When NAILS Magazine phoned nail technician Kim Morgan to ask her to do the nails for the July cover, she was ecstatic. It was her first photo shoot and a major learning experience for her, she says. “It was very tedious — everything I did absolutely counted,” she points out, right down to the flawless polish, which took her an hour to complete. “I couldn’t believe it took me that long to finish polishing them — the nails had to be perfect and precise.” Polishing the nails for the cover helped improve and fine-tune Morgan’s polishing skills, she says, which will benefit her in nail competitions.
Morgan is a top competitor in decathlon nails, a competition created by NAILS Magazine Shows to test a nail technician’s ability in five different applications. The tricky part to doing decathlon nails is using different products and getting the finished nails to look the same. Decathlon nails include a sculptured nail, an acrylic tip and overlay, a fiberglass tip and overlay, a gel tip and overlay, and an acrylic product on the thumbs using a drill only to shape and finish the nails.
During the photo shoot, Morgan learned some tricks about doing nails for the camera. She learned, for example, to polish the underside of the nails, to use clear acrylic powder instead of her usual pink and white because white can show through the polish, and not to use a top coat because it’s too shiny and doesn’t photograph well.
Morgan began doing nails about eight years ago. She was a floral designer at the time, but, when her own nail technician told her how much money she was making doing nails, Morgan jumped on the bandwagon. Five; years ago, three years alter receiving her cosmetology license, Morgan took up shop at her mom’s salon, Hair Force, in Winter Haven, Fla., where her sister also works.
Her ultimate career goal? “To have my own acrylic product line with my name on it,” she proudly says, which shouldn’t be too far off in the future since she has already created and designed the products. “I never dreamed I would ever come this far,” she says. Given her talent and determination, it’s no surprise that Morgan is on the verge of achieving her aspirations.
Kim Morgan’s 10 Tips For Decathlon Nails
- Always pre-blend the tips before gluing them onto the nail.
- Use a slow-setting competition-color acrylic product to perfect your smile line.
- Make sure to purchase a transparent fiberglass.
- After applying and blending the fiberglass or gel nail tip, carefully buff the nail to remove any scratches from the surface.
- Choose a tip that has a high C-curve already built in.
- Use a 3-way buffer to get a high-gloss shine on an acrylic product; then, using your finger, place a small amount of acetone on the smooth side of the buffer, then finish buffing for an ultimate shine.
- After the competition, ask the judges and other competitors for some suggestions or advice on how you can improve your technique.
- When doing a sculptured nail, use a wooden dowel to get a more accurate C-curve. After removing the form, place the dowel underneath the free edge and pinch the sculpted nail down around the dowel.
- To prevent air bubbles when applying acrylics, use a very small, wet ball of product.
- After applying a gel nail, buff the nail, wipe the nail clean, then add a very thin layer of gel to get a high-gloss shine.
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