Today one of my clients came whirling through the door in an unusually excited manner. She had just discovered “ombre” nails over the weekend and was eager to try them.

I was at a loss. I wrinkled up my forehead and tilted my head 30 degrees to the left in an attempt to translate “hombre” into a word that I understood as more than just Spanish for “man.”

In fact, I asked her several times, “Hombre? Like Spanish for man?” It just wasn’t making any sense to me.

So this is how A) I learned about the “ombre” hair trend, and B) I learned that there is a corresponding “ombre” nail trend.

Since I happen to have the entire Internet right here at my side, I quickly did both a web search and an image search (once I understood that it was “ombre,” not “hombre”) while she searched my polish racks for appropriate color choices — even if it meant using traditional polish instead of gel polish! Now that’s a client who’s serious about trying new polish look.

It took me about 30 seconds to learn what both “ombre” hair and nails are, as well as to learn that several fashion resources consider this look to be “so 2010.”

Nevertheless, the client who was sifting through purples at that moment happens to be my most fashion savvy client — yes, despite being considered the birthplace of “rockstar nails,” Tulare county is traditionally woefully behind on getting the memo on all things fashionable.

I love seeing my clients excited about their nails, and I like new ideas and challenges too, so it was kinda fun to find five colors that, more or less, faded from light to dark for the look. But what bugs me is, how did this look go unmentioned in any of my circles for this long?

I am not an anti-social, solo tech sitting in my ivory tower day in and day out bragging about how I know everything there is to know and that I never need learn another thing about my job. I actively read more than one professional networking site on a daily basis, I read two major trade magazines religiously, I have over 4,000 “friends” on Facebook — most of whom are colleagues I actually pay attention to. Why didn’t anyone mention this to me?

It turns out that I have found more information about this style from bloggers — the everyday women who have made a commitment to blogging about their personal passion for nail polish. Bloggers who do not now, nor have they ever worked as licensed salon professionals. Women who know little more about professional nail care than the names of a million different colors of nail polish. This is where I found the most thorough information about this look ... not from professional sources, not from professionals. Not even from so-called “celebrity” manicurists with their high-profile clientele that are getting more and more press in our industry as “go-to” sources for what’s hot in nail care and fashion.

I’m disappointed.

I don’t think the professional nail industry is — or necessarily should be — the dictator of nail trends and fashion. But I do think we should be quick to know what the public is loving at the end of their fingers ... even when what the public is loving isn’t what we love.

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