail plate is asking for trouble. Why? Despite what some have concluded, the cuticle is dead tissue that has been bonded onto the nail plate. Found at the base of the nail plate however, the “proximal nail fold,” is living skin that includes hardened tissue caused by any previous cutting or trimming, as doing this causes the skin to grow back thicker and become harder. We take our hands everywhere with us and we get them into all sorts of things. Any cuts or abrasions caused to the proximal nail fold make this area highly susceptible to any infections that our hands are exposed to. The infection risk lasts until the damage has healed, which can range from several hours to several days. During this time, bacterial or viral infections are an increased risk. The more serious of these types of infections can lead to large medical bills and expensive hospital stays. In the worst cases, the infections spreads to the bone and result in amputation of the finger or even of the entire hand. So, needless to say, NEVER intentionally cut or abrade the skin around the nail plate. It’s a safety issue. If a loose tag of skin peels away from the proximal nail fold (aka a hangnail), trim it very carefully to avoid any tearing of the living skin. If the area becomes damaged, watch it carefully and keep it clean, dry and protected until it heals.
Always use a penetrating nail oil. Regular use of a penetrating oil product that is specifically designed for nails will provide important benefits to both the nail plate and the surrounding skin. This means, fewer hangnails! Nail oil ingredients that are referred to as “cosmetic grade,” are refined to contain only smaller molecules that are better able to penetrate into the nail plate because they are able to absorb and slip between the layers of nail cells to internally lubricate them. This allows the various layers to slide, bend and flex more readily. Why is this important? Such nail plates are better able to resist impacts and defend themselves against microscopic cracking that lead to visible breaks. The refining process also removes waxy substances made from molecules that are too large to penetrate. How do you know if a nail oil is “penetrating”? Rub some on the inside of your wrist. If the oil won’t absorb into the skin quickly, it’s unlikely to absorb into the nail plate. Apply penetrating nail oils daily to keep your nails stronger and more flexible while improving the condition of the surrounding skin.
If you use these tips to nurture and show your nails respect, they will be there for you when you need them and they’ll always make you proud! To learn more about how your nails work and more ways to keep them happy, read my books!
Doug is an internationally recognized research scientist, author and educator with over thirty years experience in the cosmetic, beauty and personal care industry. He has been awarded seventeen patents for innovative cosmetic products and frequently serves as an expert witness in legal cases involving cosmetic products and services. He is the author of many books, including the three volume book series “Face-to-Face with Doug Schoon” where he answers questions from nail technicians from around the world. Doug currently resides in Dana Point, California.
Show your hands love with this self acupressure massage that treats your arms and hands in just minutes a day! This massage will relax muscle tension and improve flexibility and dexterity in your fingers, which is so important for the fine, detailed work of nail technicians. As well, it will improve your technique overall and support the longevity of your nail career!
This treatment targets the extrinsic muscles in your forearms that are responsible for the movement of your wrists, hands and fingers as well as the intrinsic muscles in your hands that are responsible for gripping and skilled movements. (Very important for holding your client’s hand in place as you create your masterpiece!)
Use this self acupressure massage daily to keep your hands happy and healthy, relax your mind and find your zen.
Self Acupressure Massage
First, center yourself. Take in a nice deep breath and allow your whole body to relax.
Next, warm up. With your right hand, gently squeeze your left arm starting just below your elbow and slowly move down your forearm, over your wrist and finish with a gentle hand squeeze.
Cradle your left arm, palm facing down. Relax your shoulders. Starting below the elbow, use your right thumb to apply a firm, but comfortable pressure to the extensors of your forearm. Use your thumb to apply this pressure to five points as you move down your forearm towards your wrist. Hold each point for three seconds.
Target muscles: Extensors of the forearm
Continue to cradle your left arm, but flip over your palm so that it is facing upwards. Relax your shoulders. Starting below the elbow, use your right thumb again, applying a firm but comfortable pressure to the flexors of your forearm. Repeat applying firm but comfortable pressure like before to five points as you move down your forearm to your wrist. Hold each point again, for three seconds. Target muscles: Flexors of the forearm.
Enhance this massage by using your fingers to apply pressure to the opposite side of your arm at the same time as your thumb is working. This will be doubly beneficial and your muscles will melt with joy!
