Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Love Charm -step by step

These dramatic nails are a simple salon friendly design, which is fantastic at this time of year, not only dark and Gothic enough for Halloween, but for the Christmas scene it will be elegant and stylish to go with just about any outfit.

A very attractive look, I have done this time and again on clients, not just in black but using a range of colours available, but don't limit your self to these beautiful and delicate skeleton leaves, try material, foils and lace. The application remains the same.

To start with prepare the nails, cleanse and dehydrate, push back the cuticles and remove the nonliving tissue. then apply some clear tips. Cut or file the tips into an almond shape, tailoring the tip so that the point is central.

Using resin, apply the skeleton leaves to the free edge of the tip. with tweezers to help secure the leaves into place, trim the leaves, cutting along the smile line, and around the free edge.

I have used the Onyx black powder from the earth stones range by Ez Flow nail systems, there are loads of alternative, including voodoo from the carnival collection. Apply a small bead to the smile line and blend down the nail, this will enhance the black. Obviously choose the colour which will best suit the material your applying here.
Using a wet bead of clear acrylic apply to the free edge over the leaves, then continue to apply over the whole nail, making sure you place an arch. File and buff the nail.

I must point out here, if your not into using acrylic this same design can be utilized with Gel, overlay the whole nail with a clear gel, not only will this give it a clear crystal look, but might suit your client better.

Go on bring some love into your life and give this a go...don't forget, tell me what you think.

Welcome to the World of Fantasy

Do you ever wonder why?
Do you ever visit the competition area at the shows and watch the bent heads of nail technicians working away, trying their best to produce that perfect smile lines. Do you see the wonderful colours applied to extra long talons, feathers and curled wires unfurling from the finger tips of painted ladies. Rows and rows of black and white uniforms, all working away, trying to create perfection in just two and half hours. Do you take one look, and then leave, shaking your head, thinking ‘I could never do that’.
Understanding a little bit more about the competition circuit might just change your mind. Why would you enter? And how would you start planning your entry? One day you might stop, nod your head and say to your self, ‘I would love to do that’. Your creative juices are stirring inside and your inner child is jumping up and down on your stomach yelling YES YES YES, goading you to give it a go.

Think outside the box

The fantasy and photographic category in the competitions are for me the most fun, it allows me to think out side the box and look around at just what life has to offer for my canvas, to create a story in real life, and then sit back and watch as others interpret my work and identify with the plot.
If you are thinking of entering the fantasy category you must first understand the rules, and find out exactly what it is the judges are looking for. If you don’t understand the information, then find some one who does, contact people who have entered in the past or judged, don’t be afraid to ask.
Then you want to start planning your idea. Sketch out a design, draw the different variables and take photos of your inspiration. One of the hardest things to do when entering a competition like this is to come up with something original, this could seem an impossibility, as most of the idea’s nature provides us, have been used, try putting your own spin on an idea, think of a different way to present it. Look at what man has created, within films and television, you might find new inspiration. Always keep your eyes open, you never know where the next idea might be hiding

A model look!

Models play an important part in your entry, her look is as important as the design. When you tell your story you don’t want to distract your judge, your model must compliment your idea, and become part of the fantasy you want to symbolize. For example, a competition entry called ‘ Fire’ needed someone with a sultry look, long hair which could be coloured, shaped and mould into flames, The outfit was PVC and skin tight, so the model needed be able to carry the look with attitude. Her skin colour had to be dark or tanned, as if she had spent a lot of time in a hot place. You can imagine I wouldn’t have had the same response if I had chosen a blonde haired blue eyed, pale skinned waif. Melissa my model needed to look dirty and sexy, she had to portray an inner danger, sometimes associated with fire. My tale began with one of natures most powerful elements, showing that it could be both destructive and beautiful at the same time.

Create a tantalizing tale

When you are entering a fantasy class, you want to create a complete picture, and tell a tantalizing tale, Think of everything, from the hair right down to the toes. Each nail; from front to back has to deliver it own little chapter within this great novel. Each finger must be unique, an individual work of art, showing the judge something different every time. Use different materials in unusual ways, flowing from finger tip to finger tip.

