|A candid shot of me doing Rachel's nail art (at the bottom of this post).|
- Acrylic enhancements, including;
- Odorless product
- Traditional monomer/polymer powder products
- Brush technique
- Enhancements on tips
- Enhancements on forms
- Electric files
- Hair removal
There are so many factors to consider when working with acrylics, which is the generic term for nail enhancements that use monomer liquid and polymer powder.
First, if your client wants to elongate their nails (as most do), should you do the service with a tip, or with a form? If you use a form, do they want the two-color method (forming a white tip with white powder) or the one-color method (where you can choose to only use pink powder)? Whether their nails be constantly painted is a big determinant for this decision.
Second, which product works best for you and your client? Some products are odorless. If you've been around a salon that was performing an acrylic service, you've probably smelled the products. I don't think it's a bad smell necessarily, but it is pungent, so a sensitive client who understands the products may insist on an odorless combination. (It's not actually odorless, it's just less odor.) Unfortunately, whether you want to or not, you need to be skilled in using odorless, because Colorado's state board requires the use of odorless products. I'm still undecided about which I prefer. One thing that I did quickly realize is that odorless products dry more slowly. So to learn, they are a great medium, as you have more time to sculpt and work the product to look like you want.
Acrylic application is actually a lot about the size brush you use. The brush sizes vary, usually in increments of 2. So 2, 4, 6, 8, 24! I've never seen a size 24 brush in person, but searching online has revealed that they do exist. Has anyone used that size? I'd love to get some nail tech chatter going about the preferred size, manufacturer, and shape of brush to apply acrylics!
Mastering acrylics hasn't come to me yet. I imagine it will take lots of practice! I have laid a set on a friend in the salon though, and so far, they're holding up! It's been about a week. Here's what they looked like after application and polishing was complete:
The polish did a nice job of covering up some of the flaws, but you can see edges that aren't completely clean, and I worry that they will lift. After a week though, they're still on, and the gal wearing them is a hair student, whose hands are constantly in water.
This week, we started learning about the electric file. I feel like Rosie Riveter when I use power tools like that, and I can't wait to use it to smooth out enhancements and edges! Hopefully that will make my acrylics more beautiful than anything!
Using the file is really an art form. There's a dance between speed and pressure required to use the drill comfortably for yourself and your client. Too much of one or the other will result in pain, heat, or what is unfortunately called "Ring of Fire". (No...not the feeling after a fiery burrito, or an after-birth effect. Gross guys.)
Electric files have become much more strictly monitored in salons. In previous years, salons would run out to Home Depot and buy dremels to use on their clients. This led to all kinds of problems, so an agency called AEFM (Association of Electric File Manufacturers) stepped up and started providing education on the proper use of electric files. It's now a recognized seal, and if you want to be electric file certified, you want to attend classes with that seal of approval. At the end of our classes, we will be certified in that manner.
One final big thing I picked up in class is hair removal. As a nail tech, I'm allowed to wax clients from their toes to their knees, and from their fingers to their elbows. Not gonna lie...it's not really a service I love, but, it's something I can say I know how to do, and would bolster my resume when it comes time to look for a job in the industry. One problem I foresee is that I learned on a very specific kind of waxing technique. It's not the wax that hardens, it actually stays warm as you apply it to the leg, and melts more if you rub it on the leg. Or arm. Or toe. Yeah...waxing toes is something I've now done. o_o
With Halloween just around the corner, I'm hoping with all hope that clients will want some fun nail art this weekend! Luckily, last night during class, a client came in, and the student who was scheduled to perform her manicure was not in. So I did an emergency manicurotomy and stepped up. The client was a blast to talk to, and she had brought stickers to doll up her nails! I recommended we do something more unique, and offered to do some nail art on her. She agreed, and here's what we did:
Cute! We did this on regular polish (a bright orange-red from OPI called My Chihuahua Bites!).
After her, Rachel (my classmate), also wanted some subtle nail art. We did her's with Gelish, and spooked it up with some bats flying past moons:
So my questions for you nail techs are as follows:
- What's your favorite size brush for applying acrylics?
- Is there a brand you recommend buying?
- Which shape of brush do you like?