Monday, October 13, 2014

Another Incorrect Article...

Take a look at this article, then disregard about a third of it... Seriously?!?! Who writes this stuff? Obviously not a nail tech! Ok, point by point, let's go through this:

1. This one is correct, if you use a nail polish remover without hydrating oils in them... Hydrating polish removers are great for removing polish, but not so great for prepping your nails to apply it. You're better off, however, using a nail prep product. There are plenty out there; my favorite is CND's Scrub Fresh. However, the cheapest/easiest one for DIYers is, in my opinion, simple 70% isopropyl alcohol.
2. I don't like the way this one's worded. Many people either overdo it with the buffer, or don't use one at all. Overdoing it can seriously thin out your nail (you're not actually buffing off ridges; long complicated explanation short - you don't have ridges, you actually have thinner grooves, and by buffing too agressively, are buffing your nails down to match those grooves, making your nail plate thinner & weaker). If you don't buff at all, your product could chip earlier. What you should be doing is buffing (or very lightly filing - with a 240g or higher file or buffer) any peeling nail, and the free edge to remove loose nail bits. This, done BEFORE using a nail prep, will really help.
3. Yes, thin coats are best.
4. Yes, glitter lasts longer than creams.
5. Yes, use a top coat (except with those rare polishes that don't require one, like the textured polishes). This article also says to apply it while your polish is still wet. For the most part, this is true, but again, there are exceptions.
6. Yes, nail hardener... make sure you apply at least one FULL day later, though. Your polish must be completely dry; the solvents in polish need a full 24h to do this (except quick-dries, like CND's Vinylux).
7. Yes, wear gloves; protect those nails!

ALSO -- USE BASE COAT (not sure why this isn't mentioned in this article; again, there are some exceptions, like CND's Vinylux).

This article fails to mention the use of cuticle oil. I cannot emphasize this one enough; use it use it use it! And, keep lotions OFF your nails.

For even more good information, read my other blog post about this stuff - HERE.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Artistic Nail Design -- Review

I have now had a chance to try, use, test Artistic Nail Design's LED-cured hard/traditional gel, Rock Hard. I've got to say... I LOVE IT! I'm hoping I can switch all my traditional UV-cured gel clients over to this brand, to cut down on my times... All guinea pigs had the same initial process -- Prepped, applied gel, shaped; all according to instruction. Applied gel polish & art over top (also according to instruction).

Test Subject 1 - My daughter, age 14y: She loved how quickly we were done with her appt; took just about 2 hours to do a full set w/tips (I had removed her other set of gels two days prior) with some simple artwork; saved about an hour. She currently has no lifting, and only broke one nail two days ago; I'm doing her rebalance later today.

Test Subject 2 - SF, mom of 6yo twins: She, too, loves the speed of appts. She was previously wearing CND's Sculpting gel (soak off builder gel), and we had skipped one appt. So, this time was four weeks later and she had lost all but two nails, which I had fully expected & was hoping for. I had to remove those two (e-file as thin as possible, then wrap with remover on a foil wrap; took about 10m), then just did an overlay (no tips), gel polish, and glitter. Her appt took 1 1/2 hours; saved 1/2 hour... but that's including the removal. Her rebalance was last Tuesday; she had very little lifting and had not lost any nails (typically, she loses two each time).

Test Subject 3 - Myself, nail tech and mom of 14yo: I took off my previous nails (I was wearing CND's traditional hard Brisa gel on my left hand and CND's soak off gel Brisa Lite Sculpting on my right hand) two days prior, and gave myself a super-hydrating manicure. It always takes me longer to do my own nails than it does for me to do other people's; simply because I can only work on one hand at a time. Typically (with UV-cured gel), it takes me about 4 hours to do both hands. With this gel, because it's LED-cured, I did both hands in just under 2 1/2 hours. Had to do my rebalance over two different days because I was occupied with my young nieces last weekend, but when I did, I had one broken one (my "problem" fingernail; I busted it in a slammed car door years ago, and it's been a problem ever since).

Obviously, exact time for each client's appointment will vary. It depends on many factors, like how bad your cuticles are, how many (if any) are broken or off, which brand of gel polish you choose (CND Shellac still cures *ONLY* in the traditional UV lamp), and what (if any) artwork you want done. However, on average, I'm estimating 2 hours for a full set with tips (starts at $60), 1 1/2 hours for an overlay (starts at $40), 1 1/2 hours for a rebalance (also starts at $40). Add 15 minutes or so for gel polish (+$10) & glitter/artwork (price varies).

*Note* -- when using Artistic Colour Gloss over Artistic Nail Design's gel, there is no need to apply the hard gel sealer ("Headliner"); you can apply the gel to your preferred thickness, wipe, shape, wipe again, and go right into your gel polish color application. If you're using a different brand of gel polish, I highly suggest using the gel top coat, dry-wiping, then applying your color. When using traditional polish, apply the gel top coat, dry-wipe, then apply your color. I don't know the "why", other than AND's products are all formulated to work together; if you try to use another brand's color over the enhancement products, you need to finish the process, so you're not mixing product lines, which could cause sensitivities or even allergies down the road.

