Thursday, 27 September 2012

Cuticle Oil......Not Just For Cuticles

I've been seeing a lot of clients in the last couple of weeks with very dry nails, cuticles and skin.  As summer turns to autumn, there is much less humidity in the air, and it seems we can feel the air sucking the moisture out of our skin and nails.  You're not imagining it.

I preach very few things in the studio, but the one thing I do talk about is the use of cuticle oil.  Use it faithfully, every night before bedtime.  Don't worry about applying it during the day because you'll just wash it off and waste product.  If you are wearing any kind of artificial nail product on your nails (acrylic, gel, or gel polishes like Shellac) this is especially crucial, and here's why.

As your nail grows out past the nail bed, it is exposed to the air and starts to dry out.   As it dries out, it curls.  If you have especially curvy nails - in the industry this is called a "C Curve" - this will be even more pronounced.    If you never wear any kind of enhancement product, you won't even really notice this.

If you do though, the product that is on top of your nails does its' best to keep up with this curling of the natural nails if you keep the underside (the natural nail) hydrated as it grows out.  This is what the cuticle oil is for.  If you don't use it, you may get what is called product separation, where the product starts to separate as the nail curls away from it.  This is not the product doing this - it has nothing to do with the product or incorrect application.  This is your natural nail curling away because it is dehydrated.  If you apply cuticle oil underneath your nails on a daily basis at bedtime, you can really minimize the dehydration and dramatically reduce or eliminate this separation of nail and product.
CND's  Solar Oil is for sale in the studio; it is inexpensive and I recommend you purchase one at your first visit.  When you go to your stylist to have your hair coloured, you want to preserve your investment for as long as you can.  Think of Solar Oil as the perfect conditioner for your nails.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Let's Talk About Safety....

I am seeing more and more new clients who are looking for something different these days.  It might not necessarily be blinged out nails (though those are so fun to do!).  No, what I'm seeing are clients who are educating themselves about what NOT to expect in a nail salon.  Clients who are demanding something better than the status quo and are actively seeking out a new, safer experience.
As of January 1, 2012, in Durham Region, the practice of storing an individual client's single-use (disposable) items for future re-use is no longer permitted.   This means that all single-use disposable implements such as files, buffer blocks, sanding bands and the like, shall be appropriately discarded immediately after each use.   They cannot be stored onsite or reused in the future on a client.  No client will bring any such implement into the personal services setting for the purpose of being used by the operator on the client.

So let's break this down.  I offer my clients their file immediately after each service.  It is theirs to take home and use if they wish, they are NOT to bring it back, ever.  I have always done this in my studio, and didn't need any notice from Durham Public Board of Health to tell me this was an unsanitary practice.  Sadly, I still hear stories from new clients about how their last place whipped out an obviously used file to use on their nails.  In Durham. 

Next on the list are those wonderful foot spa pedi-thrones.  You know the ones with the great massage feature?  I choose not to use one of those for the simple fact they are time-consuming to clean properly between clients.  Since I am such a stickler for safety, and I work by myself, I simply don't have time to do proper maintenance and I will never sacrifice time for the health of my clients. 

So I use a comfortable pedicure chair and a  Footsie Bath with biodegradable liners which are disposed of after each client.  You can be sure you'll never be exposed to my last client's bio-film.  Never going to happen here.  If you regularly get pedicures at salons who use the big pedi-thrones, you might want to observe how they clean these spa chairs the next time you're there.  According to the regulations posted on the Durham Region website, this is the current cleaning protocol for these spa chairs in between each and every client:
  • Drain the foot bath of all water
  • Fill the foot bath with detergent and water to above the water line and circulate the solution and clean the tub with a cleaning brush.
  • Empty the cleaning solution.
  • Fill the foot bath with clean water and circulate the rinse water.
  • Empty the rinse water.
  • Fill the foot bath with an intermediate-level disinfectant and circulate the solution, then let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  • Empty the solution.
This is just in between clients. There is a whole other cleaning protocol that needs to happen at the end of each day. 
My health inspector and I regularly chat about this kind of stuff, and she knows it makes me crazy.  We know many nail salons do not follow these protocols.    Hats off to the inspectors here, they know all the tricks the salons play and try to make a difference but it must be frustrating to hear these practices still continue.   On the one hand, I am gaining new clients from bad practices (hurray!) but I feel bad for all the unsuspecting consumers still out there who just aren't aware of what is and is not acceptable.  Well, now you know. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Shellac by any other name is.....

Not Shellac!  This is a brand of gel polish manufactured and marketed by a nail company called CND.  CND spent billions (well maybe not but it sure seems that way) of advertising dollars to launch this product over 2 years ago.   And they've made sure to keep it top of mind ever since.
Many people call my studio and ask if I "do Shellac".  Well yes, I do.  I have almost every colour in this brand.  I've taken the course, I've gotten my certificate, I am well-versed in its' application and removal.  It is a wonderful product. 
On the other hand, I've had new clients arrive in the studio with Shellac on, only to be told it's not Shellac.  I get that quizzical look (happens every time).  "What do you mean, it's not Shellac?  That's what they said it was".  Then I'm in the position of having to explain that perhaps they got something else instead.  You see, the word "Shellac" is being tossed around because of all that marketing that CND did - everyone is using that to describe their gel polish services because it's the easy way out. 
Why should it matter?  It matters when it comes to wearability and removal.  I can remove a set of real Shellac in less than 10 minutes, with absolutely no damage to your natural nails.  If you show up with Shellac from another salon, I really don't know what they used on you and you don't really know either.  Might have been Shellac colour, with a different base and top coat.  Or not.   It takes twice as long to remove it, sometimes longer.  
So bottom line is, there are lots of other brands of gel polish out there.  Some of them are absolutely terrific.  But they are not Shellac.   And I wish that other service providers  would stop telling you it is. 
Shellac - the real deal


Finally!  One of my goals this year was to start a blog.  It's a great time to be a nail tech and many times over the past year I've wished I could share a great idea, or some timely, topical information in the big bad world of nails. 
So who am I writing for?  My clients, potential clients, anybody who is concerned about nail health, interested in hearing about different nail products, what they are, what they do, why they are good (or not so good) for you.  I hope to separate the truth from the BS that is out there, and my friends, there is a lot of it out there. 
I promise to keep you updated regularly with nail trends, new exciting products, and classic treatments.  Hopefully you'll learn something and be entertained as well. 
So without further ado, here we go........