I’ve said it before and it looks like I’m going to have to keep on saying it, but when it comes to health and safety in Nail Technology then Education really is key!
Every day on public forums my team and I read posts about clients and technicians experiencing serious skin reactions and allergies to nail products. THIS SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING.
The majority of nail enhancement products contain some form of acrylate. These chemicals have the potential to be extremely dangerous and they can be major allergens and irritants if they are incorrectly handled. But there really is no excuse for technicians not understanding this. It is the absolute duty of every professional technician to ensure not only his/her safety but also that of her clientelle, and that means understanding and using nail products safely and appropriately.
It never ceases to amaze me when clients express surprise when they are i) asked to fill in client record cards ii) asked questions about allergies and reactions and iii) are required to take skin tests. These processes are there for a reason. They are to protect clients and technicians from developing allergies and reactions to potentially dangerous chemicals.
The massive rise in popularity of nail enhancements over the last two decades has brought with it a market for products that is widening daily. The majority of these products are perfectly safe…. when used correctly, but herein lies the problem. So many of these products are available on the open market to anyone, regardless of their professional status or level of education. The industry has seen a recent influx of unregulated products, particularly gel products from China which contain much higher than usual quantities of photoinitiators and HEMA. Used incorrectly or by the untrained, these products have a much higher likelihood of causing skin reaction.
For years I and many of my nail colleagues across the UK have campaigned vociferously for regulation and registration in this industry, all to no avail. We will continue our campaign until our government puts in place a licensing system for professional therapists and salons, but until this happens please BE AWARE.

Tootsie Time

Oh yes! It’s here! That time of year when you finally get those hoofs out of hibernation and realise you actually have Hobbit feet. Argh…the shock. What can you do? You can’t possibly wear sandals with hairy toes and overgrown toe nails with the remains of the Ruby Ritz Red Glitter polish you had for the Christmas Party.
Well that’s enough about MY feet……. So, Pedicures are definitely the way forward, and these days there are so many different treatments it can be difficult to know what you need. So here is a little info to help you make an informed choice.
The word pedicure simply means care of the foot (Pedi=foot and Cura=care) but it can take several forms so here are some of ours.
Pristine Pedicure: Our luxury treatment with a soak, scrub, mask and massage along with a polish colour. This intensive pedicure includes treatment to help eliminate hard skin and calluses.
Funky Feet: A Spa treatment with a foot mask and massage plus colour.
Plastic Fantastic: A Shellac treatment for the feet without the foot soak (Shellac really isn’t very fond of toes that have been soaked!)

Of course, if your feet need a more “industrial” overhaul because of ingrown toenails or cracked hard skin then it’s always a good idea to have a chat with the chiropodist. And remember that we can also repair and rebuild damaged toe nails with acrylic

Finally, to all those out there who say “eeew, I don’t know how you can touch peoples feet,they’re minging”….(and I get this daily)….I have just one question. Which foot do you use to wipe your bottom then?

I rest my case.

Why do I need a pink screwdriver?

OK, this may be viewed by some as a highly controversial statement Screenshot_20190306-004237_Amazonbut seriously, why do women need pink screwdrivers?
In fact why do we need pink anything?
We’re told it’s all about equality of opportunity, women should be allowed to do anything men can… explain the pink to me because I really don’t get it. It’s not empowering, it’s patronising! Yet here we all are celebrating it like it’s some kind of epiphany! So next time you see a lovely pink product, designed especially for women (because of course we’d never be able to use the real thing now would we?), just remember that it’s a pile of disingenuous poop aimed at selling you something you already have.
So to all those people out there that still think I need help to be equal….I’ve had my own drill for a quarter of a century. In fact it’s one of the best presents I’ve ever had, but I DON’T NEED A PINK TOOLKIT.

UV Lamps Cause Skin Cancer…..says the Daily Mail….AGAIN

Once again the good old Daily Fail has published misleading and potentially worrying article about the dangers of painting the nails.

So, we thought we’d just clarify a few things for all of our clients.

1) We don’t use UV technology in the salon, we use LED. But even if we did we’d like to make it clear that a typical fluorescent ceiling light produces more than 200 times the UV that a UV nail lamp does! All UV lamps use UV-A not UV-B. Put simply, using a UV Lamp to cure your nails is the equivalent of standing in the sun for an extra 17 seconds once a fortnight!

2) Our lamps don’t ‘dry’ nails. If you don’t believe us try painting your nails with nail polish from Boots and see what happens! The lamps are designed to cure the gel (which is a chemical acrylate) through a process of polymerisation. The gel contains photo initiators which react with the wavelengths emitted by the light.

3) No polish in our salon contains formaldehyde, toluene or dibutyl phthalate. Most nail polish brands ( with the exception of the cheap imported polishes on Ebay) stopped using these chemicals well over a decade ago.