Just as an FYI, Artistic also makes two soak-off/soft gels, both under the "Correction Gel" product line name. The one in the bottle (brush on) is meant as a thin layer of strength under gel polish. I've used this one on a couple of clients who had some trouble getting their gel polish to last the full two weeks; works great. Add $5 to your regular gel polish appointment, an additional 30s in the lamp for this layer, and an additional 3-5m for soak off at each appointment. The one in the jar (uses a separate brush) is meant as a builder gel (thicker, but not for long lengths). I've used this one on myself and hope to switch over clients who are currently using the other brand of soft builder gel that I carry. The cost for this service is the same as traditional/hard gel (see above paragraph), add 30s in the lamp per layer, and double the soak off time (since this is meant as a builder, rebalance at each appt is recommended, but soak off down the road is not difficult or time-consuming).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

21 Things About Polishing Your Nails...

The original article by Cosmo Mag can be found here... but there are a few tweaks that I, a professional nail tech, would like to point out/make:
**First -- the title. You do not "paint" your nails, you "polish" them. Yes, technically, paint in a can and polish in a bottle are both a type of lacquer... but they are different. You wouldn't use your polish in a bottle to paint your house or vice versa, would you? No.
1. Yes, three strokes *is* best, but don't worry if you don't get it in three... heck, sometimes it takes me five. As long as the polish is still liquid-y enough to work with without it streaking, it's fine. Also, you'll want two-three coats of color (more on that in #9).
2. There are a few exceptions... VERY few! CND's Vinylux is one of them; no base coat needed (but it won't hurt to use one, either). Darker colors ESPECIALLY need a base coat, or you're going to end up with stained nail plates.
3. Great advice. I also love these pointed Q-tips (other brands make them, as well).
4. Yes. White, especially bright white, is one of the most PITA colors you'll ever deal with... but if you can find the right shade and apply it well, hats off to you! :)
5. The only quick-dry polish you should be using is Top Coat (it'll help dry your polish faster) or when stamping; they're perfect for that.
6. YES YES YES!!! Cuticle oil also comes in drop form, if you are worried about brush strokes on your fresh manicure. However, you cannot apply it too much. I recommend twice a day; more if your hands are in water and you're not wearing gloves (WEAR GLOVES! -- more on that in #16).
7. No. Just don't do this. Trust me. Polish dries by evaporation; dunking them in cold water does NOTHING to speed up that process. I *do* suggest drying drops, though (also comes in a spray form); my go-to is Drip Dry by OPI).
8. Yes, do this... this is good advice. Try for a full-coverage one-coater white, if you can find one.
9. Yup, this is great advice, too. Thick layers take way to long to dry.
10. It does help polish to last longer by keeping it in a cool, dark (away from sunlight, lamps, heaters, etc) place... *but* refrigerating them isn't good for them. IF you want to keep them in the fridge, fine, but make sure you take them out and let them warm to room temp before using them. Honestly, a better idea is to find a shelf or cabinet somewhere (bathroom, closet, etc).
11. Yes. Make sure you're not using more than a couple drops at a time, and do not ever substitute polish REMOVER; that will ruin your polish in a hurry.
12. My advice for this one depends on WHEN you shake/roll your bottles. If you're like me, and do it before even starting your manicure, you can shake. The bubbles will rise to the top of the polish & pop themselves by the time you get to the polishing stage, so it's fine. If, however, you do it right before polishing, them definitely roll (a tip - roll UPSIDE DOWN).
13. This is one I find myself correcting all the time. Your cuticle is THE DEAD STUFF; ok to nip off. Your eponychium is the living, protective tissue, and you don't want to nip that at all. Great detailed article, with a perfect photo, here.
14. For the first part of this, reread #13. For the second part, using lotion is fine if (a) you have nothing on your nails, or (b) you avoid your nails. Unlike cuticle oil, which is made to work WITH polish, gel polish, and any enhancement you wear, lotions have oils that work AGAINST those things. Sure, it'll moisturize your hands, but it will also seep into & under your polish/enhancement and can contribute to lifting (which all of you know, or should know, could in turn contribute to those icky "greenies" -- a bacterial infection called pseudomonas; not mold and not a fungus, btw).
15. While generally good advice, there are some exceptions. Fine grit files and buffers (usually anything with a number 400g or higher) will actually seal the edge when you do this. Also, filing back & forth on an enhancement won't hurt them.
16. As I started to say in #7... really ANY water is "nail polish's natural born enemy", as water (no matter the temp) will be absorbed into the nail and could expand & contract said nail, causing your polish to crack and peel. My best advice is to wait a full day after polishing to shower, always wear gloves when doing dishes, gardening, etc, don't use your nails to open/pick at things, use your cuticle oil religiously, and avoid lotion on your nails.
17. No. Just don't. Please. Non-acetone remover has so much other crap in it, and it takes so long to remove anything. Acetone-based removers are truly best (see this article). If you have more questions on this one, you should direct them to Doug Schoon, scientist & knower of most things nails. :)
18. This is true.
19. Definitely true (although I laugh because #17 *just said* NOT to use acetone-based removers on your nails, and this one says *to* use it...).
20. No proof of anything of the sort; these are marketing schemes, designed to make you think that those polish brands that DON'T label themselves as "3free" (currently, there are some marketing themselves as "4free" and even "5free", as well) are less healthy for you. Your nail plates are dead. Whatever minute amount of things you're absorbing is not getting into your blood stream. Nail polish, unless swallowed in large quantities (or if you're incredibly allergic!), will not harm you. Just an FYI - nail polish *never* had Formaldehyde in them; they had Formaldehyde Resin (completely different chemical make-up). This article may explain better.
21. Yes, use a top coat... always... One exception - there are some polish brands out there making one-night, easy off polishes; meant for a night out or some other reason for temporary wear (for instance, OPI made one, released as part of the Gwen Stefani 2013 Holiday set, called "Push & Shove"... base coat, two coats of color, no top coat).

My last bit of advice, if you don't want to do your own nails, see a real Professional, please. Stop going to those shops of "iffy" reputation & practices. You can always check out a salon or tech to see about their qualifications before your appointment either by logging into, (there are many other companies have all techs who've taken classes by them, but not all -- for instance, I've taken two classes from Artistic Nail Design, but they don't have an online registry) or by checking in with your state board. You can also report anything you see inside a salon that you think is against state regs.