In all these years that I’ve been doing nails, I still haven’t managed to wrap my brain around how many nail techs put so much effort into developing and perfecting their nail art skills long before — or entirely without — worrying about their nail enhancement skill first.
Maybe this is because we love doing nail art. It’s the fun part of the job. It’s what inspires us to become nail artists. And when nail art is trending, it’s the colorful plumage we use to set ourselves apart from our competition.
I wonder if it also has a connection to the common conception that if you aren’t “artistic,” you won’t be successful as a nail tech? I hear that all the time from clients, friends, family, etc. — “I’d never make it as a nail tech, I can’t even paint a straight line.”
But your art doesn’t look good if it’s being showcased on a poor canvas. And creating our canvas is part of our art.
Sure, there’s only so much you can do with the natural nail. When you build acrylic or gel enhancements over them, there are lots of little tricks you can use to create the illusion of a better canvas — but you have to learn those tricks. In fact, you have to learn how the basics of building the enhancement before you can even worry about tricks. Even if you’re working with the natural nail as your canvas, you need to develop your skills at manicuring in order to give your art the best foundation possible.
I don’t understand why it’s so common to half-ass the canvas. I’m not talking about spending two hours to create a competition-worthy nail, but I am saying there’s no point in doing amazing artwork if the nails you put it on don’t warrant an equal amount of pride.
The techniques for turning out great nails require more than practice; you have to seek out the secrets to those techniques, then practice them. It’s work. And there aren’t any right or wrong or easy answers. It requires effort and dedication.
And it just seems like an awful lot of people in our business don’t have the attention span to put in that effort.
I’m not saying you can’t be successful with sloppy technique — but it sure does show in my Instagram feed.