Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Velvet Manicure, This seasons must have look

This Seasons Hottest Look

One of the most popular products we sell at the moment is Velveteen. Everyone is madly in love with the fact our nails can look (and feel!) so amazing at the same time. Even though it is soft and velvet like, Velveteen is completely waterproof and hard wearing.
Read below to find out the easy and simple way to apply Velveteen to your nails. Trust me, anyone can do it!

Apply a base coat to the nail and allow to dry.

For best results using a similar colour to the velveteen
apply 2 coats to the nail and allow to dry. 
Once dry apply your top coat, do one nail at a time. 
Sprinkle on the Velveteen fibres to the wet top coat. 
Brush off any excess onto a small white paper with a soft brush, I am using a paint brush here. 

Return the excess fibres into the pot to reuse later. 

If you would like to buy your own Velveteen to try it out, head to sambiddle.co.uk
There are plenty of colours to choose from!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sam Biddle in the Media

Sam Biddle in the Media

My name is Devon Biddle, I sometimes write for Sam's blog and I thought it was about time we let you in on all of the press Sam and her products have been getting in the past year. As Sam is doing a lot of travel and away from her desk more often I have the pleasure to write more on the blog for you and include her articles as we love to keep everyone up to date on what's going on in the nail world.
Popular products (such as the sugar stylers and velveteen) have been getting a lot of talk in magazines like More! and Company magazine. Trade magazines like Scratch and Beauty Salon News have included articles written by Sam Biddle on her journeys as an international educator and her views on the latest nail trends. 
The articles included are a selection of the magazines Sam has been mentioned in or ones she has written for.

Velveteen in More! magazine.

Step by Step in Gloss for toe nail art.
Article in Scratch about a photo shoot with Because magazine

This article in Take it Easy magazine was celebrating Britain and included a step by step of a British flag nail art design. The flag was made using the sugar styler.
Article in Scratch about Sam and educating 
Article in Beauty Salon News about nail trends
Nail art pen in The Salon Magazine
Step by Step in Love It! magazine. The design was 'Going Dotty'
This step by step in Hair magazine was a silver bow which came out around Christmas

This is an article written by Sam in More! magazine where she is revealing her tips on nail art.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Competition tips from Sam Biddle

Competition Tips from Sam Biddle

With the Nail Olympics looming in September, I thought now would be a good time to have a look at the different skills to have when competing. I'm looking forward to the nail olympics in London this year and I will be running a seminar on nail art trends and on how to increase revenue in salons using nail art and i am lucky enough to be one of the international judges this year. I look forward to seeing you there!

There are two distinct ways to approaching competing, the holistic thoughtful approach and then the down right practical.  Winners are those who have a nice balance of both. 
Sometimes our approach to the competing  is not inline with our perceived outcome.    The saying “it's not the winning but the taking part that counts” is a saying we have all heard and perhaps said it to others our selfs, but if we are honest do we really think it applies to us?   
Getting the approach to competing right in our heads, will ultimately mean when it comes down to the practical side of competing we are one step closer.  Take a moment to realize why you are entering the competition, what are your goals.  Do you want the recognition? Do you want to improve your skills? Is it the feedback from the judges your interested in? or perhaps you want to market your competing to improve your business.  Finding out your drive to enter a competition will help you focus in the competition. Each of the points I have mentioned is a valid benefit to competing and means regardless of a 1st 2nd or 3rd place you are still a winner.  
If your entering the Nail Olympics or any nail competition you should have already grasps the basics, you should know what is expected and what you can produce in the way of winning nails.  However there are some extra little things which might work towards giving you the edge over the competition.
Before you start this journey you must be realistic.  It might seem harsh for me to say this,  but judge your own nails and be honest.  it is no good ‘hoping’ that the judges don't notice that your nails aren't perfect or that the judges will miss that your smile lines aren't crisp for example. These same judges have been in your shoes, and have done their fair share of hoping, good judges will be the toughest to ‘blindside’.  

So lets get down to some practical advice,
The first and very important thing to do is to read and understand the rules.....they are written to help and guide you.  International competitions like the Olympics are run very differently from national competitions, worldwide nail techs are coming together to compete with their varied experiences, and its up to the head judge to develop a good criteria to follow which suits multiple nations.  Language and translation of specific terms might become confusing.  I think it is always worth finding out more information if your worried at all. 
If you have entered a competition before you are normally given a score sheet, this sheet is invaluable, look at the criteria's the judges are scoring your nails against, finds out how many marks you can achieve with each criteria, for example if you get just 5 points for a polish but 25 points for floor judging...then make sure whilst your working you are aware of this and keep your working space tidy! the other thing to remember is these score sheets are a route map to improving your nails, as they will tell you where your skills need work.

