This month’s assignment is to recap the top discussion topics-those that garnered the greatest number of responses-on Beauty’s Nail Tech mailing list over the past 12 months. This one was not as easy as you might think! Very often a topic is “re-discussed” several times over a period of several months, often with only slight twists to the questions and responses. Obviously I cannot include all of the responses to the discussions here due to space and time constraints. If you would like to read some of these discussions, look up this article at the website in the Aricles/En@ils section ( and you can link to individual topics from there.

June 2004-Gels was very frequent topic throughout the year. Rhonda Kibuk in Ford City, Pa., started a thread asking for help with a French gel back-fill. She included in her post the procedure she thought she should use-using white polish for the tip. Malissa Traver in Clifton Park, N.Y., suggested running out to purchase a brush-on white gel. Lynnette Madden in East Greenville, Pa., simplified Rhonda’s technique: “No wiping and buffing, just put the white gel right on top of the base layer. You will waste too much time doing it the way you wrote.” Karen Hodges in Key West, Fla., replied that although she has used white polish on occasion, it was only for those not wanting to commit to a permanent French look.

July 2004-Facing some pretty tough issues, Jeannie in California wrote: “Am I feeling sorry for myself? Yes, I am. It’s so easy to quit something you hate, but how do you quit something you love? I’ve never had anything I loved doing, and now that I found it, I can’t have it. Sweet sorrows!” Jeannie went on to describe problems with her back, headaches, and tingling in her arms and hands. Three doctor visits later, the answer was stress and ligament damage in her neck. Rose in Virginia recommended Jeannie look into becoming an educator or taking a sales position in the industry. Pam in Glendale, Ariz., suggested altering her table by lowering her side with a 2” to 3” drop to ease the discomfort in her neck and back and reminded her to stretching exercise at every opportunity.

July 2004-CC in San Marcos, Texas, asked how to deal with pedicures on elderly diabetics: “Does anyone know the proper procedures and precautions for these type of pedicures? I know a few things, but I’d like to see what you all could offer on the subject. Safety is a huge part of my philosophy.” Joanne Buttacavoli in Chicago explained she is a diabetic and knows first-hand: “The numbness alone puts us at great risk for not feeling too much. Massage is not a part of good foot care for diabetics. You could just nick a diabetic, and because of the lack of feeling, especially in the elderly, it could go untreated and an infection can result.”Ann Keeney in Winchendon, Mass., contributed, “You can contact the American Diabetes Association take a class on caring for the elderly and diabetics. Call your local association and see if they offer a class and go for it.”

September 2004-Hodges shared some insight on her method of conducting herself in the salon. “I have this idea that I need to always be professional’ with clients, even if we are also friends outside the salon. What this means is that I am a chameleon. With some clients it’s the arts, theatre, and ‘what have you read lately?’ with some it’s how’s the situation going with whatever is going on in their lives. And  sometimes it’s you won’t believe what happened on my last date! With some appointments barely more than a few words are exchanged because the client wants to just relax in peace and quiet. I rarely give advice because that could so easily backfire! I mostly try to provide a safe place for them to vent- non-judgmental and confidential.”

Hope O’Corner in Daytona Beach, Fla., likes to “feel out the client” to see where their bi-weekly conversations will go. “I love to have a good time and make clients feel comfortable. No politics or religion talk allowed! I do not disclose any information on my personal life, no matter how much they beg and plead. I make eye contact when they sit down and again when I am done. During the service I mostly listen and talk to hands. I follow the client’s lead and adjust my demeanor to theirs and take it from there.” Sherri Evans-Dahin in Yuma, Ariz., added to the discussion, “the first few visits with them are usually more professional, but as you get to know them you adjust accordingly, although I still make sure they know what I’m doing and why and get in my recommendations for retail and add-on services.”

October 2004- Diana Bonn in Muncie, Ind., was recently appointed to the Indian board and often shares with everyone information from the proceedings. After one such post, Diana received so many private e-mails asking how to also become involved, she posted a lengthy and detailed informational post. “Read your law book. Have you ever gone to a board meeting? Do you know who the board members hired/appointed? Do you qualify? Are nail techs allowed? Do you have to be licensed for so many years? Have you asked other board members how they got appointed? You have to see if your board is ‘tech-friendly,’ as I call it. Our board is super about letting the audience talk. I have heard of some boards where you actually have to write for permission to attend meetings. So you need to see if it is open to the public. Contact your board and find out.”

October 2004-What started out as a question about employment laws by Ruth Windsor in Dearborn Heights, Mich., turned into a discussion on the pros and cons of unionizing the nail industry!

“Yes, I belong to this list and it allows me to whine on and on and seek advice and direction. I also belong to many associations that have great technical advice, but I am looking for some fair labor laws and caps on employers. I guess I am now becoming the Norma Rae of the Nail World. No, the fumes have not gone to my head! How come there isn’t union for us? Who is standing up for us and going to be there when we are wronged?”

Pam in Peoria, Ill., sympathizes, but has a different tilt on the subject, “Who says there isn’t? an employee is an employee. All employees are covered by state and federal laws as to safety in the workplace, taxes paid, employee rights as outlined by the federal government, unemployment insurance, worker’s comp (if required by your state), and federal unemployment insurance.”

November 2004- While reading one of the messages to the mailing list, Wendy Updegrave in East Lyme, Conn., was reminded that she had to fire a waxing client she sees only once a month. “The problem is she is derogatory toward me and my salon. She has comments about the plumbing, signage, and the hair salon itself, etc. I am irritated every time she is on the book. I have fired a client before, but I was able to state specific infractions such as being late or a no-show. This one I just don’t like, and her money isn’t worth the aggravation. Any ideas?”

Pam in Ohio, gave Wendy a prompt response, “When they call to book, I tell them, “You know, Jane, I don’t think you’re happy with the services you receive with me, so I think you need to find a nail tech who can make you happy. I’ve really tried to please you in the past, and I just feel that I’m somehow not meeting your expectations. I have a few nail techs that you might want to call. Be firm and don’t cave in.”

 Janet McCormick (who has moved too many times to assign her a city or state!) agreed with Pam’s speech, “I got the job of divorcing the clients. I would take their payment, then walk outside with them and give them the exact speech that Pam mentioned. Many times they called back in a month or two, asked for me, and apologized. Then they would ask to come back and would promise not to be nasty, or something along that order. I did let them come back to the person they requested. We would treat them as though it had never happened and we would have a well-behaved client forever. If they did not come back, good riddance to bad rubbish, is my thinking. And I agree, they are usually people who everyone knows are complainers anyhow.”

April 2005- Anna Alonso came out of lurker mode to get some opinions. “I love clear tips because they’re such a nice canvas for nail art, and they’re just pretty, but they get those tiny little cracks starting from the free edge of the natural nail and slowly creeping out. I’ve tried them with gel and acrylic and it always happens. Am I doing something wrong?”

Partrice Parker in Chicago added that she too is having this problem and said she is trying a different brand to see if it is the composition of the tips or something else.

Sheryl Goldberg in Illinois answered back, “Make sure you do not get any prep or dehydrators on the tips after blending. The chemicals continue to eat into the tips causing the cracks. Kammie in California suggests, “You might be sizing the tips too small and stretching them to fit the nail bed. Try fitting them larger and filing them down.”

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