I began a group called Pro Nail Tech Training on Facebook to basically do a brain dump of my 15+ years of nail knowledge. That group is more like a blog but without many of the features a true blog has, so I have decided to go ahead and transfer the info to this blog and make the FB group a forum, as most groups are on FB.
Here is my nail story - I encourage everyone to share theirs as well!
I was a nail biter until the age of 14. I hated how my hands looked but biting my nails as such a habit I never thought I would stop. I remember using melted candle wax to fashion nails to stick to my own and painting them red. Needless to say they did not last long! I also remember walking to Woolworth's and buying Lee Press on Nails for $1.99 with my babysitting money. Those adhesive "tabs" they had were terrible and they would fall off almost as soon as you put them on.
So, at the age of 14, somehow I stopped biting my nails. Prior to that, my parents had tried the no-bite nail polish, which never worked (and I found could be washed off anyway). As for how I stopped biting, I really don't know! I just...stopped. It was around that time my mom also bought me my first nail art stickers, which were from Avon and has little bows and stuff to make your nails look like gifts. They were cute but I tended to scrape them off because I could feel them on my nails.
Within a few years I had discovered artificial nails. The first time I had my nails done, I had tips and fiberglass wraps applied. I watched the technician like a hawk....it was so cool watching her create something from nothing. After a couple of fills I asked her about Acrylic nails, which I had read about somewhere. The technician hemmed and hawed and told me that they were really thick, like 5 layers of fiberglass. I could tell she didn't want to do or like to do acrylic nails. I stopped seeing her and decided to do my own. I'm pretty sure I was a senior in high school at this time (age 17 or 18).
After high school I went to college. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life but everyone told me "after high school you go to college"...so I did. I was also working 30+ hours a week and I would go home and do my nails to relax.
Then I got pregnant. I was 22 years old, still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and would soon have a baby to take care of. So I declared a major in computer science. After my baby was born I knew I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life but I would do my nails to relax and nail school is only 3 months......
So I dropped out of college and went to nail school. And I soaked up every bit of information I could find. After graduation, I spent a week in Minneapolis at the Nail Tech Mentoring Institute where I learned so much more and became certified in using an electric nail file. I bought every book and went to every class I could find having to do with nails. I spent a week on the Nail Tech Cruise with Vicki Peters and took a class from Tom Holcomb. I dabbled in competing and moved to the "Big City" (Minneapolis) and spent several years teaching in a beauty school, hoping to share all teh knowledge I had gleaned.
At this point, I started to become disillusioned. Nail Techs are the "annoying little sister" in the beauty industry. Finding good classes and trade shows that didn't focus on hair was hard and expensive. There was a rise in discount and non-standard nail salons (aka "chop shops") and clients started assuming the whole industry was like this. Prices started going down and people were not attending nail school and I was laid off. I went on the manage a great day spa but my disenchantment was growing along with the pain in my shoulder. I was getting tired of trying to educate clients, one of whom actually said to me "I know that that discount salon is not clean but they are fast and they are cheap." Apparently heath wasn't important anymore. And with discount salons driving down prices, I couldn't afford to pay bills.
I went back to college and got a degree in Business and Information Technology. And after doing nails for 8 years, I stopped.
But... I kept up my licenses (I'm licensed in 2 states). And I still do my own nails and my daughter's and occasionally friends. And I still love the industry.
What prompted me to start this blog was the fact that I still see so much misinformation out there. I have always been someone who loves to share knowledge and someone who is very by-the-book and who is enthralled by the science. So that is my motivation - to help others and hopefully, one tech at a time, spread the word that this amazing, fun industry is NOT all about bad sanitation and damaged nails. It is about the people, the art and the science of making a person's hands look the way they have always wanted them to look.
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