Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Nail Tech?

nail art

I have said it before and I will say it again … nail trends rock!

It takes true artistic ability to create 10 little master pieces. And I am truly in awe of the designs I have seen out there as of late.

Do you have a natural artistic ability and desire for nail art? If you answered yes, consider a career as a nail tech!

Read More

5 Ways Cosmetics Can Kill You

faulty_perfume

Do you know what’s in your cosmetics? Neither did I – until I realized that when it comes to what gets absorbed by our skin, ignorance is not bliss. And don’t think the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) got your back; the U.S. government has very little control over what goes into personal care products. With more than 10,500 ingredients, many of which have never been evaluated for safety, it turns out that the face of cosmetics is far less than perfect. In fact, based on findings from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, we discovered a bunch of ways cosmetics can even kill you.

1 – Faulty Fragrance: “This fragrance may cause swelling, fevers, infertility, obesity…”


There’s nothing wrong with wanting to smell good. But the same scent that makes you feel so sexy can also trigger unattractive allergic reactions, including asthma, headaches, chest tightening, wheezing, swelling, and rashes. And that’s just in the short term. Many of the chemicals found in fragrances are also associated with infertility, obesity, thyroid malfunction, and cancer.

Buyer beware: Halle by Halle Berry, Quicksilver, and Glow by JLO each contain seven different hormone-disrupting chemicals.

2 – Bubble Bath Blues – “Rubber ducky, you’re so toxic…”


You want to pamper yourself at the end of a long day, and you decide a bubble bath is the way to do it. But you might be better off popping open a bottle of bubbly. The contaminants 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde have been found in countless bath products – even those purported to be “safe” for kids! These are known carcinogens, folks, and small exposures do add up.

Buyer beware: Read it and weep: Johnson’s Baby Shampoo (of “no more tears” fame) has been on the toxic offender list for more than two years, and has yet to clean up its act.

3 – Lead in Lipstick: Don’t lick your lips!


You’ve probably heard reports for years about the presence of lead in your favorite lipstick. And you may have figured, “Hey, I’m not eating my lipstick, so I’m in the clear, right?” Wrong. Lead is a neurotoxin that can cause learning, language, and behavioral problems – and recent science indicates that there is no safe level of lead exposure.

Buyer beware: In a 2009 study, the FDA found the highest lead levels in Cover Girl, L’Oreal, Body Shop, Maybelline, and Revlon lipsticks.

4 – Knocked Out at the Nail Salon: Hold your breath!


The stink that greets you when you walk into a nail salon? No surprise here – it’s rotten for your health, too. The toxic chemicals in nail polish, nail polish remover, and artificial nail products are suspected to cause asthma, reproductive harm, and even cancer. Nail techs are particularly susceptible to the toxicity, reporting decreased attention and processing skills and increases in asthma and other breathing problems.

Buyer beware: In recent years, many manufacturers have reformulated their nail products to remove dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, and toluene, but some nail treatments by Nail Tek, OPI, and Essie still contain the toxic trio of ingredients.

5 – Another Sunscreen Surprise: Speeding the development of tumors and lesions, ugh!


It’s one thing to find out that the products you’ve been using to look pretty might not be up to par; it’s quite another to discover that the products you’ve been looking to for protection can actually make your situation worse. The FDA has recently discovered that retinyl palmitate, when applied in the presence of sunlight, may actually speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. The issue? This form of vitamin A is added to about 30 percent of all sunscreens.

Buyer beware: There is still no FDA position on the safety of retinoids in cosmetics, and most cosmetics companies have not removed these ingredients from sunscreens and other skin and lip products.

Sadly, there are many, many more toxic offenders in our purses and on our shelves. Check out Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database so you can do your best to avoid death by cosmetics.

-Robyn Tellefsen

Creative Looks in Nail Design

bubbles SMALL

Twenty-first century nail design goes way beyond the single-coat-and-color philosophy. Nail techs today can create looks that take nails everywhere from sexy to outrageous – the more innovative, the better. Check out some of the most interesting (and out-there) nail art we’ve seen, and get inspired to become a nail tech and create your own adventurous designs.


Pop open a bottle of bubbly and have a good time with this glittery, rhinestone-loving nail art. These nails would look great on a fun-loving, young (or young at heart) lady heading out for a night on the town.


Nothing says Christmas like nails that say, well, “Merry Christmas.” You’ll need a steady hand and a tiny brush to create this look, which will wow guests at every Christmas party you hit. And how can you go wrong with the fabulous French manicure base?


We are loving the nod to the immortal Kitty in this whimsical Japanese nail art. From that famous face to the super-cute gumball machine, it’s hard to imagine a more purr-fect design. Plus, these nails will win the adoration of little and big girls everywhere.