Picture perfect

Photographic category is my favorite; the camera becomes another tool helping me to create an illusion. Using the lenses is like using another paint brush and with today’s technology you can really create fantastical images to blow your mind. A professional photographer will help you achieve the final image, but it is import you communicate with him fully so that he understands the brief. Find some one who has previous experience with close ups and still life. Rent a studio and taking your own photos, would also be a less expensive option or visit your local college and ask the photographic department to help. The students are always looking for projects, this will
give them valuable experience working with a client and together you can produce some great images for both your portfolios.

Create an impression.
Thinking outside the box is a must, but you can take your ideas a little further with photography. Your look will still tell a story, but unlike fantasy each nail needs to flow and your designs have to compliment and imitate each other. Create a fantasy with your pictures rather than be one. If you think of it as the cover of a book, you have only one chance to create an emotion in the person looking at your image, with one look that person holding the photo will be transported into your mind and understand what you are trying to say. With the Fantasy class you can touch things and turn them and the inspiration will develop, with an image you rely entirely on the person looking at your picture without words or movement.
I find the best way to come up with a scheme is to start thinking of an emotion, choose this feeling and then find a look which might best represent it. Never be afraid to follow your instincts and allow them to take you on this creative journey, you never know where it might lead

Keep a record.
When you enter either of these categories, it helps to create a portfolio of your creation, not only for your self but you will need this as part of your entry into the competition. Detail your journey and use images to show how your creation has developed, be as creative with your portfolio as you have with your model or photograph. This will show how you came about your idea how it was made and the materials, props and products used. Because you may not get a chance to speak to the judge, he or she will also be interested in how you demonstrate your idea. You should detail, step by step, the structure and design of the individual nails as well as providing the source of your inspiration.

I wish you luck on your adventure into the world of fantasy, the thing to remember above everything else is to have fun, because believe me it will show in the final product.

Let your inner child out...

...show the world your creative side.

The Truth about Nails

Know what to expect from a salon and your treatment.

HAVING your nails done is the new buzz. Everyone seems to be doing it, but how much do we really know about what should happen inside those glass fronted havens? Hidden inside, with the pink and purple walls, smiley girls and white tunics, is a multitude of delights just waiting for you to try. Will this be the first of many visits, this bold step taking you to a new and wondrous world, or will you be put off for life?
What is the truth behind all those myths, the magic solution to the legend of nail extensions. This guide will help you survive a trip into the cotton wool world of beauty and come out smiling.
How often have you thought about having your nails done, but are put off by ‘Footballers Wives’ talons you see on the television? Have newspaper and television reports turned you off trying out your local nail bar? Why would you want to subject yourself to ‘dangerous’ chemicals and ‘electric drills’ in the name of beauty? But surely having nail extensions can’t mean claws. Should it be painful, and aren’t they going to ruin your nails?
Applying extensions starts with a choice of one of three different systems:
Acrylic; this is the hardest and possibly strongest overlay. Gel is more flexible and great for people who have their hands in water. Fibre glass or silk wrap are a perfect solution for thin sensitive nails. A decision will then be made about the type of extension which best suits you. Extending your natural nail means applying something to make it longer. This could be a plastic tip or a sculpting form. Different technicians prefer different methods, but a good technician will be able to perform both these applications so that, when the need arises, he or she can choose the correct method for your circumstances.
Like coffee, there is a wide variety of brands to choose from, as you scan the supermarket shelves for your favourite fuel, so perhaps the type of nail system and brand used is worth a little deliberation. Each salon has chosen a particular brand to use for its enhancement service, which they use on your nails. There are plenty of house hold names you might recognise, Ez Flow nail systems, one of the leading brands, have a large presence in salons world wide, Creative and OPI are also a very popular choice, all these systems are top of the range and the training intense. With high standards, these nail technicians know their craft, and you can be assured of a good level of service.
There is a wide range of different styles available for nails. From fabulous French to natural looking tips, polished pinkies to funky nail art, there seems plenty of choice, and making this decision is probably one of the hardest. Acrylic powders and gels now come in a wide range of shades and glitters, giving you a semi - permanent colour or nail art. Go on, find your wild side and satisfy your inner child! Leopard prints and daisy chains, painted on to fingers across the land, women can be seen walking down high streets proudly showing off a perfect French set or red talons, bopping around on the dance floor at the local night spot on a Friday night. With films such as ‘Lord of the Rings’, make up artists are joining forces with this speciality to produce some amazing and fantastical looks.
Training is the key a nail technician should have industry qualifications, which proves they have trained with a company and are able to use their nail systems correctly. NVQ levels 1 to 3 will also give your technician a national standard of service of which they must work towards. It is worth asking your technician about her qualifications, who she has trained with and her level of experience.
We all dread the ‘trainee’ and avoid letting her get her eager hands on our bodies, but hopefully, if she is training or newly qualified, it might not mean she is all that bad at her job. You can guarantee the price of the treatment will reflect the level of experience she might have. You get what you pay for in this industry, so if you want to go budget, don’t expect a 5 star service.
If first class is more your style then choosing the best technician in the building may take some patience. As a rule, go for the busiest nail technician on the books. If your local nail salon has two or three different girls to choose from, don’t let them book you with the one who is free at the time. Ask for the technician with the longest waiting list; her price will also probably be the highest. Let her bookings do the talking; she obviously is popular for a reason. Never let the price guide you, good technicians are worth their weight in gold. Some of the best things in life come to those who wait.

