Behind the Scenes: Negative Space Chain & Spiked Nails

by NLS Staff | November 6, 2015

If there is one word to describe Robert Nguyen, this month’s cover tech, it’s exuberant. This multi-talented nail artist has contributed frequently to the magazine, yet waited patiently for several years before he got a chance to do a NAILS cover. Yet in true “Bert the Nail Guy” fashion, he didn’t waste a minute. Formerly an international guest artist for OPI, Nguyen recently became director of education for Color Club. His intricate stiletto nails in honor of the Year of the Dragon graced the cover of VietSALON magazine in 2012.

Robert Nguyen checks his model’s nail shape for precision before getting to the design.

Robert Nguyen checks his model’s nail shape for precision before getting to the design.

While competing all over the world and appearing on the reality show “Nail’d It,” Nguyen began scouting locations for a salon of his own.

Nguyen is friendly, gregarious, and generous with his time.  Despite his hectic schedule, he has a dominating social media presence, and his humorous takes on life are about as mesmerizing as his talent for nail artistry.

This month’s bold cover look, with gold studs and spikes on a white and negative-space background, is a traffic stopper with endless variations for clients’ holiday events.

Here’s how you can get this month’s cover look:

1. Prep nails. Apply OPI Free Forms to the nails. Using OPI Absolute Crystal Clear powder and Absolute Monomer with a Royal Point brush, sculpt out the free edge of the nail to the desired length and create a coffin shape.

2. After applying acrylic over the whole nail, remove the forms and use an OPI Edge 180 to shape the sidewalls and lateral folds. After surface filing, use an OPI Flex 220-280 to smooth out the surface.  Use OPI NAS-99 with an Expert Touch lint-free nail wipe to cleanse the nail and remove oils and dust.

3. Apply two coats of OPI GelColor Don’t Bossanova Me Around to all 10 nails. Cure for 30 seconds in the LED lamp after each coat.

4. Apply a layer of hard gel to the nail and set the charms and studs in your chosen pattern. Cure for 30 seconds in the LED lamp.

5. Using white acrylic paint, paint the color in for the positive portion of your negative space geometric design.

6. Drill a hole near the tip of the nail using a hand drill tool.

7. Insert a charm into the drilled hole.

8. The final nails exhibit a host of cohesive patterns and textures.  

Nail tech Melba Mosley demonstrates reflexology techniques on colleague Apryl Moore, while...


Foot Forward Summit 2019

by Staff

NAILS' second Foot Forward Summit was held in Atlanta August 11-13. Nail techs gathered for speaker presentations, advanced education, and networking.

Nails by Tracey Lee


Up Your Acrylic Skills: Mix Ratio

by Tracey Lee

Even though mix ratio is fundamental to learning about liquid-and-powder acrylic application, it’s still one of the biggest challenges for nail professionals in the salon. The performance and longevity of our product is hugely affected by an incorrect mix ratio.


In our video section, watch salon professionals in action, listen to the advice of salon business experts, and tour inside the world’s top salons.

What's The Difference? Clarifying Commonly Confused Nail Terms


What's The Difference? Clarifying Commonly Confused Nail Terms

by Holly Schippers

You probably know the essential differences between the products and nails terms you use in the salon every day — like soft gel versus hard or LED light versus UV. But could you provide a clear explanation to a curious client? And what about those fuzzy terms that can mean different things to different people? Here's a terminology "cheat sheet" we hope will help keep us all on the same page.

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