by Myrdith Leon-McCormack
After twenty-three years of serving as a manicurist in the fashion industry, I can comfortably give advice on the subject of nail care. Am I a doctor? Far from it. But I am an expert of technique, product knowledge and service. But let’s not forget about one thing: that in essence your manicure and pedicure is not about just polishing your nails, it is also an experience.
Am I the best in the field? Once again, absolutely not! But I’m pretty close to perfection (if I do say myself). At least on the business aspect.
Now let’s get down to business. Do you recall how young you were when you received your first manicure? Hmm… It was probably given to you by your mom or grandmother. And for today’s generation of parents, some dads are pretty cool about taking care of their little girls, and even the boys—they get manicures too. So don’t forget about them men—there are some great male manicurists out there. I can give you two in the high fashion industry: Terrance Terry and Tom Bachik. If you Google them you will be pleasantly surprised.
So that leads me to topic one—customer service. When you’re on the receiving end, only allow people that want to do their job touch you. It will reflect in the quality of service and the final outlook of your service.
Secondly, only the most sanitary environments are allowed, without exception. Do not settle for pre-used tools. The pumice stone that used to be yellow or pink or blue but is not covered in a lay or gray? No way! Get out of there! If they whip out that fat paintbrush, they dip in a yellow-like substance, and want to whack it across your nails to pass it off as cuticle oil, that is your cue to exit stage left. Do not take the time to pass “GO,” collect your $100 dollars, grab your bag and shoes and hop right out of that place with swiftness. Run like the wind and never look back. …I think you get it!
Now that we got those simple basic steps out of the way, let’s talk about the manicurist with the mask.
Ask yourself two things: If you smell the product before you reach the block, why are you going into this toxic hole? If your “professional” is wearing a mask why are you sitting there inhaling the waste?
Let’s Get Back to Natural
Nail polish in itself is not dangerous. But I have had many clients tell me they are allergic to nail polish. What I found is that they are allergic to the Formaldehyde, Toluene and DBP in the ingredients. The chemical most responsible for allergic reactions to nail enamel is tosylamide formaldehyde resin. It is sometimes also called toluenesulfonamide formaldehyde resin.
What are the solutions for this?
Today, you have many options. You can purchase water-based polishes by brands like Zoya, SpaRitual, Orly, and RGB to name a few. But understand there is a trade off for this product. So don’t complain so much if your polish chips early on.
That brings us to the next topic: chipped polish. Women go mad over chipped polish, in denial that it will happen to them. Wow. Why wouldn’t your polish chip? It’s not a permanent tattoo. Even Henna stains fade away eventually, so why wouldn’t a layer of liquid fade or chip away? Be reasonable. Unless of course you’re Queen Elizabeth and walk around wearing gloves 24/7 or have servants at your disposal. Face the fact that if you move and live a normal life, a chip is eventually going to happen to you.
If you wash your hands, often and regularly, the paint will chip.
If you use oil, moisturizer, hairspray, and other related chemicals that weaken the fresh polish, the paint will chip.
If it is more then three or four days behind it, the paint will chip.
Plain and simple, things happen!
Now a combination of all the above leads us to the final steps of landing a great manicure. A great polish brand goes pretty far. I have been in this business for twenty-three years and I am happy to say I have tried some of the best. And I’m still trying them, from luxury brands such as Dior, Chanel, Tom Ford, Givenchy and YSL, to salon brands such as OPI, SpaRitual, Orly and Essie.
But we can’t leave out the iconic figures such as Revlon, L’Oreal, Wet n Wild and Max Factor, brands that were my first when I started my kit as a manicurist all those years ago. Those were the days. You had to be good and you had to know your products. Because newer products kept popping up in the market as we learned and perfected our art.
So let me close this article down with one last piece of advice from a veteran of the nail business. Don’t forget to look at the licenses on the wall of each establishment. Know your nail artist is legitimate. Know you’re safe. Because once you know you’re in good hands, the rest is meant to be enjoyed.