Lauren Learns… nails

16 October 2009

Let me introduce you to GraziaDaily’s first instalment of Lauren Learns. A look at what it’s like to train as a beauty professional. From nail extensions to spray tans - we’re going to give it all a go.

lauren learns

This week… Nails at Nails Inc. As a nail fanatic, training as a professional manicurist and technician has always been on my hit list, but being the Associate Beauty Editor at Grazia, the reality is not quite so easy. However, the lovely people at Nails Inc invited me along (they hear about nail obsessions on a daily basis) for a custom made, two day intensive one-to-one training with their training manager, Laura Hughes. Let’s say I was beside myself on receiving the invitation, in fact that’s an understatement, I was beyond! Manicures and Pedicures was first on the list to study and day two, the infamous Nails Inc three week manicure and nail extensions. Hmmm, no mean feat in two days but I was up for the challenge and anything nail related would keep my attention no probs.

Day One:

lauren learns

As a Nail Inc course I learnt about the history of the brand (it’s 10 years old this year can you believe it) and the owner, Thea Green, who like me, worked at a magazine before coming up with the fab idea for a New York style manicure bar. It then moved on to the not so glamorous side-disinfecting your work station, appointment book and checking clients for any alien type nail growths, infections and sores. Yuk! However, after I learnt the essentials it was time to learn the Heavenly Manicure, Nails Inc’s most popular manicure. Firstly, the prep – this girls, is the key to any manicure. Filing and shaping the nail-important, only take the file in one direction, not back and forth. Next, tidying up the cuticles, not as easy as you think, especially with a live model who you’re terrified of hurting, and learning the massage which I finished too quickly ‘remember this is the most enjoyable bit for the customer’, Laura kept telling me. Oops. Finally it was time to paint and it’s funny how your hand shakes unexplainably when you have people watching over you but Laura said I was a natural and she was very impressed with my painting skills. Luckily I didn’t make too many mistakes as my model was Crystal from the City branch of Nails Inc - imagine if she had to go back to work with terrible nails! All that practice at home then has paid off. Manicure completion tick. Next up Pedicures, which to my delight mirrored a manicure in every way, apart from the exfoliation part but one more step wasn’t going to throw me! That alternative career plan just got a step closer!

Day Two:

lauren learns

Manicures and Pedicures are one thing but nail extensions and gels are slightly daunting and Laura introduces me to my Nail Training Hand for the day, no live models for this part of the course! It’s a hand that is as flexible as a real hand and each finger tip has a slot for a nail bed so that you can practice applying nail extensions and gels without massacring a live model with your first attempts. Now, when Laura demonstrated how to do the gel and acrylic extensions step by step she made it look easy however it’s from easy in reality. Just blending and tailoring each nail tip to the nail bed is a tall task in itself but with practice I got better as the day progressed. The next stage to master was the application of the gel and acrylic-one, the gel was sticky and self levelling so the application technique was key and mastering acrylic is all in the powder/liquid ratio not to mention the actual application! Laura did say though that for my first attempt I did well and if I wanted to get better I need to practice, practice, practice. I think I’ll be asking for the Nail Essentials Nail Trainer for Christmas then…

The challenge: to give Grazia’s Beauty Director, Annabel Jones’ nails a Barbara Streisland ‘youth-over’ as she’s known for having the best nails.


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