Thursday, December 1, 2016

Medical Leave

I know I don't update this blog very often, but I did have a reminder to my current & potential clients: I had surgery November 23rd and am on medical leave until December 15th (although I may return early). When I get back, I will have some new nail goodies to use on you and I currently have quite a few openings through the end of the year. If you want to keep tabs on my availability, see photos, and get nail-related updates & articles, feel free to "like" my FaceBook page, /artistryofthenailsalon. I post weekly availability every Monday at 10am and adjust/update once or twice each week as needed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Dear CND,

While I love the ability to do my CND SHELLAC re-CERTIFICATION online, I have a couple complaints.
* First, when sending out the email letting me know I could do it online, a breakdown/list of what will be required, tools to have on-hand, and an estimate of how much time is required would be fabulous. I did not know I would need to do a one-color application, a French application, and a removal; those things would have made it easier to accomplish in one sitting (although, I do appreciate that the system saves your work for up to three months).
* Second, do I or do I not get a new certificate with the new certification date on it? It has been over two weeks and I haven't gotten anything except a congratulatory email. If you're not sending out new certificates, can I at least get a sticker with the new date on it so I can update my framed certificate (& my clients can ooohhh and ahhhhh over it :) )?

Those things being said, I reiterate my appreciation that I can do this online, on my own time, and not have to wait for my local CND Educator (Tanya Sisson, btw) to have the time to do so in-salon. I also love that CND Shellac recertification retains my online "locator" on as well as the little gifts you send out occasionally.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Replacements, Round Two

To follow up on this post from the end of March, I've made some progress...

1. Scrub - I have *not* found a replacement, yet. But I have two medium-sized jars (I think they're 15oz?) of the CND one I like, so I have time to find a replacement before they're gone.
2. Lotion - A client of mine brought me doTerra samples a week ago. I put three drops of Lemon into about two shot glasses worth of the Body Drench lotion and it smells exactly like real lemons. I love the consistency of the lotion, but not the original scent, so I think this will do nicely! She added my lemon to her May order, so I should have it soon.
3. Cuticle Eliminator - I bought the Be Natural one (just the 2oz, though) and as soon as I run out of Cuticle Away, I will switch. If I like it, I'll keep it.
4. Remover - I did a test on all my clients for one week (including the one with sensitivities) using only Artistic's remover... no issues, so I bought a 32oz bottle, and will use that on those clients that don't like or can't use OPI's.
5. Nail Prep - I did the same one week test using Artistic's "Cleanse" instead of CND's Scrub Fresh, and it was fine. The smell was a little chlorine-like, but not enough to bother anyone. That will also be my replacement once I run out of Scrub Fresh.
6. Buffers - I bought five SAND TURTLES, and once all my Boomerangs are gone, I'll test those out. If they work, great (I can buy them in bulk). If they don't, Purifiles has half-size disposables I'll just buy in a bag.
7. Sanitizer - I'm almost out of Cool Blue, and did buy Swiss Guard. It's almost the exact same thing, so that'll work.

Still no confirmation on the bulb/lamp support; I'll report back when/if I get any...

Also, for those interested, I do have some CND stuff (brand new, never used, unopened) for sale -- lotions, cuticle oil, Cucumber Heel Therapy, and more. If you would like to take a look, see the album here, and PM me on Facebook. I have a PayPal account you can send payment to.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Ugh... More Misinformation, and my corrections!

If you see this article going around on your social media pages, please link this blog post/response... More misinformation being spread on the interwebs!

Ok, let me address each issue in order of appearance in the video:
1. Gel polish is not "healthier" than acrylic nails (or traditional gel nails or soak off gel nails, for that matter). They are all different products, which achieve different results. Please let me remind you (again) that products do not ruin your nails (unless you're allergic/sensitive and continue to use them), improper application, removal, and care for them *do*.
2. CND Shellac was *not* the "first brand of gel nail polish"... Gelish actually came first; it just wasn't marketed like CND Shellac was.
3. CND Shellac is not "the best", but I will agree that it is the fastest/easiest to soak off. HOWEVER, it does not have the same staying power as other brands of gel polish. It has a bend to it that other brands do not have; some people like that, some do not.
4. In the video at the 1m mark, you'll see the tech applying CND Shellac base coat (as they're talking about mixing products and it not lasting; side note -- layering different gel polishes is not why it didn't last on that woman... My guess? Her nails weren't properly prepped, the tech didn't cap her free edges on every layer, she didn't use her cuticle oil, and/or she picked at them)... He is applying that base coat WAY TOO THICK! CND Shellac base coat (& most others) don't need that much; just a thin layer!
5. He's partially right about proper lamp usage (although the reporter keeps saying "light"... she should be using the term "lamp"). You *should* make sure your tech is using the same brand of lamp as product, however, as long as it's a good quality lamp, the lamp is the correct UV wavelength for the product you're using, and you cure for the right amount of time for the product, it *should* cure (he says, "dry", but proper terminology is "cure") fine. If it doesn't, either the bulbs need to be switched out (UV bulbs lose power over time), the bulbs are not putting out the proper wavelength for your products, or the lamp being used is crap.
6. The reporter is also wrong about CND Shellac soak off time. She says, "... if it takes any longer than 5m to soak off..." While CND does sell a 5m soak off top coat for their Shellac, they also sell their original one. If your tech used the original one (some techs like the old formula better), you're still going to have an 8-12m soak off.
7. I have not tried using CND Shellac's base coat & top coat with other gel polish brands' colors, but I have used other brands' top & base coats with CND Shellac colors... The most successful one was Gelish, although Artistic Nail Design works well, too. Yes, the soak off is a few more minutes, but the staying power is SO MUCH BETTER!!!