Continue cradling your left arm, palm facing up. Use your right thumb to apply a comfortable pressure to your palm on the pinkie finger side of your hand. Apply comfortable pressure with your thumb three points, creating a line up your hand towards the base of your pinkie finger. Hold each point for three seconds.
Repeat this motion with your right thumb, applying comfortable pressure to the center of your palm. Apply this pressure to three points again, creating a line up your hand towards the base of your middle finger. Hold each point for three seconds.
Repeating this motion again with our right thumb again, but applying the pressure to your palm on the thumb side of your hand. Apply comfortable pressure with your thumb to three points, creating a line up towards the base of your index finger. Hold each point for three seconds.
Target muscles: Intrinsic muscles of the hand.
Enhance these massages by making small, circular motions with your right thumb while you apply pressure to each point.
Flip over your hand, so that your left palm is facing down again. Using your index finger and thumb of your right hand, gently massage each finger beginning at the base and ending at the fingertip. Start with your pinkie and treat each finger, ending with your thumb. Target muscles: There are no muscles in your fingers! Instead, you are massaging and relaxing the tendons in your fingers.
Enhance this technique by giving each finger a squeeze at the fingertip before you move on to the next one. This stimulates the meridians (the pathways along which the body’s vital energy flows according to the theory behind acupuncture) that end in your fingers.
Repeat steps 1-3, now with your right hand
Cool down: Bring your hands to a prayer position in front of your heart and give yourself a few words of self love in completion of this self acupressure massage. Namaste!
Pro tip: Keep your entire body relaxed throughout your self treatment. Check in with your breath; take slow deep breaths into your abdomen to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. This practice will calm your whole being!
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 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.
Many of my viewers on YouTube have asked me how I style my hair. So, I thought, why not show you? Here’s my go-to hair care and styling routine!
My overall hair care begins with an excellent colour and cut by my favourite hairdresser Michelle. We live in the same neighborhood and both have kids the same age. We’ve been gabbing industry gossip and chatting about our kids’ journeys for the past twenty years! Needless to say, we don’t even need to discuss what I want done, she just knows.
Next, I blowdry my hair. Normal, right? Except, I do it upside down! My hair really has problems holding volume, so blow drying it upside down helps add lots of body. I dry it starting from the root and work my way out. I try to only use the hottest setting on the roots and dry the majority of my hair on a lower heat. This helps keep heat damage to a minimum.
I curl three rows of hair on the top front of my head using one of the bigger curling rollers so that it curls the full length of my hair there. Then, I curl three rows down both sides of my face all rolling under and add three more down the back. I use a smaller roller for the top back roll as it’s the longest piece of my hair and doesn’t hold a big curl for long. As for the very front where my bang is, I make a decision on the spot whether I’m going to roll it under or over. It honestly just depends on my mood that day!
I don’t need to leave the rollers in my hair for too long, as my hair actually curls well- it just doesn’t hold the curl for very long. I usually apply all of my makeup before it’s time to take the hot rollers out. Sometimes though, like in summer time when it’s already hot, I will take them out earlier and leave my makeup till after. Also, if I’m taking a bit longer with my makeup for whatever reason, I will remove the roller for my bang, so that it stays on the loose side.
Once I am finished with my makeup, I will usually then pull all of the rollers out.
At first, the curls look tight, but once I comb my fingers through them, they loosen (as is the nature of my hair). I comb carefully with only my fingers to keep each individual curl intact. If I comb too much my hair will turn into one big puff!
Because of the type of haircut I have, which is a long, loosely layered cut, my hair at this point pretty much just falls into place. My hairstyle is very forgiving, so it doesn’t really matter where it falls.
One of the last things I do is actually a slight back comb at the crown of my head. I grab a small piece of hair at the top back of my head and use a comb to quickly brush towards myself. This gives my hair a voluminous shape and adds some height. I’m only five feet tall, so a little height is OK! I don’t overdo it as I don’t want it to be too much of a mess back there.
Finally, I finish it all off with a good amount of hairspray or otherwise, if I don’t, my hair will immediately fall and flatten! Enough hairspray will hold it together for at least a video shoot or an evening out.
And there you have it!
My hair will stay wavy enough for the next day. I don’t wash my hair every single day as that tends to dry it out- especially given that I blowdry it after. I’ve even filmed YouTube videos without styling it that day and it still looks pretty good. At least, no one has said anything (hehe)!
