Friday, 31 May 2013

F is for Fade

It's no secret to those who know me that I love a glitter fade.  The photograph above is a set of nails I did on a client last year and this image alone has got me more bookings than any other photo I've ever posted on Twitter, Facebook and on my website. Kerching! Come on you didn't think I did this just for the love of nails did you? Did you? Anyway.... I've used my beloved Blackpool Shellac and Irresistible Nail Art's silver holographic glitter in this picture, but you can do this with so many different Shellac and glitter combinations.  

The glitter fade is such a hit with clients because if they are apprehensive about a full set of rockstar glitter nails, then the fade gives them the best of both worlds.  Similarly those that are worried that a dark colour is just, well too dark, then adding the glitter fade just seems to lift the colour, making the whole nail pop!  In fact one client that went for Midnight Swim, which is a dark midnight blue with a hint of silver shimmer, and a blue holographic glitter fade said that not only her girl friends noticed her nails, but her male friends did too... albeit when she was paying the bar tender for her glass of Vodka and orange... but they noticed none the less.

Glitter fades are so easy to do with Shellac. Base coat- cure, two colour coats- cure, press a small amount of glitter in to the tacky layer around the base of the nail near the eponychium, pat it down, grab a fan brush dust away the access and gently pull the glitter towards the free edge leaving a half and half effect.  Then layer over either a layer of Clearly Pink or Shellac topcoat- cure, then a final layer of Shellac topcoat- cure, to make the finished nail as smooth as a babies bottom.  No one likes a bumpy glitter nail- it's there for the pickers to pick and no good for those that love to stroke their shiny Shellac with their thumbs.  (I'm a stroker by the way, not a picker in case you were wondering)

If you're not a nail stylist, then get yourself down to your local CND Shellac salon, or if you live in Thanet come to me.  I have been renamed The Glitter Fade Queen by my friends, a nickname I am happy to live with... for once!

Here's another example of a glitter fade that I did with Pretty Poison, a dark green with a slight gold shimmer, and Irresistible Nail Art's green holographic glitter fade.  

I tend to use holographic glitters more because they are multifaceted and nothing twinkles like a holographic glitter. I've been known to get car horned at the traffic lights because I've been too busy admiring the sparkle to notice the lights have gone green (ooops) but I tell you what, it makes angry hand gestures look so much prettier...

OK, OK I've never actually done that, after all, I don't want to blind the motorist behind me with my twinkle now, do I...

S is for Sam

Fortunately my son is still of the age where he doesn't mind me taking photo's of him and posting them on Facebook along with gushy status'.  Sam turned eight this month and I've no idea where the time has gone, I remember labour like it was yesterday (and so does my body).  Although he has the tendencies at times of a stroppy teenager, you know slams doors, asks what it was like in the olden days (I was only born in 1981), uses words that make no sense to me (how the word 'sick' ever became a word for excellent I'll never know) and such like, he still is at heart my little boy that loves a cuddle and kiss... and not just at bed time or when he wants something. 

Sammy is a real gem of a lad, and I know I'm biased being his Mum and all, but really my kid rocks! Recently I was clearing out my boxes of nail paraphernalia, rearranging the studio to accommodate my new pedicure chair which I sit in daily, even though no one's actually giving me a pedicure, and as kids do (well I certainly used too) Sam was rummaging through everything I was throwing out.  Not one to pass up a freebie, Sam spied a box of nail tips, old Creative polishes I no longer use, colour pops and some glitter.  "Muuuuuuum," he says, "can I have those please?"  At this point I'm was imagining one of two scenarios.  Scenario number one- nail polish all over him, the floor, his duvet, his clothes and... the dog. Scenario number two (and perhaps a little premature)- new owner of The Nail Beautique when I retire. 

That's the thing I love about my Sam, whilst being a real little boy with all his boy toys and playing rugby for his local team, he also loves all the things little girls love too.  In my past life (my career before 'doing nails') I used to be a nursery worker and when I was the deputy room supervisor in the baby room, Sam used to attend the preschool room whilst I was working.  I've lost count of the amount times my colleagues and Sam's key workers used to bring him down to the baby room dressed in princess dresses, wearing wigs, with a handbag on his shoulder all the while pushing a toy push chair with a doll in it, but we used to all have a good giggle, including Sam's four year old self.  My manager and I were talking one day and she said, "I love your Sam, because he may be prancing around with a handbag playing house with all the girls, but if you open that handbag it is full to brim with cars!"  And well, that's just my Sam and I love him for it. Who says boys can't love girlie things?  In fact whenever I see my niece and nephews, my first 'customer' may be my niece, but I can guarantee you that my nephews are waiting in line to be glitter polished too!