Hmmm… The design is certainly creative, but the application is a little too homespun for our liking. It could be a good look for a high school kid who wants something fun to distract her during a boring class, but these nails aren’t really “dressed” to impress.


Do these nails remind anyone else of Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”? Sure, they might give you late ‘80s / early ‘90s flashbacks, but retro is way in. Find a coordinating outfit to complete the look.


It’s simple but bold, and it will show off your expert nail painting skills. The plain red nails keep the patterned nails from overwhelming the look, but we still can’t keep our eyes off it.


Well, this is another way to make a statement with your nails, but we’re just not sure it’s one you want to make. If you’re looking for attention, however, the creepy blood and candy corn painted nails certainly deliver.


The look is easy to create, but classy for just about any occasion. Offsetting the simple yet classic French manicure with a few floral-inspired nails keeps the style beautiful but not overwhelming. And if you’re not the type who thinks pink, this design is versatile enough to work in just about any color.


Love it, love it, love it. Soda-can nail art says you don’t take yourself too seriously – but you will take the time to do intricate design work and do it well. Our fave: the glittery green Mello Yello.


Who’s ready to go under the sea? These gorgeous, underwater-themed nails showcase your spontaneous side and still possess an air of elegance. Love the 3D gems, which make the nails a complete visual treat.


Brides might be looking for a simple French manicure, but why not update the look with trendy 3D nail art flowers to coordinate with the rest of the wedding flowers?

Explore nail tech programs, where you can learn how to create looks like these and more. And feel free to post your latest nail designs here!

–Robyn Tellefsen


A Reasonable Manicure

shutterstock_48487216

New York City is one of the best places to get a mani/pedi. On almost every street corner, you’ll find an opportunity to get a good deal on the pair and feel extremely pampered. This is not the case in many other cities. And I wonder why that is.

Since moving down to Washington, DC, it has been impossible for me to find a good place to get a mani/pedi. I ran into a mall one day to get just a quick manicure and $20+ later, I was broke and unhappy with the way it even turned out. I did not feel pampered and I felt as if my nail tech was rushing through my manicure. And for 20 bucks, I expect a rather exceptional job.

As I sat with my nails drying and not looking the best they’ve ever looked, I wondered why manicures are so expensive in other cities. Is it just that I’m a spoiled New Yorker who expects that the differences in other cities should be only within pizza, bagels, and accents? Or were these nail technicians trained differently? I don’t believe it’s the latter, as nail technician training has accreditation for a reason. Is it just that I was unlucky with the girl that did my manicure? Could be. But I think proper training is key.

In Top 10 Reasons to Go to Nail School, we share with you some ideas to get you thinking about a career as a nail tech. Some people just naturally have the talent to do nails, while others are really ambitious and know that they’d be good and happy at a nail tech job. No matter what your reason, if you’re interested in a nail tech career, I’d strongly urge you to look into one. After all, you can always come down to DC and open your very own salon with reasonable manicures and fabulous nail techs. I’d certainly be a patron! Until then, I’ll have to wait until I get to NY for a great mani/pedi.

-Amanda Fornecker

Tennis Star Turned Nail Tech

4353130929_2074177afb

Just because you’re a celebrity, doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to school. That’s what Serena Williams is proving right now. After returning from the Australian Open, the tennis star decided she wanted to become a nail technician, writing in her blog, “No one likes getting their nails done more than I do. As a matter of fact I go every four days to get a manicure and every seven days for a pedicure.”

Williams found that she wanted to really prepare for her new nail line with HairTech and felt that becoming a nail technician would help her develop her love for nails further. She found a school in her state of Florida and checked out how many hours she needed to complete in order to obtain her license to practice. For Florida, it’s 240 hours of nail technician school practice. Williams hopes to finish the nail technician school program within the next year, even though she notes that most people can finish the program in just six weeks. Hey, she’s a busy girl with a grueling tennis schedule. But it just goes to show you that even if you don’t have as much time as you’d like, you can still pursue one of your interests.

Williams prepared the night before for her big first day at nail technician school by getting some cute blue clothes (that’s the color she had to wear) and some accessories to reflect her personality from the Hello Kitty store. She wrote in her blog: “If I’m not the best, I sure do want to look like it. Not only do I plan on being the top student to graduate from my nail school, but I also intend on being the most fashionable!”

On her first day, Williams had to do a pedicure on another student and got quite a few compliments on her work. She was quite thrilled with her whole experience and is excited at the prospect of becoming a licensed nail technician. She says, “Don’t be surprised if you hear about a part time job I’ve picked up at a local nail salon.” Wouldn’t you be surprised?!

Researching schools is just the first step in the process. And if a celebrity can do it, so can you. Start your search today.

-Amanda Fornecker