As a mom of two busy boys, a business owner and a globally travelling educator for OPI, I am often asked, “how do you do it?!” And honestly, I’ve never really had a good answer! Some days, I feel like it’s all too much and I should give up on one my kids JOBS- I mean jobs! And then other days, I feel like Superwoman! Ready to leap tall buildings in a single bound! I think the key is to remember the superhero days on the days when I feel like I’m failing. And that the villains (my bad days) never really win. If you are a wife, a mother, a nail tech and/or an educator, or even all of the above- or if you’re thinking of adding any of those former titles to your resume and you’re not sure if you can do it, I’m here to tell you, YES YOU CAN, and offer you a tiny bit of advice based on my own experiences.
Find your people!
First, it goes without saying that I don’t do it all without a little help. Okay, a LOT of help! It’s kind of like the Avengers. Listen to all of these superhero references. Have I mentioned that I have two boys? Sure, I am strong by myself, but the hardest battles are won with many allies. I have an amazing support system that starts with my husband Brian, who works from home so that he can watch the kids on the days I’m flying across the world to teach. It continues with my extremely understanding clients who respect what I’m trying to achieve as a mother and a businesswoman and working for a company who has never failed to offer whatever support they can so that we can all meet our goals. And it’s completed with friends, colleagues and even other nail technicians online, who continue to offer support and encouragement to a fellow tech/mother/educator. Surround yourself with people who understand and respect your goals, and don’t forget to support them in theirs too.
Don’t get on that guilt train!
Secondly, and really, it’s just the opposite of the first point- DON’T hang out with people who don’t “get it.” And DON’T give into the guilt and/or the mom shaming! Don’t guilt yourself for following your dreams and striving for your goals and don’t let others guilt you, because believe me- they will. Sometimes, they do it on purpose, but mostly they just don’t realize what they’re saying sounds like. Off-handed comments like, “You work so much- when do you see your family?” and “But what does your husband think about you traveling?” or “It must upset your kids when you’re gone,” could all be well intentioned, but they plant little guilt seeds that have the capability to grow rapidly if you let them. I travelled for work after my second son was born. He was three months old and I was away for ten days. I can’t count how many “well meaning” comments I got about leaving him with my husband for that long when he was that young. But, they both survived and got in lots of daddy/baby bonding, I lead my first team training as a global educator, I got to check visiting New Orleans off of my bucket list and when I cam home, I snuggled him right away and didn’t put him down for 24 hours after. Now, he is three and a half years old, is very well adjusted to my traveling and is a sweet little momma’s boy through and through! Remember, kids are resilient, and they already believe you’re like a superhero. So, why not show them that it’s true?!
Work on your balancing act!
Lastly, but not least by any means, is TIME MANAGEMENT, aka work/life balance. I have a home salon, so let me tell you that even with the best intentions, I have found myself feeling guilty for spending too much time in my studio and not enough time with my family. Or too much time with the family and then not enough time in the studio. With an in-home salon, it’s so easy to fudge hours. If I finish my clients early, I can run upstairs and help my husband put the boys to bed, leaving my salon a disaster. On the flip side, while working on special projects for OPI or for my social media, I’ll promise my family that I’ll only be an hour, but when I finally surface from the acrylic dust cloud, I realise it’s been four! To stop that guilt train yet again and even out both parts of my life, I implemented specific salon hours for my clients and certain hours for extra nail projects. No more fudging! This way, my family knows when to expect me and I also have enough time to clean up and organize my clients as well as work on or finish up a special project. Now... in a perfect world, I would tell you this works 100% of the time. BUT, as I’m writing this, “special project,” I have my three and a half year old colouring beside me, causing me to break from writing this article every ten minutes because we are in the middle of some very serious potty training. Set yourself some parameters, but remember that doing what you need to do to achieve a goal is OK! You may wobble a bit to one side sometimes, but just focus back on your direction and you’ll find you center again.
After everything’s said and done, above all, believe in yourself and go after your dreams and goals- whatever they may be! Remember to fight those bad days with the memories of your super days (Cape and lasso optional).
Chelsea Baart is a mother of two, owner of Chelsea’s Nails in Brentwood Bay, BC, Canada and the only Canadian OPI Global Artist out of three. Chelsea has been a nail technician since 2002 and an educator since 2012. As well as being published in numerous trade magazines including Nails Magazine, NailPro Magazine and the OPI Blog the Drop, she has been awarded the Canada Nail Cup second place for mixed media in 2015 and was named OPI’s 2017 Connect Social Media winner.