4) Gel polishes don’t ruin your nails. Badly trained technicians who do not apply or remove the polish correctly ruin your nails. Acrylate allergy is very unpleasant but fortunately very rare. It can be avoided by using a trusted brand and following manufacturers instructions. Putting gel on your own nails at home without any training really isn’t a good idea. It may not look like rocket science, indeed it isn’t, but there is science involved and it’s crucial that you understand it.

5) At Nail Divas our technicians are properly trained and qualified before they are allowed to work on the public. Being a nail technician is a lot more difficult than it looks and requires plenty of scientific study and practice. Between us we have 40+ years of experience. We take customer safety very seriously and if we thought any product was potentially dangerous we wouldn’t use it….simplezzz.


The Under-representation of Women in Entrepreneurial Roles.

New Initiative to Increase Number of Women Entrepreneurs in Wales

Well, I hate to say it but……I TOLD YOU SO!

Any of you who know me well will also know that I’ve been banging on about this for many years. I’m delighted that the Welsh Government has finally had the “balls” to admit this, if  not a little disappointed and frustrated that it has taken them so long to realise that over 50% of the workforce has been marginalised for decades.

It’s almost 50 years since The Equal Pay Act and the Dagenham womens strike and still women are under paid and massively under represented at senior management levels and above.


Pedicures made simple!

We bet you didn’t know that Ikea did pedicures. Well…to be honest they don’t really, but they do make some brilliant bits of kit that can be hacked to make a great pedicure station.

One rather cold and wet day in January, we sat at work looking at our rather forlorn old sofa and suddenly had a brainwave. “Why don’t we build ourselves a pedicure platform?”. It would save space and make it easier on our backs. Great idea, but where do we start, after all we’re nail technicians not carpenters…..(except Sian, who is actually a Technology Teacher!)

So Sian got the enviable job of working out how to create a platform suitable and strong enough for 2 or 3 clients.

We didn’t have the luxury of a huge space so whatever we built needed to be compact and provide storage space for all the pedicure kit.

Then Sian remembered that we had an old Ikea Expedit (now Kallax) cabinet sitting in the stock room. Out it came!

Perfect fit! Lightbulb moment….”maybe an Ikea Hack will do the job”

With a budget of under £100, this had to be good.

A trip to Ikea in Cardiff and a little bit of lateral thinking and some angle brackets to connect the units and we had the base.

We also reinforced the outside cubes with shelves and the inner ones with supports.

Like everything else at Nail Divas it needed to be monotone and we were lucky to find some great accessories!

Of course, anyone who has visited Nail Divas in Cardiff will already know that as well as being great at nails, we’re also damn good at design on a budget. Take a look at a few of these of Sian on one of her “design missions”…..

From this……

To this! With the help of the local charity shop.

Oh, and if you’d like to test out the pedicure station and our pedicures, or even take a class, here are the details.

Can I do my own nails?

I’m sure you have all seen the cheap home UV gel polish kits available at Amazon and on Ebay, even Boots are selling a home kit. Many of you have probably considered buying one to save yourself time and money, especially at times when you’re strapped for cash (of course austerity is now officially over! I wish someone would tell my bank this!).

But, have you considered the potential problems as well as the advantages? We hear it regularly at the salon…”I’ve watched you do it, it can’t be that difficult can it?”. Unfortunately, the truth is that actually it’s much more difficult than it looks, and that’s just to get an acceptable finish. There are all sorts of other issues you need to consider first.

  1. Do you know how to correctly prepare the nail plate? If you don’t complete this stage thoroughly then your beautifully painted nails will last a day or two at best before they start peeling off
  2. Are you using the correct products? Believe it or not there is more than one type of nail polish remover. Use the wrong one and you’ll end up in all sorts of mess
  3. What type of light are you using? This makes a huge difference to the end result as some gel polishes will not polymerise in the wrong lamp
  4. ALLERGY! British Association of Dermatologists All nail enhancement systems contain Methacrylates, which are known allergens. Extreme care is needed when applying these to the nails in order to avoid over exposure. Gel polishes in particular need to be kept well away from the skin because they can easily cause allergic reactions, and the cheaper the system the more likely they are to cause problems.
  5. Cost….yes, doing your own nails is quite likely to cost you more. A good quality Gel polish system will set you back a minimum of £500 and that is just for the basic kit with one or two colours. Our full polish range at the salon cost well over £4,000 and that’s without the lamps, tools and removal products.

So….can you do your own nails? Well, the simple answer to this is yes, you can, but should you?


We need to talk Whybrows!

