When Feet Go French

This summer, why not get your clients’ feet ready for sandal season by giving them a perfect set of pink-and-whites? Whether you use acrylic or gel, your clients will be certain that pretty French toenails will withstand the tough summer season.

Once the warm rays of summer start to beckon, it seems everyone is eager to slip their feet into something more comfortable — and bare it all. That means their feet have to look good enough to show off, and that includes toes.

This summer, instead of giving your clients pedicures and a polish job, why not offer them enhancements instead? Better yet, why not add a touch of French to their feet?


Kelvin St Pham, an OPI educator and owner of St. K Nail Salon in Gardena, Calif., stresses gels and acrylics aren’t just for hands. “Enhancements are good for people who have small nail beds on their feet,” he says. “Plus, clients only need to get a fill every few weeks because toenails grow slower than fingernails.”

We asked St. Pham to get our model’s feet ready for sandal season. He gave her a French look using both acrylic and gel, with a gel overlay over each. He says he always applies a gel overlay on enhancements because it acts as a sealer, giving the nail protection and added shine.

Gel French Toes (with Gel Overlay)

1. Prep the nail. Remove shine from the nail with a nail dehydrator.

2. Apply base gel. Spread out evenly over the nail, but do not go all the way to the cuticle. St. Pham says to use a light touch, almost as if you’re spreading frosting on cake.

3. Cure for about one minute and 35 seconds.

4. Use white gel to create the smile line. Drip the gel onto the nail. Use the tip of a brush to move the gel on the nail.

5. Shape the smile line. Remove any gel that gets on the cuticle or free edge to avoid lifting.

Acrylic French Toes (with Gel Overlay)

1. Prep the nail. Remove shine from the nail with a nail dehydrator.

2. Apply white to the free edge of the nail.

3. Apply pink on the nail bed. St. Pham customblended several shades of pink powder to create this color. Do not apply pink all the way to the cuticle.

4. Shape the nail using a 180-grit file.

5. St. Pham also likes using a medium carbide bit to take down nail thickness and to shape the nail.

6. Continue to shape the nail with a hand file. Remove any residue from the nail. Apply a clear coat of gel over the nail. Cure for a few minutes. Remove tacky surface. Continue with the rest of the nails.

7. Cure for about 10 seconds, depending on the lamp. The curing will help set the smile line, but not completely cure it.

8. Apply a coat of clear gel right below the smile line. Pull it over the smile line. Remove excess product from the cuticle area.

9. Cure for about one minute and 35 seconds. Apply pink on the nail bed. Smooth it over the nail, avoiding the cuticle area. Cure for about one minute and 35 seconds.

10. Remove tacky surface with a wiping solution. Shape the nail with a 180-grit file. Use wiping solution to remove excess debris.

11. Apply a coat of clear gel to seal the nail, going all the way down to the cuticle. Cure and remove the tacky surface. Continue with the rest of the nails.

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