Extreme nail art is a true passion of mine. Each set of hands holds ten tiny canvases waiting to see how I can push their limits. It’s my kind of challenge.
I wasn’t always a lover of nails or of nail art. Believe it or not, I used to be a nail tech who actually hated doing nails. Back then, I was doing square white French acrylic sets day in and day out. The monotony of working on the same design over and over again was just not something I could handle. With the way it was going, I could have never held onto nails as a career. In those days, doing nails was very much a hobby. Nothing more, nothing less.
That all changed though, when several years ago I was visiting my regular beauty supply store to pick up the usual gel line that I worked with and came to find that they had ran out of it. At first, this just stressed me out. Choosing a new product was not at all what I had in mind. I just wanted to pick up what I needed and get on with my day. I’m not particularly someone who likes much change, so initially, I saw this as an annoyance. Nevertheless, I asked one of the staff members for their help. Little did I know that I was pointed over to a product that would change my relationship with nails forever.
I came home that day with a huge bag of products. A bag with more than a dozen gels, wipes, cleansers, forms, brushes as well as some tools that I had no idea what to even do with! Luckily, it all came with a DVD explaining how to use everything.
As I said before, I love pushing the limits. Tell me something can’t be done and I’m on a mission to prove otherwise. Up to that point, I thought nails could only be done a couple ways: colour on top of your builder or French. Unpacking that bag and beginning to learn about the products and tools I had just bought, I was uncovering a world of nails I had no idea existed. Colour everywhere in between your builder; in, on and under the nail! Layers upon layers of colour, builder gel, sparkles, gears, plants, ribbon, lace… It was more than I could have ever imagined!
The product I brought home that day was Fuzion Gel. They were then and are still now known for encapsulating nail art within multiple layers of the nail. We often think of nail art as hand painting or using decals and stamps on top of a built nail. While these are great tools to utilize, they are not all that we have or all that we can do. With encapsulating we can think so much further outside of the box. Stamps go on top of the nail, right? Yes, but you can also stamp on layers throughout the nail! Same goes for hand painting. I often begin an encapsulated design with art directly on top of the base coat of the nail. This adds dimension and pulls the eye into the nail, instead of simply seeing what’s on top. It’s like looking inside of a snowglobe! After that, I’ll typically add something that’s not normally meant for nail art that I’ve repurposed. Like, watch parts or gears. I used to find watches at second hand stores and disassemble them for their parts, using their bits and pieces to create my all time favourite and now signature styles, “steampunk.” Steampunk is a style you’ll not only see on my nails but also throughout my home and in my life. A big part of what I love about doing nails now is that I can express myself and my creativity through my designs. Nowadays, nail techs have parts like these to use for their nail art readily available to them. Items that look repurposed, but are specifically designed for nails can be bought at many beauty supply stores. Continuing my design, I add more art around my encapsulated item. I also use lots of “little nothings,” things that are just for art-sake. A line here, a tiny stamp there. And then to add that final layer of dimension, I include embellishments on top of or under the nail, such as jewelry pieces or crystals.
Steampunk is a prime example of extreme nail art. Steampunk itself is all about pushing the imagination and using things in an alternative fashion to how they were originally meant to be used.
With extreme nail art, just as with building French acrylics or gel nails in the first place, there are guidelines we must follow in terms of the chemistry and structure of the nail. You do not want to do something you’re unsure of on a client’s nails and hope for the best. Understanding how your product works is paramount. Being a self-proclaimed science junkie, I love and need to know the hows and whys to everything! This combined with the ability to break things down into a logical sequence has served me well in the nail industry. The first step to any type of extreme nail art is knowing your product’s chemistry. And then, you can experiment with bending the rules without breaking them. In every nail art class that I teach I tell my students, “The only rule for nail art is that there are no rules for nail art.” While there are rules we must follow to maintain the nail’s chemistry and structure, beyond that, the sky’s the limit.
If I’m not making a mess at my nail table, I’m not having fun!
Our industry is changing and we are the ones changing it. When we push the boundaries of what we can do creatively, we discover new and exciting ways of doing things that result in extraordinary pieces of art! For me, the simple happenstance of having to switch products years ago led to an entirely new path beginning my love affair with nails. While the white French nail remains classic and beautiful, it’s just simply not my design of choice. The true beauty and enjoyment of nails and of nail art is being able to explore and develop your own style that inspires you. When you can find a design or technique or even just a part of the process that excites you, that’s when your love affair can begin.