One of the most worrying things about ‘having your nails done’ are the recent reports and press coverage on dangerous chemical and bad practices where nails are concerned. A confusing subject, without a simple solution on the horizon, awareness seems to be the major weapon in bringing down these non standard salons. There are nail bars popping up in major towns across the UK which offer a cheaper service using potentially dangerous chemicals. Known as non-standard salons, they use products which have an ingredient called MMA, Methyl-methacrylate in its liquid form it is now illegal in the USA. The process used to apply this ingredient is harmful and damaging to the natural nails. Always make sure you can communicate fully with your technician, and ask her before she starts what the ingredients are. The nail preparation, done on the natural nails should, ideally, be done by hand avoiding the use of an electric file. These salons are able to offer reduced rates. At very low prices with a line of young girls readily waiting to attack your nails, this service it can seen as a tempting prospect. The correct ingredient used in a monomer from a reputable company is called EMA; Ethyl-methacrylate
Lately, the beauty and nail industries have seen a rise in public awareness, as with the hair industry, top technicians, therapists and stylist are bringing the secrets of their industry to the public domain. With television programs such as ‘Beauty School’ on SKY three and features on different nail systems; shown on ‘Good Morning’, the nation are becoming aware of what they should expect from salons. It is no longer just a job for blonde bimbos who don’t know what else to do when they leave school. The nail and beauty profession is a multi million pound money making machine, with its own hierarchy and legends; there are plenty of idols and heroes, tears and tantrums, dreams and goals to be made.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Clogs, Canals and Belgium Beer.

Coming to Holland to work was an exciting prospect, and I have enjoyed every moment, working at the Beauty dimensions 2007 show in Utrecht has been a good experience, not only because of the great people I have been with, Mieke, Lies and Elaine, from their hospitality and character they have made what could have been a lonely trip less so. I have seen lots of fantastic new things which will not only help to inspire me but has taught me I am not the only one with passion for colour and design. the style here in Holland is very different, and the standard here is impressive. Almond shape is very prevalent and seems to be more pointed and very long.
Sometimes in England, we forget the rest of the world exists, and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to sit and watch masters from all over the globe. And as I demonstrate on other techs it brings new meaning to versatile.

Utrecht is magical, a city full of heritage and character. I am standing on a bridge over looking a canal, lower than the two narrow roads on either side, this sunken Dutch waterway winds its way through the center of town, mesmerized by the reflections of lanterns and flames. Steep stairs go down to caverns situated by the edge, restaurants housing delicious foodie smells, wafting towards me, assaulting my senses, through open doors. Candles on tables, light the meals of happy people sat by the canal. It doesn't take long to get lost in the fantasy, of distance memories, boats mooring by one of these cellars and transferring their wares, men with clogs and pipes yelling at each other as they greet and sell.

Bicycles litter the edges of the narrow cobbled roads in Utrecht, people milling out side bars and restaurants, as the evening goes on into the early hours. Nearly 40years ago my mother was here, riding the same bikes visiting the same bars, will these university students tell their children of the adventures to be had, perhaps in 40 years a new generation will return.

After a few Belgium beers, insisted upon me by the 'girls', how could refuse.....lol, I am introduced to an old Dutch bar, Strange sounds can be heard inside, singing and clapping as the music...dutch music blared. Yes...it sounded cheesy and naff, but toe tapping never the less, and after a few more beers, I was up with the rest of them strutting my stuff, blindly singing words I knew not what they meant.