We’ve known nail tech Melissa De La Cruz for many years. (She was the person who did the rock star toenails on our December 2007 cover!)
A nail tech for 22 years, she’s always had a passion for her profession. “I can honestly say I found my calling,” De La Cruz told us. Most days, she runs her own nail business within Tiffany’s Luxury Medical Spa in Visalia, Calif. But for the past eight years, she’s also been a key member of the Young Nails education team.
As a senior mentor and international educator for Young Nails, De La Cruz travels all over the world educating other nail techs. She teaches the OWCs (One Week Courses) with Greg Salo and Tracey Reierson. These week-long boot camps cover either Mastering Gel or Mastering Acrylic. She also teaches the shorter two-day Road Shows. “Working for Young Nails has not only helped me take my own personal business and talent to the next level, but it also has helped me take so many other nail techs there as well,” says De La Cruz. “My biggest reward for teaching other nail techs is seeing their success after they take one of our classes. To see the joy and confidence they leave with is priceless.”
In the salon, De La Cruz is lucky to have clients who trust her to create anything she is inspired to do. “I have an awesome clientele. Gel is all the rage right now so I mainly do gel on my clients.” She notes that the most popular shape is the “almonetto”, which is a hybrid of an almond and stiletto nail. So that’s what we had her do for this month’s cover. (By the way, De La Cruz told us she’d charge $115 in the salon for a set of our cover nails.)
Here’s how you can do these nails:
1. Prep the nails and apply Protein Bond. Apply forms to all 10 nails. Apply Synergy Base Gel and cure under a UV light for 30 seconds. Then apply Synergy Clear Sculpture to sculpt a thin free edge. Cure for 30 seconds.
2. Remove the forms, carefully separating the form from the thin layer of gel. Using the Magic Wand, gently pinch a C-curve. File the free edge to desired length and shape.
3. Apply either Black Mani Q Gel Polish or Black Kaleidoscope Gel Paint on all 10 nails. Cure for 30 seconds. Apply two coats for full coverage.
4. Using an eyeshadow brush, apply the new Young Nails Sapphire and Amethyst Pigments to the sticky layer of the nails in random spots. Make sure you are applying the pigments thinly. Take your finger to press the pigment into the sticky layer.
5. Apply a thin layer of Base Synergy Gel to the nail. Doing one hand at a time, apply Blue Berry and Raspberry Icy Mylar, Gold Foil, and Moody and Celebrant Confetti to random spots on the nails. Cure for 30 seconds.
6. Create your own custom gel colors. (See below) Apply both colors by floating the gel colors in random spots. Cure for 30 seconds.
7. Apply Build Synergy Gel over the entire nail. This encloses your design, plus builds the strength and structure of your nails. Cure for two minutes. Wipe off the sticky layer on all 10 nails using Swipe. Using a YN-99 Electric File, file the nails into your desired shape. (Melissa created an almond-shape she refers to as the “almonetto.”) Use Swipe again to remove all the gel dust.
8. Apply Mani Q Top Coat or Finish Gel to all 10 nails. Cure for two minutes. Use Mani Q cleanser to wipe off the sticky layer. Apply Rose Oil to all 10 nails.
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