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Nails 101: A Student Blog

First Day Jitters

by NAILS Magazine | April 24, 2013 | Bookmark +

Let me describe my first day of class in one word...awesome! Most of the girls there have already been there for a few days; I was the only one who was brand spanking new. Some would ask, “How long have you been going here?” In which I would reply, “For a whole two hours!” A few of them only had one or two more manicures/pedicures to complete before they graduated. Everyone was super nice and extremely helpful in helping me get settled in, showing me where to sign in and out, where to leave my test booklet, and (let me put on my serious face...this one seemed the most important because I was told by every new face on multiple occasions) to mark all my implements and lock my kit because your things have a way of suddenly disappearing.

My instructor is Mrs. Patsy. Let me see, two words to describe her...nice and blunt. She's a sweetheart but if something is not right she will tell you right then and there and send you away to fix it. She made me laugh on many instances when I would overhear her tell someone, “I don't care how much you say she likes her nails thick, no one wants them that one.” She introduced us to an odorless acrylic system. She explained that odorless systems aren’t the best to work with because they can turn yellow. Once we placed our acrylic balls down, we’d have to count to 10 to wait for the oil to surface before we could start sculpting. She was right about it yellowing. We used a white and soft pink acrylic powder to work with and as you can see from the pictures it didn't really make much of a difference. No one liked this one! She explained to us that she has to teach us this method as well because the North Carolina state board requires that we use an odorless monomer in the testing facilities.

I think now is a good time to mention that I have never practiced any type of enhancements. First, we practiced on a worksheet that was inside of a plastic cover. This way we could peel off our work once the acrylic was dry. I could see why an odorless acrylic system is not really the system of choice (definitely won't be my first choice once I start working on clients). For starters once you get your acrylic ball on the tip of the brush and place it on the form you still have to count to 10 before you start shaping it. Once all was complete we waited another four minutes for it to dry before we were able to file off the tacky layer. Could you imagine how long this would take if you did a full set?!

My first attempt (as you can see from the picture) can I put this?...a mess. What?! I'm being honest here. My second attempt was a little better. I'm guessing I calmed down a little, put my nerves away, and reminded myself that this is a practice finger; not a client. We worked on structured odorless acrylic nails all day long (8 hours) and by the end I was starting to feel more comfortable and confident. All in all the day went by pretty fast. I made some new friends (shout out to Crystal and Taylor...thanks for your help), and learned (not mastered) how to do a structured acrylic nail using a form...yeah! I can't wait to see what we're going to be learning next! I also included pictures of what my nails looked like for my first day. Please leave any comments that will help me master this technique and improve my time (we all know time is money).

Helpful Hint: The Elmer's Glue Dots were helpful in keeping the tips in place on the practice finger while we worked and they were easy to remove. I was told that you could buy these at a Super Walmart or your local craft store. I'm definitely picking some up before my next class; they were a big help.

— Stacelyn

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