So you see, my second scenario wasn't as far out as you would imagine.   Sam loves what I do, he still can't quite get his head round the fact that Mummy works for herself  as he continually asks "what will your boss say"(!), but it's nice to share my work with him.  So yes, I gave him the pops, the glitter, the nail tips and the polish for him to play with.  You'll be pleased to know the dog is fine, yes there was an incident with the pot of glitter and the bottle of bright red polish did fly across my studio floor (open), but we had some all important mummy/son time which was the main thing after all (I say as I look at the now red tinged floor tiles).

Sam asked me recently can boys 'do nails'.  I said they could, some of the best nail technicians in the world are men and some even have their own nail product and training companies- Greg Salo of Young Nails, Samuel Sweet of Sweet Squared, Tony Cuccio of Cuccio to name just three, which really impressed Sam.  So as you can imagine my heart nearly burst last week when his nan asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.

"Nan when I grow up I want to be a bus driver like Dad, a train driver, a rugby player, a clown and a Nail Beautique."

See, I told you he rocks!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

E is for Ewwwwwww

Feeling rather poorly this morning I dragged myself out of bed to tend to my clients appointments because I'm well... a hero... that's um, driven by money. Anyway, there I was looking like death warmed up, still in my nightie, with hair looking like it had got in to an argument with a plug socket (and lost), with a coldsore the size of a beach ball on my lip and with more spots than a hormonal 14 year old school boy, running round my little nail studio hoovering, cleaning, lighting candles, burning incense (the hoover lets off a lovely labrador smell when it's on), melting essential oil wax melts, trying in general to eradicate the smell of boys and animals from my treatment room.  Once finished I jumped in to the shower... and when I say jumped I mean hauled my aching body over the side of the bath like a sack of spuds, and set about deep cleaning myself for the back to back clients I had coming in at 10 o'clock.  In just over half an hour I had managed to slap on some war paint, blow dry and straighten my mane and wriggle in to my black work dress looking, to my surprise, somewhat human.  

With ten minutes to spare before the arrival of my first client, I decided to pop in to the kitchen/diner/lounge and make myself a fortifying cup of coffee but who should I happen upon as I hurried in to kitchen? None other than Fifty Shades of Grey himself.  Now you're probably thinking all kinds of saucy and imagining a tall, dark and handsome man with chiseled cheeks bones that could quite literally ladder your tights with just a glance, but no, none of that for me, because my Fifty Shades of Grey was in fact my perfectly healthy husband only half an hour a go, looking as sick as a dog.

To understand the magnitude of the situation let me post a picture of my husband looking his normal self...

... Can you see the problem? My usually brown tanned English/Egyptian husband was now as grey as the sky on a rainy day! 

I'll admit now, I wasn't exactly giving an Oscar winning performance of Florence Nightingale, I mean come on, I felt like bag of crap too and I was getting on with my day, so why couldn't he? 

But you see the real problem wasn't so much that he was ill, oh no-no monsieur, that was the easy part, the cataclysmic timing of it all, was that what quite literally stood between my husband and the toilet was... wait for it... the nail studio. 

In order for himself to get to the bathroom, he has to walk through the studio, owing to the fact that my nail studio is actually based in my hallway.  Now on any other given day that wouldn't have been a problem, but today dear reader, today, I had not one, but two clients coming in booked back to back for deluxe pedicures.  Can you see the dilemma?  I can't cancel them because they would be arriving in ten minutes, but neither can I allow my husband to come hurtling through my treatment room to either take leave of his bowels or to stick his head down the toilet, because at that point, to which end it was coming out of, neither of us knew.  Thinking I could ship him and my son off to McDonalds (they have a bathroom right) my poorly husband could do nothing but slump down on to the sofa because just then the doorbell rang signalling the arrival of my first client.

Now as you know a deluxe pedicure is well, deluxe.  Scrubs, masques, foot massage the works.  So there I am about to give my client the pedicure of her dreams and the theme tune to Horrid Henry came blasting out the television because my husband didn't think to tell my son to turn the volume down. Realising that if I can hear it, so can she, I launched in to some inane drivel about the weather, hoping my voice would drown out my son who was now laughing like a drain.  Luckily fifteen minutes in to the treatment, with my clients feet wrapped up tight to allow the masque to penetrate deep in to her skin, I was able to go into the kitchen under the guise of refilling the pedicure bowl with warm water, to give Senior and Junior a good talking too in a shouty whisper. Silence restored, I popped back in to the salon to ask if my client would like another cup of tea and I then returned to the kitchen to make her a hot beverage.  Filling the kettle up and putting the tea bag in to the cup and saucer, my son came rushing up beside me and in a stage whisper said "Mum, Mum! Look at Dad! He's being sick!"  With sheer horror I turned around to see  my 6 foot 2 husband on all fours with his head sticking out of our french doors puking his guts up, while his back end remained firmly in the lounge.  Trying to think how to silence him, the vomiting eventually stopped only to be replaced with a lot of dry heaving and by this time I was wondering if the only reason why my client hadn't run out of the studio screaming was because her feet were wrapped up firmly in a towel.  Anyway after I filled a jug with water and threw it out in to the yard to wash away my husbands breakfast that had now been deposited on the crazy paving outside, I washed my hands, finished making my clients cup of tea and went back in to the salon as if nothing had happened.  