Another good point to consider when entering is your model,  regardless if it is for pink and white or fantasy make sure she fits the bill, her nails are good and she is willing to be there and support you! Sometimes within international competitions it is hard to find models, but with the help of Facebook and the right nail community you can pretty much ask a fellow tech to find you one suitable when you arrive.  I would advice paying them for their trouble, it always helps.

There is a wealth of tips and steps to help compete with pink and white but it is design nails and fantasy which are my passion and speciality.  If there is a theme try and think out side the box but ultimately keep it simple.  Over complicating the design will turn off the judges, but having a simple design which has detail and creative workmanships is much better. But don’t mistake ‘keeping it simple’ for ‘less is more’.  Although you don’t want to overload your nail and designs you don’t want large empty spaces either.   Entering a design sculpt competition means your design nails need to include a good structure. Don't forget about you c curves and side walls, remember the nail has to be well formed as well as the design. Also think about your design story over the whole 10 nails, and not just apply a little flower on the ring finger for example. 
Gel nails are always let down by their shape and c curve. Trying to  get a great model who’s nails have the c curve you need is not always possible.  There are some other little tricks you can do to get the shape you need. Apply a thin clear base which you need to pinch before you apply your white, pinching will give you the c curve you need, do do this I use reversed tweezers or pinching clips, available from www.sambiddle.co.uk.  Then apply your pink gel cleaning up the smile line with a clean brush and then your white gel application should be easy, butting up to the ready made smile line. The nicest and easiest white gel for this is INM bright white.  Generally in the arena it gets cold so Warm up your product in your hands if the gel viscosity to very thick!
To get a crisp Smile line use a separate detail brush or striper brush and for good curing a high wattage lamp at all times. For more definition use a brighter pink along the smile line and I would personally custom blend your pink and white, to suit the models skin tones.
Be prepared and don’t rush, When the competition starts, apply 1-2 nails onto the polished hand to overcome adrenaline rush. Remember you have plenty of time, and the mistakes happen when you rush! Prepare the natural  nails by doing a mini manicure the morning on the competition. Use 2 dappen dishes for liquid, one for the white and one for the pink/clear so it is clean and crisp.  When filing Use a new file for each hand, the grit changes as you go, a great way to get a constant look is to File all 10 nails the same way, for example side walls x10, free edge x 10, cuticle x 10.
Wipe the nails with acetone to remove and dissolve any residue dust before you buff.  If you do have any pits or air bubbles apply some brush on resin and once dry buff the surface, they will become invisible. For great polish application, clean up polish brush with acetone before you start, and re-dip into the polish.  
Pre crimp your tips to create beautiful c curve by using with Hot/cold water method, securing the tip around c curve tips.  When your applying a Tip  to the natural nail apply resign to tips and shake downwards to remove excess before application, the last thing you want is resin on the underside of the free edge. 
Entering is an enormous step for most nail technicians, stepping into an unknown arena can be daunting and scaring,  but just stop a moment and take a look around you at the seasoned competitors.  Watch their body language, they are relaxed and take things as they come, this is what it will be like for you too in time,  competing will benefit you as a nail professional, and it will become an enjoyable experience.  Enjoy every moment and learn from it. 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Going for Gold

Going for Gold

These nails are a great idea if you're heading off to an Olympic event or even just wanting to make an entrance at a friends Olympic themed party.

Using lead pencil on your acrylic is a quick and effective way of creating delicate drawings and surprisingly the acrylic base makes for a good surface to draw on. I created the flags on this olympic step by step in lead as a backdrop for the Olympics rings, which I created using Be Creatives Gel paint. 

Prepare the nails and sculpt out a free edge in white to give you a white background. I have created a colour fade from nail bed cover pink to white.
 Cap the whole nail in clear acrylic, make sure you create your arch placement and structure.

File and refine the shape of your nail, finally buff with a 240 grit buffer. do not buff to a high shine at this stage.

Using a HB pencil, sharpened: draw the outlines of the flags you have chosen, I have drawn, the Canadian, American, Chinese and Dutch flags. Obviously the Union Jack too.

Continue to colour in the flags, applying different pressure to the different shadings of the flag colours.
I have used a fine detailing brush dipped in water to crisp up the lines, you can also use some white acrylic paint to high light the white parts of your flags.
Apply a gel top coat to your flags to seal in the lead drawings.

