In this bimonthly column, nail technician and NAILS Magazine Shows manager Vicki Peters answers readers’ technical questions.

Should You Cut the Cuticles?

Dear Vicki:

I have had a few people ask me to cut their cuticles. I have heard that it isn’t a good idea to cut them, but client ask me to. Should I or shouldn’t I if they request it?

Robin Bowling, Naperville, IL

Dear Robin:

Avoid cutting the cuticle if at all possible. When the skin is cut, there is a much higher risk of infection. First try a liquid cuticle remover. Apply it liberally to the cuticle and surrounding area with a cotton-wrapped orangewood stick. Gently loosen the cuticle either with the orangewood stick or an implement specifically designed for use around the delicate cuticle area. Keep the cuticle moist while working on it.

There will be clients, however, whose cuticles are so dry or ragged that they must be trimmed. In those cases, use well-sharpened cuticle nippers to remove dead cuticle, hangnails, or unevenness. Try to cut the cuticle in a single movement so as to avoid tearing any skin, if you do cut the skin, blot immediately with hydrogen peroxide or an antiseptic.

Always explain the procedures and products you use to the client. You are the trained technician and the best judge of whether a cuticle should be cut. Do not be intimidated to do something you don’t feel is necessary just because you have an obstinate client.

Where Can I Find This Gel System?

Dear Vicki:

I am having difficulty replenishing my nail system stock. I am looking for a system that includes a tip applied to the nail, then a thin layer of gel is painted on and the hand is set in a UV light cabinet. The gel is applied three times and set each time in the cabinet.

The name of the company that used to supply this product was Lektra-Bond of Winter Haven. I have tried, unsuccessfully, to get in touch with them, and I would be most grateful if you could let me know their whereabouts or if there is another product I could use.

Trisha Devereux, Queensland, Australia

Dear Trisha:

After much research, I haven’t been able to track down Lektra-Bond either. However, there are several other marketers of gel systems that work in the same way you describe. I am sending you a copy of our most recent Gel System Buyer’s Guide, which I hope will be helpful.

I would also suggest you call the largest nail distributor in Australia and see if they carry any gel light systems. Since you obviously have a copy of NAILS Magazine available, check the Product Spotlight section as well as the advertisements for more names of gel makers.

Relocated Technicians Having to Readjust

Dear Vicki:

I have been a nail technician for seven years. Recently I moved from New Jersey to the west coast of Florida, and I am having a tough time readjusting to the pay scale. Back in New Jersey I made $300-$400 in just four days. How can I make this adjustment without starving? I am considering changing my career altogether because how can I start over on a commission basis without a following?

I have thought of taking on the following of a woman I know who is retiring, but all her clients wear acrylics and I’m allergic to acrylics. Now what?

M. O’Sullivan, Palm Harbor, FL

Dear Reader:

Relocation is always difficult when it comes to rebuilding a clientele, but with your experience – and perhaps a little more perseverance – you won’t starve.

Start by preparing a resume and taking it to the top full-service salons in your area. Also, call the largest distributors in the area to see if they know of salons that are looking for technicians. They can also tell you what salons you might prefer working for.

When you do find a salon – and you will – promote yourself like crazy. Do manicures and pedicures for your hairstyling coworkers in exchange for referrals. Also, don’t forget to suggest retail items to your clients; retail is the easiest way to increase your income without getting any more clients.

And whatever you do, don’t let your clients see your despair. Keep a smile on your face, pamper your clients, and make them feel like they’re the only thing on your mind. All the best to you.

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