Nails 101: A Student Blog

Weeks 14-15: Safety and Smarts!

by Brittany Machelle | May 27, 2015

Week 14:

After this week, I am convinced that I can perform a manicure/pedicure service with my eyes closed (I do believe that it may be frowned upon, however). Also, I have officially read and been tested on my entire textbook, so I spent this week practicing for State Board (check out my set up).

I’ve noticed that a lot of my classmates have written-test anxieties, so to anyone else with the problem, just know that this is a very hands-on industry and that should be your secret weapon when taking a written exam while in this program. Always think back to what you do on the clinical floor; close your eyes and walk yourself through it.

Week 15:

This week the health-freak in me came out! I am getting close to the end of my schooling and I have been researching products to use and places to work. While doing so, IT happened…dun dun dun! I ran across the New York Times article, “Perfect Nails, Poisoned Workers.” Can we say scary?! The article talked about how unsafe some of the chemicals and procedures were for nail techs years ago, and how these chemicals greatly affected their health because they didn’t take correct safety precautions. The women in this article, their fingerprints slowly disappearing due to the chemicals they touched, suffered from lung damage due to poor ventilation, miscarriages, and even their children having birth defects. Again, scary!

Of course, I’m not giving up on this industry that I love so much, so my research continued but with a more health-conscious approach. My questions became:

  • Where do I purchase gloves that are latex free and acetone proof (most gloves melt at the sight of acetone)?
  • Does the face mask really help or should I be wearing a gas mask?
  • Why don’t we offer clients face mask as well?
  • Can I provide chemical-free natural nail services and still make money?
  • Why are the ventilation systems so expensive and WHY HAVEN’T we discussed this in school?

Last but most important: The UGLY part of nail school is that…my natural nails look horrible! I know that sounds bad coming from a future nail professional, but I have practiced applying acrylics and gels so much that my lovely nails have lost their desire to repair themselves quickly. Why didn’t anyone warn me about this? Take a look at my poor hands!

Until next time,

— Brittany Machelle

Editor’s Note: For answers to some of Brittany Machelle’s health and safety questions, go to

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