Ten minutes later more sounds of heaving, wretching and puking came floating through the door and I made a mental note to go and buy myself a docking station for my mobile phone so that for any future days like today (please god no), I could always drown out such noises with music.

Luckily the rest of the appointment went as planned and my next client arrived ready to have her deluxe pedicure.  This was a little less eventful but I could still hear the dog scratching gods only knows what part of his anatomy from my pedicure stool and I had to listen my son discussing the merits of one Skylander over another, but luckily no more bodily fluids rose to the occasion. 

Finally after just under three hours I led my clients out of the studio and I walked back in to the kitchen to check how my husband was feeling.  Informing me he now felt much better (wouldn't you know) and that he just wanted to eat everything in the cupboards(!) I put my clients cup and saucer in to the sink and washed my hands again.  Looking slightly alarmed my husband hurried over to sink and told me not to use the Pyrex jug, which I could see was full of washing up liquid and water.  "Oh god," I  said, "don't tell me you threw up in the Pyrex jug?!? That's the good jug." Silence. "Um no, not exactly... I didn't throw up in the Pyrex jug... but well, um... Sam had a pee in it instead."

And that dear reader was when I  knew beyond all doubt, that my day wasn't going to get any better.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

D is for Delivery

It might not look like much to some of you, but some of us all of us nail geeks love a parcel that looks exactly like the above (even more so if it contains glitter).  

Now allow me introduce you to Dave the Interlink parcel delivery man that delivers on behalf of Sweet Squared, who in turn supplies me with Shellac, Vinylux, Brisa Lite and all that goes with it.  I'm afraid I don't have a picture of the lovely Dave but in all fairness I'm one step away from a restraining order so it's probably best I don't post a picture of him on the world wide web... not that I have one... honest! But it beggars the question how exactly do I know the name of my delivery man?

Is it because he comes to my house so often we are now on first name terms? Or is it because Dave has happened to see me in my white leopard print onesie, hair like a birds nest one too many times so we feel there is no need to stand on ceremony anymore? Or could it be that Dave and I have become such good friends owing to me some weeks seeing him more than my own mother, that our professional relationship has some what lapsed?  

I did catch Dave guffawing at my good self in my onesie the first (yes I said first) time he saw me in it and whilst I tried to keep as little eye contact with him as possible, I'm not deaf.  But back to the question. 

No it's none of the above because in fact when Interlink send me a delivery email with my one hour time slot, normally perfectly timed with the school run (thanks Dave) they tell me Dave will be delivering it. Such a personal touch, if not a lie... well if it's not a lie they have a lot of Dave's working in one depot! I do believe from chatting to other nail geeks that there is a Lee, a Sam and a Paul too.  Still never the less, Dave and I have become firm(ish) friends, even if he's too scared to admit it.

But whether it's nail parapherna(i)lia, a new frock or a pair of shoes, I'm sure every woman can relate to the excitement of a parcel arriving.  My husband just doesn't get it.  In fact I get so excited, as I know so many others do, that when the parcel delivery guy arrives, we all do that little squeal of excitement and clapping of hands like a seal before we (almost) compose ourselves before opening the door.  I'll admit, I have seen Dave recoil at my exuberance at his... uhum I mean... the parcels arrival.  

Waiting is the worst bit though right?  Even if we know the time slot and some times they are vast (unless Dave is your man) we still jump up and peer out the net curtains or venetian blinds, depending upon what decade we're in, every time we so much as hear a diesel van engine come to a halt.  For me it's a little bit harder.  I live in the basement, or the last floor above hell as my family calls it, so whilst I have windows, several in fact, they face an 8 foot high wall that leads to ground level.  So I'm not so much a curtain twitcher or blind botherer, I'm more of a meerkat.  Every time I hear that engine, I'm out my french doors, nose in the air, ears pricked to see if 'Dave' is about to descend to the crypt. The crypt is the other name we use for our lower ground flat, owing to the fact we live in the basement of a very old chapel built in the 1800's.  

