Dear Vicki:

I would like to know the best way to practice making designs. Should I practice on paper first or on real nails? And can you tell me more about airbrushing?

Yvette Pennington

Baltimore, MD

Dear Yvette:

I assume that you mean artwork when you say design. My suggestion is that you practice on actual nail tips that you glue to either paper or an orangewood stick. If you start out practicing on actual nails, you will have no trouble getting used to confining your designs to the small area. You should go through the entire procedure even when practicing, from background color to top coat. This way you’ll familiarize yourself with how the products apply and their drying time.

A good brush is essential when doing nail art. You can have a good idea and be working with good products, but you won’t be able to execute your design if you’re working with an inferior quality brush.

The most important thing to remember when starting to do nail art is to not get discouraged. The more practice you get handling the tools and the products, the better nail artist you will become. Remember to read manufacturer instructions thoroughly before beginning and call the manufacturer if you need further help. Many manufacturers host classes on how to use their products. Contact your distributor about classes or trade shows in your area.

Airbrushing is a method of doing nail art with an artist’s airbrushing machine. You’ll need special tools and training to begin. Look in your Fact Book for the names of companies who provide this equipment and training.

Why Won’t Tips Stay On?

Dear Vicki:

A client of mine has been using glue-on plastic nails for four years. She started using them because she bit her own nails until they were so short they were disgusting. She takes the plastic nails off every week and puts on new ones. Unfortunately, during the time she has the nails off she continues to bite her own nails. I even noticed what appeared to be mold under the nail bed.

The problem is she’d like me to put nails on for her. I’ve tried putting a nail to see if it would hold. But the whole thing popped right off. What should I do?

Cheri Boll

West Seneca, NY

Dear Cheri:

There is a time when the nail technician should refuse a service and refer the client to a doctor. It sounds like your friend has damaged her nail plates. Applying artificial nails over them may only cause greater damage.

How Do You Treat Peeling Nails?

Dear Vicki:

I have a question regarding nail health. I’d like to know why many women’s nails can’t grow because of peeling layers of nail.. It’s a very frustrating condition.

Rosemarie Ziedman

Wilmette, IL

Dear Rosemarie:

You first need to assess the general condition of these women’s nails, skin, and nail plate. The condition of the nail can indicate something about a client’s general health and nutrition. The client may be prone to peeling because of her lifestyle or the demands of her job. For example, if her job requires her to have her hands in and out of water, that can dry the nails and make them more brittle and susceptible to peeling. Also, if she has a job where her hands and nails are scraped or bumped frequently, that too weakens the nails’ resistance.

There are procedures that you can do that may help. First, get her on a program of regular manicures and conditioning. You might try a warm oil manicure, which is similar to the basic manicure except that the hand is soaked in warm oil.

There are several products - conditioners and strengtheners - on the market designed to help with peeling nails. Try several until you find something that works well for you and your clients.

Can Gel Dry Polish Instantly?

Can a thin coat of clear gel over freshly polished nails dry them instantly after you cure the gel?

Deanna Beem

Hesperia, CA

Dear Deanna:

A coat of gel over nail polish will not dry the polish, but it will protect the polish from wearing and chipping. Wait for the polish to dry thoroughly before applying a thin layer of gel. There are companies that make a thinner clear gel just for this purpose, but any gel should work.

The opinions expressed in this column by Vicki Peters, NAILS Magazine technical consultant and licensed nail technician, do not represent the final word on nail care. However, in her nice years experience Ms Peters has seen thousands of hands and learned many tricks of the trade that she shares in this forum for our readers.

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