Tuesday, 25 September 2007

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.