Still I know 'Dave' just loves to hear me when I run through the communal hallway in nothing but a onesie, leaving my dignity and pride at our apartment door, to burst fourth through the communal doorway and sign for my parcel, because every time I close that door and star jump with excitement, I'm sure I hear him mutter "thank god that's over because I'm just not paid enough for this". 

V is for Vinylux

If you're a nail professional you must literally have been hiding out under a rock for the last month if you haven't heard of Vinylux.  Vinylux is the new polish line from CND that lasts for up to 7 days.  Coined by CND as the polish that defies time, it requires no base coat (don't be scared) and has a top coat that becomes more durable when exposed to natural light to ensure no chipping or scratching.  

Vinylux can be worn not only as a straight polish on fingers and toes but it can also be applied over Brisa Lite Smoothing Gel, Shellac and other nail enhancements. For those that like to change up their colour but when it suits them and not when a polish chip or two week power or gel polish dictates or for those that can't wear colour for work but would like to rock a colour at the weekends which lasts until Monday morning, then Vinylux is the polish to out shine (quite literally) all other polishes on the market.

The Verdict:

When Vinylux or shortened to V by those of us too lazy to spell it out in full, was first launched I'll admit I was sceptical.  Not because I didn't believe it would work, au contraire I trust CND, but the buzz around a sizeable proportion of nail technicians in the UK was that V was going to be the next big thing.  Indeed it still could be, but in terms of my business, V is and will always be a polish line.  A polish line that dries in 8.5 minutes I might add and that matches the most popular Shellac shades with more besides, but it is what it is... a polish.

I believe CND have marketed this mostly as a retail product, that's not to say that it doesn't have a place for us professionals in the nail salon- what's a nail salon without at least one bottle of polish I ask you! However I'm a little studio salon for now and most of my clients, in fact nigh on all of them, are Shellac lovers and I don't have the call (or the space) for retailing polish just now. However clients are welcome to preorder Vinylux for collection, I just won't be holding stock.  V is a great addition for those that want to retail polish and in fact lots of techs nationwide are having great success in retail sales of Vinylux.  If you're looking to update, change or add to your polish collection, like me, then V would be the logical step for all the reasons I've mentioned above. But let's keep our heads, it is just a polish... albeit one that lasts for up to 7 days. 

Some were concerned that Vinylux would out shine Shellac, and I'm not talking about the mirror shine effect here, I'm talking about whether or not clients would jump ship by purchasing a bottle of Vinylux, apply it themselves and never darken the door of their nail salon again.  Is this a real possibility? Yes, but, clients go to a salon for a number of reasons; the art of the professional, to relax, to feel pampered, to have a good chin wag with their nail stylist and the list goes on. Comparing Shellac to Vinylux is like comparing a Ford (Vinylux) to a Ferrari (Shellac).  Both good solid cars but one of them is at a premium with a super sleek finish.  Ultimately it's all about how you sell V to clients.  Who is your target market for Vinylux?  I've worked mine out... have you?

Vinylux RRP is £9.95, but remember for Vinylux to work as a system you need to purchase both colour and top coat.  Some salons (including The Nail Beautique) are offering a special introductory duo deal for colour and top coat when purchased together priced at just £15.95.

For non professionals living in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate wanting to preorder Vinylux or to book a Vinylux appointment visit  For more information on Vinylux visit to find your local stockist. For professionals wishing to purchase Vinylux visit

Gotcha Vinylux- Check out the shine on those digits! 

Images Courtesy of CND, Sweet Squared & The Nail Beautique

P is for Photographs

Here is a recent photograph of my clients lusciously long natural nails that I beautified with Decadence Shellac.  Of course I took the obligatory one hand over the other pose for Facebook you understand, but as my client was getting ready to leave my nail studio, she pulled her mobile phone out of her handbag. "HOLD IT!" I cried in every sense of the word and being the good sport that my very lovely client is, she let me click, snap and flash away. 

You wouldn't believe how many people are shy about having their hands and nails photographed and don't even get me started on their feet.  Of course I sympathise as I have hands like shovels which are so out of proportion with my 5 foot 1 inch self, and feet which resemble, according to my old school buddies, the feet of a budgerigar.  However as a nail stylist, what better way to showcase my work by posting photographs of my latest nail creations on Facebook and Twitter.  

I've never had a client refuse to pose yet.  In fact one lady who came for a quick file and polish at a taster day I once did, looked rather alarmed as  I whipped out my camera phone.  "Why on earth do you want to take a photo of my horrible hands?" She exclaimed.  "Just wait and see," I told her.  Two quick snaps later, my client was amazed.  "I can't believe they're my hands. They look really nice!" The nail stylist in me muttered silently in my head "well of course they do I've just tidied, shaped and polished them," but what I actually said was, "right so, I'll put them on Facebook then."

B is for Bloglovin

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