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.
“Initially, I just needed a job to pay the bills. But when I became a nail technician, I had no idea how positively my clients would affect me and my life. I share this feeling with many other nail techs and also clients… This is how we feel!”
Love from Nail Techs
“My clients inspire me to be creative and validate the love that I have for my career everyday.”
“I love that my clients share their lives with me.”
“I love my clients because of what they teach me. I have learned more patience, resilience and compassion since becoming a nail tech.”
“I love the sense of pride I feel being able to provide a pampering service for my clients; one that enables them to share a piece of their intimate life stories with me.”
“I love my clients because they have demonstrated the significance of loyalty. Not only do I appreciate their business, but also their unconditional support towards me and my work. It is truly empowering.”
“I love my clients because I have a special relationship with each and every one of them. I’ve gone through so much with some clients that they’ve become like family.”
“I love my clients… I know when it comes to their nails, they could go any place on earth, and they choose to come to me to spend their time and money to get John nails!”
“I love my clients because they push me to be a better nail tech everyday.”
“They are all teaching me everyday to be compassionate… They are all so different and from every walk of life. Yet, in my tiny studio, sitting across from each one and holding their hands, we are all the same.”
“They can be so honest and open about their lives. They can give you the greatest advice from all things in life- no matter what the age.”
“They are more than just my clients. They are my friends… and most honest critics. They help me make Fuzion and my own skills the best they can be.”
“[My clients] make me feel very special and important. They really appreciate my work and always support me about everything.”
“I love every single one of my clients! They walk in as strangers, leave as friends and return as part of my nail family.”
“[My clients] became like family. I spent more quality one on one time with them than I did my best friends. They came in every three weeks like clockwork and spent two hours with me! Visiting, sharing and laughing… or crying!”
“I love getting to know each of them. I am always excited when they come back and tell me about a goal or achievement they have accomplished between appointments.”
“I have been through their best times and worst times with them and they, with me. Ultimately, I love [my clients] because they start coming because they love what I can do for them. But, they keep coming year after year because we enjoy our time together.”
“They make my world go around! They open their hearts to let me in… They fill my day with purpose and give me an opportunity to make them happy… When I make a suggestion, the first thing they say is, ‘I trust you. Do whatever you think is best.”
“I like how you can connect with a complete stranger over a mutual love for beauty and art. Many of my favourite clients connected with me over their passion for personal expression, which then opened up their whole life and heart. It’s fascinating to connect with another human being so deeply over something that is usually considered superficial: beauty.”
Love from Nail Clients
“It’s like coming to see a friend. It’s a treat! She’s so easy to talk to and makes me feel like a million!”
“I love my nail tech because we always have great conversations and her skill and creativity leave me feeling polished and glamorous.”
“On top of the talented service I get, I am not plus two amazing ladies in my life that I genuinely enjoy sharing and gaining life lessons with.”
“Sitting down with my nail tech is like visiting with a friend. It’s taking the time out of my busy schedule to do something for myself. There is always laughing and catching up and when we are finished, she has created a look to make me feel pretty and feminine and ready to conquer everyday life again!”
“She always makes me laugh and feel great about coming in the door… Always smiling and witty. Love my time with her!”
“I was actually [my tech’s] model [originally]. I ended up liking them, so I kept coming back… It’s always relaxing.”
“She makes me feel like she wants my nails to be done to the perfection of how she would like her nails done… She is very welcoming and not only talks about my personal life, but opens her heart to me. It’s nice to feel respected and trusted.”
“Suzie: stopping my nail biting since 2016, one laugh at a time.”
“My daughter and I love getting our nails done. I was trained by Suzie years ago, but it’s such a treat to have her do them! Just having my nails makes me feel so feminine and put together.”
“She is always super friendly and reliable. She is also always very knowledgeable about designs and colours that are in for the time of year.”
“We make the drive out to see Elizabeth because my girls love her!”
“I love getting my nails done because I LOVE getting up in the morning and no matter what I’m doing that day, I can throw my clothes on and feel I have a polished look.”
“[My tech] always has such a friendly, warm personality. It makes the appointment such a relaxing experience.”