Now that sculpting with colored acrylic is so hot, why not make those nails even hotter by sculpting perfectly shaped moons? Your clients will swoon for moons.

Moons have a long history in the nail industry. For instance, in the 1920s “moon manicures” were the sought after service of the time. Manicurists would polish the nails, leaving the moon and free edge free from color. They would trim the cuticles, file the free edge, and paint the nails without painting over the moons. People recognized the natural beauty of the elegant crescent and tried to flaunt it as much as possible.

Now, with all of the advancements in products, we are seeing an integration of cutting-edge techniques with classic styles. For instance, gels, crystal nails, and sculpting with colored acrylics are rising in popularity. Along with this new style of nails, some nail technicians are adding more flair and distinction to their client’s nails by borrowing a classic motif – sculpted moons. Moons are back in a big way, enhancing the latest in nail techniques and adding a classic touch to trendy styles.

However, before you start sculpting away, there are some common mistakes that every nail technician should be aware of. Some of these mistakes include shaping inconsistent moons, not applying enough product, applying too much product, sculpting the moon too high on the nail bed, and using an unattractive color combination.

Although moons are not always regarded, some competitors are sculpting moons to give them a little edge. When it comes to competing, it is crucial to get the moon perfect. “From a judge’s viewpoint, moons have to be crisp like a smile line or free edge. If you can’t do a perfect moon, don’t bother making one. It has to look perfect or else it looks awful. It must look really pretty,” says Juli Miller of Lady’s Choice in Canton, Ohio.

Tara Lambert of Carlos Hair Designs in Ocean Isle, N.C., says that moons can hurt your score if they are not done right. “Don’t do moons in competition unless you can sculpt them perfectly. Judges won’t count it against you if you don’t have them, but they will deduct from your score if you have them and they are less than perfect. Moons can enhance the dramatic look of the nails, but I would advise against doing them unless you can make them perfect.”

It’s All About Ratio

Consistency is the key to achieving great looking moons. Tom Holcomb-Bozadjian, an EZ Flow educator and owner of Venus Hair Emporium in Ocala, Fla., says the shapes of the moons have to be consistent and he prefers to use a drier ration. “I use a drier consistency and I put it right on the nail. Then I shape it so that it is consistent on every nail, especially the index, middle, and ring finger.”

Britta LaMascola of A French Connection Day Spa in Grants Pass, Ore., suggests an uneven ratio. Everything depends on the powder-liquid combination. It is not so much 50-50, but more like two-thirds powder to one-third liquid.” She moistens the back of the nail with some monomer so that the ball doesn’t stick, and so that it is easier to move and shape. “Less is more. Moons are like smile lines but the other way around.”

Terri Lundberg, owner and founder of the Nail Technician Mentoring Institute in Eagan, Minn., says that a wetter mixture of powder and liquid works well. “Apply the moon ball to the cuticle area and then bring your burst to a point to direct the acrylic to the right area. You want a clean, crisp edge.” It is good to make sure the small ball of acrylic is not too thick at the cuticle area. “Smaller in size is better because you can easily fit the moon to the nail bed.”

It is important to use a small ball when sculpting moons. “I place a small ball near the cuticle area and allow the product to spread. Then I clean it up like a smile line. If you have too much on the nail bed, it can be clunky and harder to clean up,” says Lambert, who likes using a drier ball so that she can work with it and not have it run. “Size always matters when it comes to moons. You have to keep it small,” Lambert says.

Color, Color, Color

The moon’s beauty comes from having the right blend of colors. Holcomb-Bozadjian suggests mixing certain colors for different types of nail beds. “I would mix a stark white powder with a regular white for a high dome nail beds. For flatter nail beds I use regular white, because you have to build the moon more to get that arch.” When filing, Holcomb-Bozadjian says to be careful not to file out the moon and keep in mind that the back edge (near the cuticle) should be beveled in, but not the whole moon.

“Mix the powders so that you get a lighter shade. Avoid dark color combinations,” says Lambert. The moon also needs to be consistent from one side to the other and thin across the top.

LaMascola blends different powders to achieve a natural look. “I blend a regular white product with competition white so that it’s not so white. Once you start filling you’ll lose of the white, so I build my moon a little thicker so that is stays visible under the pink.” She says that the color also can’t be too light or else it fades away when you file it, and it can’t be too dense because it can look fake.

Lundberg also agrees with blending colors to get a very natural-looking moon. “Start with natural or clear powder and then add white powder, testing as you go along,” she says. For added glamour, Lundberg suggests using sparkly, iridescent or even light-colored acrylic powders.

One More Thing

Now that you know how to sculpt moons, there are basic elements to keep in mind and other aspects to consider. Practice makes perfect, according to LaMascola. “Fin a natural moon and practice sculpting moons. Moons should be consistent and have the right shape. A natural moon is the best guide.” She also suggests getting the moon as close to the cuticle as possible to give it a natural illusion.

“Make your moons proportionate to the size of the nail. You don’t want to make it too wide and not too long,” says Holcomb-Bozadjian.

Lundberg advocates lots of practice. She suggests using practice fingers or practice sheets to refine skills. To magnify the beauty of the moon, she suggests using clear instead of pink powder.

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