And now, a few more from the actual article:
1. No, no two gel polishes are "the same", but most are fairly similar... Similar enough that you can, fairly successfully, layer (I don't use the term "mix" because technically, you're not) different brands. As long as each layer is properly cured, you shouldn't have any issues doing so.
2. Soak off for CND Shellac is not "five times faster"... it's 5m-12m, depending on which top coat your tech used (provided they actually used a real gel polish; this isn't taking into consideration the many many "techs" -- I use the word lightly -- who mix, literally, their own products and call it "shellac"; it's not).
3. CND Shellac is actually *not* the "most shiny"... I've tried multiple brands, and have actually found that HIGH SHINE, by Elegant Glass Nails, is the most shiny top coat (it actually doubles as a base coat, too) I've tried.
4. Yes, Shellac is more expensive -- 1/4oz bottle costs us pros $15.95. OPI's GelColor, by comparison, is $17.95 for 1/2oz. But, the cost of each product is not a reason we aren't correcting you. The reason we techs don't usually "correct" you when you say SHELLAC is because we've been yelled at too many times by clients/potential clients when they're making an appointment (because, obviously, that chop shop you went to before knows everything, and even though you're calling *me*, I don't know anything... sarcasm). It's easier to wait until you're actually *in* the salon, then explain some of the differences.
5. OPI's GelColor *used* to be easier to match with regular polish shades, because they made their GelColor in matching shades... CND got hip to this, and made Vinylux in shades matching their Shellac.
6. OPI GelColor actually has over 150 shades. CND Shellac currently has 96 shades in their collection (at least, according to their website). Artistic Nail Design's Colour Gloss has close to 150 shades. Gelish has close to 200. So, I'm not sure where he got the "...dozens of color options..." (talking about OPI) crap from.
7. Dehydration from acetone is temporary, and harmless! It evaporates too fast for any damage to occur, and your tech shouldn't be using that much anyway. Pure acetone is fastest to use for removal, but a lot of companies make removers with hydrating ingredients for less drying. Either is perfectly safe to use.
8. Um... didn't he specifically say NOT to "mix" earlier in the article, and now he's saying it's okay to do so? (I want a raised eyebrow emoji.)
9. Yes, the bottles are different. OPI GelColor bottles, are not just "darker", however; they are actually black... all of them. No sticker label, but they should have a plastic shrink wrapping with the color & name on the lid. The Gelish bottles are white, round, and have a pretty swirl design on the front, along with a little see-through window. Artistic bottles are also black, but shaped like Gelish bottles, with a swath of color near the top of the bottle (not the handle). (I actually have pics of all of these on my FB work page, if you're interested...)
10. "...the tech may be using the wrong light." -- Um, you mean lamp, and not "wrong" so much as "cheap & not the correct UV wavelength for the product".
11. The gel top coat I used to use when I did L&P (liquid & powder is the technically proper term for acrylic nails, since traditional gel is also an acrylate), was the same as I used to seal hard gels, so of course I used the same lamp... As I've repeated multiple times now, as long as your WAVELENGTH is correct for the product you're using, it doesn't matter which brand's lamp you use. Cheapy UV lamps bought on EBay aren't going to cut it.

All of this being said (and sorry, not sorry, that it's long... I actually CARE about getting the correct information out there, not using scare tactics like media outlets do these days), please please please do your own research. If you have questions, ask. I, personally, have taken multiple CND classes (I am not only a certified Grand Master, I am also CND Shellac certified), OPI classes, Artistic Nail Design/Colour Gloss classes, and more. If you don't know if your tech is doing it correctly, call the hotlines to the companies directly. Call your state's cosmetology board and ask THEM questions! Don't just blindly accept what the "news" and some techs tell you. Happy nailing!

