Expanding Your Horizons

The U.K.’s Struggle for Nail Products

Nail art and technology are still in their infancy in England, but the nail technicians and suppliers offering nail products are keeping busy filling orders.

Editor’s note: On her trip to teach nail art in London and to help Sylvia Smith, a nail technician in London, open her own salon, Michelle Longhini, owner of Nails By Michelle in W. Palm Beach, Fla., was accompanied by Judy Stettler, production director of Longhini’s “Nail Art Newz” newsletter, photographer Sheila Morello, and Longhini’s mother, Marjean Jensen. Longhini met Smith, who is the cousin of one of her clients, when she came to Florida to study nail art under Longhini’s direction. See our August 1996 issue on page 163 and our October 1996 issue on page 116 for Longhini’s first two installments of this three-part series. Here, Longhini discusses the supply and demand of nail products in the U.K.

Nail art and technology are still in their infancy in England, but the nail technicians and suppliers offering nail products are keeping busy filling orders. Many American companies allow only one or two salons/ companies in the U.K. to distribute their products due to the significant amount of red tape involved in international exportation. Unfortunately, this prevents many technicians in the U.K. from getting the products not only because of their overseas location, but because of the increased prices as a result of tariffs. This also limits sales to only those technicians who can reach that particular supplier. Travel within the U.K. can be expensive and time-consuming. In addition, not everyone owns a vehicle; those without one must rely on transit systems.

Tradeshows offer an alternative way for nail technicians in the U.K. to get products. For example, many U.S. distributors exhibit at the Brighton Beauty Show in England every winter, which is one of the largest shows in the UX Many technicians travel a great distance to attend this show and stock up on products. Some technicians even travel to shows in the U.S. to purchase products because of the variety available.

One of the few suppliers in the U.K. that primarily sells nail art supplies is K- Sa-Ra. They supply most seen everywhere and eagles were showing up on T-shirts and sweatshirts,” says Chavoya, who thought the patriotic symbols would look nice on clients’ nails as well. So she taught herself to hand-paint the designs. Then about three years ago, Chavoya began experimenting with The Polished Nail’s (now called Polished Nail Systems by Strata Nail Foundation) colored acrylic powders. Soon, she was sculpting miniature nail creations for fun. “I have a creative mind, a vivid imagination, and an eye for color,” says Chavoya of her artistic talent.

That talent landed her first place in a fantasy nail art competition put on by The Polished Nail, which sent out a call for entries last year. Creating the 3-D Christmas design took her about four hours to complete. Chavoya used the company’s Jazz Kit of colored acrylic powders and its regular line of colored powders. The first-place prize? A Jazz Kit, so Chavoya is no doubt busy working on another lil-liputian wonder.

Tracy Presba of Nails By Tracy in Seattle has also taken home a prize from The Polished Nail. She won the 3-D nail art competition two years ago. As a thank- you to company owner Jan Beaver Tilson, Presba made her a pair of 3-D snowman nail tip earrings last Christmas using The Polished Nail’s Jazz Kit and its regular line of colored acrylic powders. Presba makes the special-order earrings for other nail technicians as well as clients, and charges $20-$50 per pair, depending on the detail. Following are step-by-step instructions for the snow-man earrings.

Step One

Choose two nail tips for the earring dangles. Cover the nail tip using the blue acrylic powder and liquid, then file and buff the tip to a smooth finish.

Step Two

To make the snowman, Presba recommends using a No. 4 pointed- round brush. Sculpt the middle ball of the snowman with the white tip acrylic powder and liquid. Using a mix with a little more powder than before, place a larger ball of product below the first (you may need to re-wet your brush to shape the bottom ball). To form the snowman’s head, use a small amount of powder and liquid and shape it into place above the middle ball.

Step Three                                         

Use a mini-liner brush and the white tip powder and liquid to make the snowman’s arms coming out from the middle ball. With the same brush, dip a small amount of liquid on your brush, then very sparingly dip the brush into the black acrylic powder. Place two tiny drops of acrylic on the end of each arm to make the gloves.

Step Four

Use the pointed-round brush and dark blue acrylic powder and liquid to sculpt a medium-sized ball of product on top of the snowman’s head and shape it into a hat. Carefully lay a thin line of wet, black acrylic under the hat.

Step Five

For the broom handle, use the small detail brush and red acrylic powder and liquid to sculpt a long, thin line starting above the snowman’s glove and continuing below the arm To make the brush, use the bright yellow acrylic powder and liquid, and push and pat the product until you form a brush-like shape.

Step Six

Add snow beneath the snowman by sculpting many fluffy-looking balls of very wet, white acrylic.

Step Seven

Paint an orange dot in the middle of the top ball to make the snowman’s nose. Using the mini-liner brush and dark blue paint, apply two small dots for eyes and five small dots for the smile. Sculpt three medium-sized dark blue balls for buttons down the front of the snowman. Apply a small amount of gold acrylic paint to highlight the broom brush and to add a hat band to the hat. Add a star in the sky above the snowman using silver paint and a clear rhinestone.

Step Eight

Seal the design with top coat. To attach the earring, use a nail drill to make a small hole at the top of the nail tip. Hang the tip on a wire for pierced ears. For clip earrings, attach a small jump ring to the back.

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