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Nails 101: A Student Blog

Week 4: Pedicures, Skin Care, and More Acrylics

by Gregory Fletcher | September 30, 2019
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We’ve now completed one-third of the first semester of nail school.

During week four, we had lectures on pedicures and on skin structure, growth, and nutrition. Those of you who have not attended nail school may be curious, as many of us initially were, as to why we study skin. There are actually a number of reasons why understanding skin is important to a nail technician. But first let me digress a bit and explain about a nail technician’s Scope of Practice.

Simply put, the Scope of Practice (SOP) for a nail technician is the list of services that a nail technician is legally allowed to perform. Specifically, we are allowed to provide such cosmetic treatments to the nails as cutting, shaping, polishing, removing cuticles, applying extensions, and softening of skin. In the case of manicures, we are allowed to work below the elbows and for pedicures we are restricted to below the knees. And as mentioned in previous blogs, we are never to cut live skin. Also importantly, even though we are trained in recognizing certain nail and skin disorders, we are never to offer the client a diagnosis of their possible condition. Instead, we are to recommend they seek medical attention for an actual diagnosis and treatment.

Therefore, one of the important reasons we study about the skin is to be able to recognize potentially unhealthy conditions, such as inflamed skin and infections that should be referred to a medical professional. It is important that professional nail technicians be viewed by the public as the experts in nail care; not only in making their hands and feet look nice, but also concerned with their client’s best interest in health matters as well.

For practicals, we focused on two areas: liquid and powder application and pedicures.

So this week Shirley (my practice hand) received her first set of liquid and powder extensions. Fortunately for me, Shirley was extremely patient and made no complaints about the inordinate amount of time it took me to complete the procedure. I doubt an actual client would allow me to spend the amount of time I did with Shirley; and only to complete one hand! Nor did she object when I twisted her hand about in positions that only a contortionist could endure. Since I have been asked by some readers of this blog to include pictures of my work, I have included a picture of the finished result with Shirley. Although she did not actually say so, I think she was reasonably pleased with the first attempt.

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For the pedicures we paired up with classmates, similar to the manicures we performed the prior week. One of the challenges in pedicures is having the proper Sanitary Maintenance Area (SMA) set up of the implements and materials to be used. If everything needed for the pedicure is not conveniently at hand at the outset, the nail technician will be constantly interrupting the service to find what is needed — and the procedure will never be completed, or at least will be significantly delayed. Fortunately, we have a printed list of items needed to guide us, but it is still a challenge to actually place them in logical places so the service flows smoothly. My partner and I completed our first pedicures on each other, each helping the other to remember all the various steps. While the initial pedicures went well enough, I think Shirley was content to have a break from client duty.

I had three tests this week, receiving As on all of them. The tests covered the subjects of manicuring, chemistry, and nail disorders. While my favorite of the three was manicuring, I understand the importance of knowing basic chemistry, since we work with so many products made up of different chemicals, and of being able to recognize nail disorders (as mentioned above). We also played Kahoot again two times, coming in first and second place in them. (As a reminder, Kahoot is an internet based learning platform in which the instructor projects questions and multiple choice answers on a screen. The players receive points for correctly answering the questions as quickly as possible.)

One of the benefits of working more on the practicals now is that it allows more interaction among the students; consequently, I’m able to become acquainted with more of my classmates. One of the enormously talented Tech I students (beginning class) is Hannah. Hannah is currently challenging herself to complete different nail art throughout the month of October in observance of Halloween. Check out her Instagram page at hannahsnailaddiction. It promises to be spooktacular!

Until next time!

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