Thursday, April 7, 2016



I have gone through all my stuff and these are what I currently have up for sale ---

CND, OPI, Cuccio, Artistic Nail Design, PediSlippers... lotions, cuticle oil, body butters, files, buffers, mini sizes, at home care kits, gel polish removal kits, foot files, gel systems, gel polish, and more!!! Check out the photos & pricing, and send me a PM if you're interested. Free shipping within the US.

Thursday, March 31, 2016


To continue on from my last post, I'm starting to look into products from other companies that, in my opinion, better support the Pro nail tech, and looking to replace most of my items that are currently CND brand. In looking through my products (wall racks, retail cabinet, drawers, and closet), I figure I need viable options to replace the following --

1. CND Manicure Citrus Scrub: I'm looking at Cuccio, Qtica, does Footlogix have one (?), and a couple other brands to see if I can find a suitable replacement. My biggest issue is that many scrubs are either sugar or salt; sugar makes for a sweeter and stickier scrub than I want, and salt can be an issue for anyone with any micro cut (which, no matter how many time I tell them not to, people still shave *the day of* their pedi... don't do THAT!). If you have a good recommendation, let me know.

2. CND Hydrating lotion, Citrus: same scent as the scrub... I need to stay in the citrus scent lines, btw; anything else would trigger my husband's migraines (and would turn off not only myself but also my male clients). I like (so far) Body Drench unscented (which I could add cheap essential oil to), Hempz Goji Orange Lemonade (but it's a bit strong for some clients), a lemon one I got from JoAnn Fabrics, and a couple OPI ones.

3. CND Cuticle Away: This is a great softener/eliminator for real cuticle (not to be confused with pterygium, or even worse, hyponychium), but I want a different brand. I'd like to try Be Natural's and Blue Cross. I've use BC in the past; it's watery, but works well... I'd have to get a dropper bottle for it, if that's what I replace CA with. Again, recommendations would be lovely!

4. CND Shellac Remover: I found a good replacement... I'd been using OPI's Expert Touch, too, but for those clients that are sensitive to something in it, I was using CND's. Seems Artistic Nail Design's Remover works just as well. It's about $5 more for the 32 oz, but as rarely as I use it, that's ok.

5. CND Scrub Fresh: Artistic Nail Design's Cleanse is a great replacement here, too, although the smell is a little "chlorine", it's only noticeable up close (and you shouldn't be smelling it like that, anyway!). Pricing for the 32 oz is $2 cheaper, so that makes me happy.

6. CND's Boomerang buffers: Artistic has two different grits for their buffers, and they are also "spray sanitizable", but within Oregon's rules & regs, need to be disinfectible as well (people use these terms interchangeably, but there's a huge difference). This is also important to me when I'm spending the money on them that I do. They don't have the same grit choice (CND's are 180/180, whereas my choices in Artistic are 100/180 or 220/280... and they're 68c more each). Hmmm....

7. CND Cool Blue hand sanitizer: I'm thinking that OPI's Swiss Guard can be my replacement, but am open to other ideas.

Please note, as well -- I was told (but have yet to confirm) that CND will no longer be supporting their Shellac UV lamp (including not making the bulbs anymore). I have two clients I still use my CND lamp on (and I still have a new pack of bulbs, so I'm okay for a while); Shellac pedicure clients who don't like the LED lamp I have (yes, 60s in my OPI LED lamp works fine) for their feet (weird angle, I guess? I don't know; no one else has issues/complaints), but if this is true, they're just going to have to get used to the other one.

This all said, please comment if you have suggestions/recommendations for me about those items listed. Also, looking to sell some miscellaneous nail items. I'll put up a link/pics here this weekend if they don't sell on the FaceBook pages I currently have them listed on.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Great CND Fiasco

I thought long and hard about if I was even going to blog about this... it got so much press (negative and positive) that originally, I felt my opinions would just get buried by the louder voices. However, it's been a week, and it's still eating at me...

If you missed it, a fellow nail sister, Michelle, who runs a M-F "Periscope" broadcast as well as a paid content education page, found out that CND ran a promo on (a website with pics and video for beauty-related things). From what I've gathered, the promo was for bloggers on Preen to create beautiful sets of gel polish nails with designs, use a specific hashtag, which was, according to CND's later press release, designed to promote CND and drive consumers into the salon for a professional CND Shellac service. Yeah, all well and good, except they sent 50 kits (including CND Shellac shades, their new almost $400 LED lamp, a Shellac base & top coat, etc) to mostly NON-PROFESSIONALS.

