Business Management

Nail Watch ‘94

Nail manufacturers council members showed the nation’s top beauty editors step-by-step how beautiful nails are achieved.

Nail manufacturers council members showed the nation’s top beauty editors step-by-step how beautiful nails are achieved.

During the recent International Beauty Show, Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) members put their hands to work educating the nation’s top consumer beauty editors on the various services available in salons. The unique presentation, NAILWATCH ’94, which was held at New York’s posh Pierre hotel, allowed editors to visit 10 “nail stations” and view close-up the five-step procedures for achieving 10 different finished services. Editors were also introduced to the hottest new products from the professional nail industry and heard about the newest trend, “Nearly Natural”nails.

Influential editors from such magazines as Self, Vogue, Real Beauty, Redbook, and Elle attended and all left with a better understanding of nail services and their role in total beauty.

Says Sunny Stinchcombe, president of the 60-plus manufacturer –member council, “The Nail Manufacturers Council organized the interactive format because last year we did a fashion show, which was a good start, but it was nothing new. We wanted to grab editor’s attention and give them the opportunity to ask questions and see exactly what happens in nail salons.

 “We all agreed that in the past the consumer press has been mostly negative when it comes to nails; articles have been based on the experience of a few people and a few salons. Typically, the consumer editor asks questions of someone who does her sister’s nails, who may or may not be the best source for information. We wanted the Nail Manufacturers Council to be recognized as the authority on nails. Our goal is to get beauty editors to understand that the majority of salons are good,” says Stinchcombe.

 “The format worked very well... A number of strong publications attended and they all had a positive reaction to the ‘hands-on’ approach. Editors told me they rarely get the opportunity to interact and ask questions.

 “The ultimate benefit of this type of event is to promote the hardworking technician who provides excellent service, follows sanitation procedures, and performs a good application. In the future, beauty articles may be more positive about nail care services, which can only benefit the technician,” she concludes.


The interactive setup allowed editors to view steps to specific services. If you’re thinking of holding an open house for local editors, you might want to recreate the format on a scaled-down level. Even showing a single service in a step-by-step manner goes a long way in educating the press.

Each of the 10 tables or nail stations had models whose job it was to represent a single service. The models were pre-done, with the left hand (or foot) completely finished and the right one displaying the five-step process, with each finger representing a step. An easy-to-read sign told editors which service they were seeing and briefly listed the five steps.

For instance, table one showed sculptured nails on a form; the idea was to depict how the natural nails stayed healthy with the service. On the right hand, the pinkie was a prepped nail; subsequent fingers showed the free edge, the overlay, a nail with the overlay removed (so that editors could see the natural nail was undamaged), and the finished nail. The right hand was completely finished. All the models were Nail Manufacturers Council members who could answer questions in depth.

Other services shown included: tips with a clear gel overlay, a pedicure, tips with a liquid and powder overlay, a men’s manicure, a gel preparation, a luxury spa manicure, a French manicure, fibreglass wraps, and a natural nail manicure. NMC members who were behind the tables did not discuss specific products; they stressed the features and benefits of each service.

Editors asked extensive questions about the product ingredients; for instance, most wanted to know what was in the gel preparation. Other questions addressed whether or not cuticles should be cut, why hands were exfoliated in the spa manicure, and what the specific benefits of aromatherapy oils were. The biggest surprise to all editors: how incredibly natural the tips with liquid and powder overlays looked.


As editors mingled with nail professionals and munched on hors d’oeuvres, they got to view the hottest new take-home products from the professional nail industry, which were featured on a center table. Each item was displayed with a tent card that listed 5 product features and benefits. Editors furiously took notes, so don’t be surprised if you start getting requests for the following featured items:

Creative Nail’s Solar Shield for dry skin, Flowery’s Purifile disinfectable files, Nina’s Fiber Protect nail hardener, Menda’s Twist-Lock pump dispenser, Orly’s Calcium Shield nail builder, Amoresse’s Colour Guard, Tweezerman’s Manicube-packled implements, Gena Lab’s Healthy Hoof protein cuticle treatment, Spilo’s Nail Genie professional manicure machine, Develop 10’s Almost Bare polish, and Peau Corporation’s Onymyrrhe nail growth accelerator and fortifier.

Editors all received samples of the new products, as well as additional items such as Matrix Essential’s cuticle treatment and Aloe Advantages’ Hoof to Nails protein therapy with aloe.


Consumer editors enjoy trend predictions---if they can relate to them. NAILWATCH ’94 presented a sensible, wearable trend that stressed the benefits of professional nail care. Designated “Nearly Natural,” the trend got its name because while natural is the most desirable look, when nature goes awry, nail services can fix the problem.

 “This is a no-nonsense approach,” Jan Bragulla told editors. “Natural itself isn’t enough. Nail services can address such problems as ridges, ski jump nails, and nail biter’s nails. Today, men want cuticles that are in good condition and nails that are buffed and groomed. They’re much more professional than ‘diamond in the rough’ nails. Shorter, rounded nails look more finished than ever, and pale, sheer nail enamels complete the look. Nearly natural is right, because nature didn’t give us everything we want.”


Consumer beauty editor’s attitudes are reflected in magazine articles that millions of clients read. What do they think about nails now? NAILS Magazine polled editors who attended NAILWATCH ’94 and discovered that at least two were currently writing articles on nail services.

Most thought their magazines dedicated a sizable portion of beauty editorial to nails and that the perception that magazines don’t write much about them comes from viewing the magazines as a whole, without breaking out beauty-specific stories.

The “Nearly Natural” trend was right on target, editors unanimously saw nail trends among consumers as short, natural-looking, and sheer in color. Not surprisingly, they did not view nail tips and artificial nails as important, although some editors walked away from the event with a greater understanding of them.

Comments Isadora Fox of Real Beauty magazine, “There are people who are wearing artificial nails and I had no idea. They’re incredibly natural-looking. Also, I didn’t know that you only had to maintain gels once every three weeks and that they could be worn without polish.... I went into the show thinking they’d be tacky-looking, but they don’t look fake at all.” Long nails and nails that are “decorated” get the thumbs down at Vogue magazine, where Anne Weintraub also expressed an interest in gels because of their clean, simple, natural look.

 “The gel product was exactly where the trend is going, and you apply them less often than polish,” she notes.

What about tips and sculptured nails?

 “Personally, I don’t like them, but I have the luxury of having hard nails,” she replies. “If they’re kept short and natural-looking---and if your natural nails are weak and tend to have problems---they’re OK, but it takes too much to maintain them and the expense is too high for the average person.”

This practical approach was reflected by other editors, who also mentioned maintenance and cost as their primary reasons for not stressing artificial nails in their stories. While no one described artificial as unhealthy for natural nails, nail health was of great interest to editors.

 “I’d like to know more about nail treatment products.” adds Weintraub. “We’re interested in innovations more than visuals, ornamentation, or color. I want to know more about hand care... hand massages... what to do for cuticles.”

Fox says she’s gotten mixed messages on how to care for cuticles, indicating she’s gotten wind of the “to nip or not” debate among technicians.

 “I do so much research on nails on my own, but I would like to know more about foot care,” she adds. “Some technicians say you have to credo calluses; others say you have to go to a podiatrist. Then the podiatrist tells you you have to cut them off.”

Clearly, neither dissent among the ranks nor differences among state laws has gone unnoticed. And since editors are ultimately consumers (albeit influential ones), chances are they have the same questions as your clients. The ultimate message: Nail technicians who explain not just the “hows” but also the “whys” of nail care will be the ones who build a bright future.

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