Tell us a bit about yourself and your career.

My name is Sally Callaghan-Hayward and I’ve been a nail tech for 45 years. I started doing nails in 1973, back when education was almost non-existent. My first set took me seven hours, but I continued to apply sets on myself just to learn. Right when I got my first job, the California law changed to require a nail license to work, so I had to quit my job in order to attend beauty school. We experimented a lot with the amount of product to use and how to use it, and I believe this is what started my allergic sensitivities. I needed education! I started going to classes, and I worked with many great leaders in the industry like Doug Schoon, Jim and Linda Nordstrom, and Athena Elliott. The first nail salon I opened was in Wyoming, but I have since moved to Fort Mohave, Ariz., and have my own nail shop called Nails Styles by Sally located inside of Hot Locks Salon. I’m still allergic to most monomers and acid primers, but I’ve learned how to manage working with these products every day. As I’ve gotten older, I find eating right and exercise, especially stretching my legs and wrists, keeps me going.

What are your health challenges?

I have contact dermatitis, as well as a fused neck and back. The fact that I am old is its own challenge, but my goal is to keep working as long as I can. I love doing nails. Throughout my career, I have always taken a short walk in between clients to keep my blood flowing and energy up, and more recently, I’ve started to do stretches between clients. I have allowed myself more time for services and I try to balance my schedule so I’m doing less filing. It can also be hard to eat healthy while at the salon, but I always eat balanced, healthy meals at home.

How have you maintained your health?

I’ve been very active my whole life. I have ridden my motorcycle all over the western states and Canada, and throughout my life, I’ve also ridden horses, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and snow mobiles, as well as gone hiking and camping. I was an active EMT for twelve years in Wyoming while I had my nail salon. I was also a Citizen’s Academy Sheriff and assisted in search and rescues. Although I’ve slowed down a bit in my old age, I’ve always been an on-the-go type of woman, keeping both my mind and body busy.

What are the results of your healthy lifestyle?

My result is being 71 years old and having the ability to work five, sometimes six, days a week, at eight to 10 hours a day, which I love to do. Not everyone my age, or even those younger than I am, can say the same, so I’m proud that I’ve made my health a priority and taken care of my body.

What’s your advice for other nail techs who want to have a long lasting career in nails?

Start balancing your work and health early in your career. Make it a priority, and if you want, you can still be working when you are my age!

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about