According to CND's press release (after Michelle's Periscope broadcast went super-viral... and yes, she did her research before talking about it on air), Preen made the mistake of sending these kits out to non-pros. According to the bloggers themselves, no one asked for any proof that they were pros (I saw one comment in which a non-pro blogger posted a screen shot of the email from Preen... nowhere on it does it ask for anything about them being a pro), and a day or two later, Preen themselves admitted full responsibility. Here are my issues with this -- (1) CND did not ever take ANY blame for any of this, (2) CND not only blamed Preen, but also said in writing that the bloggers misrepresented themselves as pros to get this product kit, and (3) CND didn't even think to do something like this with their EXISTING CND Shellac Certified Pros or Grand Masters (of which, I am both... and have paid over $1000 to learn and be certified; something I *thought* was special).
(1) "Pass the buck" is not a good business model... ever.
(2) No blogger I ever came across in my research for this misrepresented anything. ALL of them were upfront on all of their social media pages; stating that they are not professional nail techs, do this for fun, etc... Every blogger that reviews for companies also always has a disclaimer somewhere about how they were sent the products for free in return for an honest review (or something to that effect).
(3) I understand the huge reach of the Preen website, so maybe the promo should have been that existing CND pros be offered the opportunity to win these kits, which then could have some caveats about how/where to post your masterpieces (even telling us we had to create a Preen account, because you wanted to work with that site, specifically). They could have run an email blast, directed to any current CND Grand Master or CND Shellac Certified Pro, with similar instructions that the bloggers at Preen got, sent out 50 kits to us pros, and the art created would definitely have done what they wanted it to; send consumers into the salons for a professional service. Heck, they could have had some "special winners" from Preen teaming up with a pro in their area to create artwork together! Instead, this huge fiasco where now the bloggers at Preen feel hurt, embarassed, etc and are angry with CND and my friend, Michelle.

My biggest problem with non-pros using professional products is not that it takes business/potential business away from me (seriously, I started as a non-pro... it was a jumping point for me to go to school. DIYers are those who take pride in doing it themselves, not because they can't afford professional services, but because THEY CAN DO IT, and sometimes, better than a pro)... no, it's because they haven't been educated on how to properly apply & remove those products (no, youtube is not the right place for that). I was having nightmares about what happens in six months... those bloggers and whomever they may also do services on (friends, family, what have you) blowing up CND's social media about how "CND Shellac ruined my nails" due to overexposure, improper application, improper curing, and improper removal techniques. THAT's why I'm pissed. You want to give away free product for a promo? Cool. But, this kind of thing can RUIN the small one-person studios like mine... and that is NOT ok.

I, for one, would love to exchange some simple Shellac manicures for the opportunity to work with some non-pros who are really good at artwork. I know that CND asked for the kits back, and (I think) paid for return as well as sent the non-pros who won these kits originally some other CND products (Vinylux, maybe some of the new Creative Play polishes? Not sure... if you're a blogger who is in the middle of this fiasco, will you let me know what you're getting from CND instead?). I can totally see that working in both of our favors... you get a good, quality, professional, and properly trained tech to do your Shellac service, I get to see you do some great artwork, we both get our names/business more exposure by linking those pages to all related posts, and CND gets even more exposure by having a wider audience loving on their products.

So, my current dilemma -- do I continue to #loveCND or do I #burnCND? I haven't decided, but for now, I will not be buying anymore CND products.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Nail Shapes

I have, more and more, come across photos where people (techs and consumers, alike) are misidentifying nail shapes. I know; there are a LOT of them.
Short list (seen fairly regularly) --
1. Round
2. Square
3. Squoval (or square oval)
4. Oval
5. Almond
6. Ballerina Slipper
7. Coffin

Longer list (less often seen in the real world) --
1. Stiletto
2. Marilyn
3. Pipe
4. Edge

I know there are more, but generally speaking, these are the norm in my world.
* I can see how round & oval get mixed up... but they should be true to real-world shaping (round are ROUNDED, like half a circle; oval are ELONGATED, like a true oval).
* Square and squoval get mixed up... squares are truly squared-off; straight across the top, and straight down the sidewalls. Squovals are slightly rounded off (it is normal to have your square nails turn into squovals by your next appointment).
* Oval and almond sometimes are confused... they are very similar, but almonds are more pointed (but not necessarily sharp). They literally look like an almond nut, usually done with a softened tip so as to not scratch people.
* Ballerina slipper and coffin are used interchangeably... but are NOT the same! Think about pointe shoes older ballerinas wear; flat toe, but slightly rounded & tapered edge; the ballerina slipper nail is the same. Coffin nail edges are much more defined; flat tip, angled edges, definitive lines (see photo below of actual coffins to get an idea).
* Stilettos and almonds also get mixed up... This bugs me more than other nail shape mix-ups. Stiletto nails are just like the shoe they were named after -- long, thin, tapered, point at the tip.

PLEASE GO TO MY BUSINESS PAGE, IN THE "NAIL SHAPE" ALBUM, TO FIND REAL EXAMPLES OF SOME PROPER NAIL SHAPES (I haven't found good examples of them all yet, but I will; keep checking back)... and use them the next time you go to the salon!