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My Other Life: Orma Swearinger, Chemist

by Staff Writer | July 1, 2019

Greenwood, S.C.-based nail tech Orma Swearinger has a special insight into how nail products are made: She has worked at a specialty chemical company for nearly 20 years. She enjoys being part of such a vast field and the problem-solving that is a key part of her role. “My position is a bit different than others I know who work in the field because I get to travel and work with our sales team,” she explains. “I love being able to run the tests and provide answers about how to fix problems or how to make our product work better for a particular process.”

Swearinger was a chemist before she decided to pursue nails, but she balances both jobs. An injury she sustained from a pedicure gave her the idea to become a nail tech. “I made up my mind to go to nail school and become a nail tech to prevent anything like that from happening to anyone else,” she says. She works three days a week as a nail tech — one weekday in the afternoon and all day Friday and Saturday. “This schedule works so well for me since I am always off from my other job on Fridays and Saturdays,” she says.

In the future, Swearinger hopes to combine her areas of expertise by formulating her own products for nails, hair, and skin. “I had an idea for a product I wanted to have formulated by another company,” she explains. “When I inquired about the formulating fees, I was shocked at how much it would cost me, and that fee wouldn’t include the company making several samples for me.” Since she understands the chemistry, she decided to research how to formulate her own products, a process she has enjoyed. She has big goals for the endeavor. “I want to make a difference in the nail industry,” she says. “I hope to be able to use my products on my clients first, and I’d like to sell the products to other nail techs and the public.”

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