Call them ongles or uñas, nägel or negle, they’re still nails and they deserve the attention of a skilled professional — no matter where you live. These international techs share what life is like in the nail industry in their slice of the world.
Nina Ilovar [owner]
Native Language: Slovenian
Time in Profession: 5 years
Is licensing required? To become a nail tech and start your own business, you need to attend either a cosmetics school or a school for hairdressers. If you want to work in cosmetic salon, then a nail course will do.
What was your training? I visited a school and took a few nail courses.
Nail technicians are called... Maniker
“Nails” are... Nohti.
Most salons are... Most salons are full-service.
The most popular nail style is... Square shape, natural, French.
The most popular services are... Gel nails. Acrylics are not very popular in Slovenia — they have a bad reputation.
What are your specialties? My specialties are art nails. I’m very fond of doing colored and artistic nails. I don’t like French nails because they’re always the same.
What are your clients like? Women from ages 20 to 45 years old, working class.
Appointments or walk-ins?They have to make appointments in my salon, but in other salons, they accept walk-ins.
Well-known brands? The most popular is Magnetic, but others are popular as well: LCN, Nillandia, SNC, NailSpa, Medeor.
Are there any major trade shows in your country? We only have one trade show in a year but it’s very small, so we visit Italian shows.
What are your best educational resources? Nail courses, trade shows, the Internet, and magazines.
Teresa Mendes [owner]
Native Language: Portuguese
Time in Profession: 2 years
Is licensing required? This practice is very recent in Portugal. To become a nail stylish you need to take lessons. There aren’t a number of hours defined yet. But in my salon, the learning process is 42 hours and is divided in practice and theory lessons. We award a nail technician certificate.
What was your training? I’m a Belgium Gel (Miyoshi) representative for Portugal and I went there to take lessons. In Portugal, I did the same.
Nail technicians are called... Estilistas de Unhas or Técnicas de Unhas.
“Nails” are... Unhas.
Most salons are... Both
The most popular nail style is... The square French nail is the most popular, but nail art is growing and most of our clients are asking us to do nail art. The red and the white colors are the most popular ones.
The most popular services are... Gels nails are the most popular now.
What are your specialties? Gel Nails are my specialty. I love to make a nice French white with a nice, soft nail art design on one or two nails.
What are your clients like? Because our salon has a nice image, we have women from all classes. But I would say the industry has middle and upper class clients in general.
Appointments or walk-ins? It depends, but most salons work with appointments.
Well-known brands? Miyoshi and Nails21 are the most popular.
Are there any major trade shows in your country? Yes, we have two beauty trade shows by year. One is in the north and the other is in the south of the country. The beauty trade show is about beauty and hair.
Educational Resources: Most of the info and education comes from the Internet and from the Miyoshi Gel factory. We don’t have a Portuguese magazine about nails and I want to make one!
Michel Smith [owner]
Mei Nails & Beauty
Native Language: English
Time in Profession: 2 years
Is licensing required? I attended Bellevue Beauty in Brisbane. To receive a certificate in nail technology, you must perform a minimum number of treatments on clients to prove your competency. As your skills progress, they also shorten the timeframe in which you are required to complete them. You must also have an excellent understanding of sanitation and hygiene, skin and nail disorders, safe working practices, etc.
Unfortunately in Australia, we do not have strict and/or monitored licensing requirements and legislations.
What was your training? I worked full time as a legal secretary and was studying three nights a week at college and practicing on family and friends on weekends.
Nail technicians are called... nail technician
“Nails” are... nails
Most salons are... nails only. A few hair salons have a nail technician who rents a space. Very few day spas or beauty salons offer artificial nails or enhancements and only go as far as doing gel pedicures.
The most popular nail style is... The most popular is still the square shape, but some middle-aged women are going for the shorter rounded shape. Professionals or office workers stick with the standard French look while hairdressers or people who work in retail go for something a little edgier with glitter and/or color. Gel toes are also quite popular among everyone as is gel polish on natural nails.
The most popular services are... Acrylic nails done in reverse application, with either a standard French look or color or glitter. Gel toes with glitter or gel polish is another favorite. And nail art, whether it’s stamping, handpainted, embedding or something as simple as a decal finished with a gel top coat.
What are your specialties? I love acrylics. Reverse application with a cover pink color is my favorite. It gives you the illusion of a long nail plate, which is feminine and sexy. You can create a defined smile line and the cover pink really makes the color on the free edge pop, regardless of whether it’s a natural or French look or something bright and colorful. Embedding nail art is another favorite — anything from mylar to fimo to glitter and sparkles.
What are your clients like? Clients’ ages range from 17 to 60. They are mainly working class with a few professionals and quite a number of brides and bridal parties. My dad is also a sucker for a good mani and pedi but I think it’s more for the massage.
Appointments or walk-ins? Most places will require a booking but there are a lot of nail bars that have a production line setup and will take walk‑ins.
Well-known brands? Creative, NSI, OPI, and BioSculpture are the most well-known brands in Australia and have been used for many years. Young Nails is also really starting to take off.
Are there any major trade shows in your country? Once a year, we have the International Spa and Beauty Expo, which is held in Sydney around August or September. There are also many suppliers and wholesalers who hold training courses on specific products or simple refreshers to keep you updated on the latest industry trends and techniques.
What are your best educational resources? NAILS Magazine, the Internet, tutorials on the Young Nails and OPI websites, attending classes, tutorials on YouTube, and practicing and experimenting.