Ok girls, we need to talk….we really need to talk….EYEBROWS.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so you surely can’t have failed to notice the worlds most abysmal beauty trend. The “Whybrow”. So named because you continually need to ask yourself “why” anyone would find it remotely attractive. Basically a Whybrow is an eyebrow that has been waxed and plucked to oblivion and beyond and boldly stencilled back in where no brow has ever been before. No need to worry about the colour of your hair because these babies are anything but subtle. In fact, even if your hair is whiter than an Mother Theresa’s knickers then it’s perfectly fine to draw your eyebrows in with a ruler and a Sharpie!
They say you should never take advice from a girl with bad eyebrows and right now that probably equates to about 50% of the female population.
Now please don’t try to tell me that those black monstrosities complement your face because they don’t and I promise you that in 20 years time you’re going to look back at those bad boys and wish the ground would swallow you up. You’ll be about as embarrassed by them as my generation were by feather cuts, platforms and kipper ties.
Your eyes are meant to frame your face not overpower it and big black slugs just don’t cut the mustard.
Please please please no more sharpies! In fact girls we’re going to create a new term here, “Eyebrowsing”… when you can’t help but stare at someones really bad eyebrows and say WTF were they thinking?

I need to let my nails breathe!

Ok, that old cherry again!

Backup_of_Hands over face

Now we don’t want you to worry unnecessarily but the truth is that your nails are already dead! We’re really sorry about this but it’s true. So, they can’t breathe, they won’t get tired and they can’t sweat. However, the good news is that the nail bed (matrix) and  cuticles are very much alive and growing so, like the rest of your body, they need oxygen and nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals. Your nails actually recieve all the oxygen they need from your bloodstream, not the air, which means that oxygen deprivation won’t be the reason for your nail breaking or splitting.

Your nail plate is made up from many tiny layers of keratin cells known as  onychocytes, which overlap just like slates on a roof. When they get damaged or dry, they become white and sometimes peel off (splitting nails). There a 2 potential reasons for this:

1) Leaving nail polish on for too long causing keratin granulation (this is why your toe nails go white when you finally decide to remove last summer’s pedicure reminants….in October!)

2) Overuse of acetone. Acetone should be used with care as it is incredibly drying. Standard nail polish should be removed with an acetone free remover.

How do I prevent dryness and breakage?

That’s easy!………use the products reccommended by your Nail Technician. Strengtheners and hardeners can help the nails by working externally to protect the keratin in nails from harsh chemicals such as soaps and detergents. Just like the keratin in your hair, the external surface of nails can be conditioned. Cuticle oils and conditioning hand creams will restore moisture to the nails, making them less brittle and breakable.

My nail just popped off!

Firstly, can I politely point out that no it didn’t. I’m about as likely to believe that as I am to believe in spontaneous combustion! Like most other things in life the equation is as follows:-

Intention + Action = Consequence

Now I’m not saying that nail extentions don’t break or lift or come off because they do. But they don’t just fly off the fingertips on a whim and without warning. Usually they need a little help.

Most breakages that are not attributable to direct damage are the result of lifting. Lifting is every Nail Technician’s enemy and something that particularly plagues newly qualified techs.

What is lifting?

Lifting results when the nail enhancement system starts to lift away from the natural nail plate, usually at the edge closest to the cuticle (the eponychium) but occasionally at the tip and it looks like this…

Lifting   lifting 2

Lifting can have a number of causes.

1) Poor preparation which leaves debris on the nail plate is one reason. Whether applying acrylic, gel, gel-polish, or ordinary nail polish, it is critical that the nail bed is free of non-living tissue and oil so the product can adhere well to the nail.

2) Over filing is another reason for lifting. Excessive filing of the nail plate will leave it thin and weak, and it will not be a good platform for enhancements. If the nails have been filed down too thinly, the enhancements will not bond properly to the natural nail and lifting may occur.

3) Sometimes lifting can be caused by failure to use the correct primer for the system.

4) Another very common reason for the lifting of acrylic products is improper mix ratio of liquid to powder. Each brand is different, and it can take time to master the correct ratio.

5) Picking! Yes, ladies we know you pick, but please try not to. It doesn’t help your nails and in fact every time you do this you are pulling away a few layers of your own natural nail plate too.

What should I do about lifting?

Don’t ignore it that’s for sure. If it happens it needs to be tackled promptly and before it causes further problems. If you leave lifted product it is only a matter of time before bacteria manages to sneak its way underneath. And once it’s there, it’s in the perfect warm damp environment to allow it to multiply. Trust me on this one, bacterial nail infections are not pretty and they take a long time to grow out!

And finally…..”Can I glue my nail back on?”

Can you? Yes. Should you? Absolutely not!

It is almost impossible to re-glue an enhancement that has come off entirely as the surface will no longer be smooth. The result will always be a badly fitted nail which is likely to come off again and even more likely to grow a bacterial nail infection!