Using the white gel paint, create the 5 rings of the Olympics symbol spanning over the 4 fingers. it is better to start with the centre ring first and work your way out. Cure this for 2 minutes under a UV lamp or 30 seconds under an LED.
Now apply the colours, red, blue, yellow, green and black, this represents the different continents. Cure between each colour application briefly and then do a final cure.
Finally apply another layer of gel top coat to seal in your design and protect it. 
Using Be Creative’s gel paint over the top of gel top coat will give you an almost 3D effect, without ruining your drawing. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Diary of an International Nail Artist 1

Long Beach

Sam Biddle’s recent visit to Long Beach, USA, where she held a Be Inspired class, worked the show, judging with the nail Pro Cup, plus creating a cover shoot with Nail Pro Magazine.  although this was a visit at the begining of the year, it is part of her column in Scratch magazine, Diary of an international nail artist, with subsiquent trips in the USA, Malaysia, Australia and Canada coming soon. 

Looking over my schedule for my first overseas trip of the year in 2012, I made a mental note to pack some extra tea bags, this was going to be a busy one! I love my job because it takes me to some far flung places, but I never leave home without my tea bags. I make sure I always carry a little bit of England in my purse. Wherever I go in the world, I get to work with some fabulous people.
My business, Be Inspired, actively invests into the growth of the industry and provides an alternative form of education to everyone anywhere in the world. My speciality, I am told is ‘thinking outside the box’ and finding ways to ‘make it work’ in order for the nail technician to find value in everything nail related. With a diary full of exciting places and interesting people to work with, Long Beach was the first one on the list and is one of my favourites. It was especially exciting this year as I was launching the NEW Gel Paints in the USA.
Day 1

13.30 - Land at LAX, and after a good couple of hours waiting around at customs and immigration, I finally meet up with Carla Collier; Head Judge for the Nail Pro Cup and the USA distributor of the Be Creative range. We both agreed that we should head off to the hotel and grab something to eat and have an early night. 
Day 2
First day of the Be Inspired workshop. This is always exciting and nerve racking at the same time. As an educator, you need to access the level of expectation in the class and make sure you can fulfil the requirements over the next two days. Also you have your fingers crossed that everyone is nice and nobody is going catch you out with tricky questions. I didn’t need to worry, I always find it refreshing when I work with the girls in America. I love how enthusiastic everyone is; they have a great ‘can do’ attitude. We started the day with some gel design. I was excited nail design and more importantly how to translate these techniques into salon nails. After lunch, it was time for the fantasy nail. Using both gel and acrylic, I showed them how to create a rose and then we worked with gel to produce some delicate butterflies. This part of the class is very telling. It is not the priority subject when it comes to booking, but every time I do it I have to drag the students out the door at the end of the day, and on more than one occasion I get asked if we can carry on doing fantasy the following day. I like to think of fantasy as my secret weapon; nail technicians can get immersed in their own creativity and can sometimes get lost in the moment.  
Day 3
Second day of the Be Inspired workshop and this was all about acrylic; this often being the preferred system most technicians use in the salon. I wanted to give some examples of using alternative materials in the nail designs and how to benefit from layering the design. I also made sure that everything we did on day 2 can be achieved using Gel and the new Gel Paints. The workshop was themed around nature; from butterflies, to swans, koi carp and flowers. I was delighted with the nails everyone produced and although some didn’t finish we still ended up with a spectacular display of work.
Day 4

This was meant to be my day off (that was the plan) I did have some retail therapy scheduled, but we had some paper work to complete in the morning. No rest for the wicked as they say. 
Day 5 
 ISSE show Long Beach. Finally I was delighted to be invited to Join the Light Elegance team, and worked on their stand during the show. I also did some filming for a couple of short tutorials and an interview with NAILS magazine where I showed them a design using the gel paints.
 Day 6
 ISSE show and Judging the Nail Pro Cup. I really enjoy working with the judging panel in the USA. The Nail Pro Cup offers a wide range of different categories and Carla Collier makes sure the categories reflect the industry trends. The competition entries this year were fabulous, and the nail art category and 3D design had 2 particularly challenging categories; Parrots and “When pigs fly”.  I think looking at the results that the creative brains were working overtime, and nail technicians were certainly thinking outside the box. 
Day 7 
 ISSE show and judging;  Last day of the show, working again with Light Elegance, and their very talented team.  I especially enjoyed catching up with Darcy Olin who had joined me at my Be Inspired class in Orlando last year. At the end of the day we finished with the Nail Pro Cup awards and an early dinner and a catch up with some friends. 
Day 8 
 Cover shoot with Nail Pro. I had one final stop at Nail Pro magazine where I was invited to do another cover shoot. Last year’s shoot was a great success I created some acrylic roses and incorporated an element of fantasy into the nails. This year I wanted to use gel and do something more salon friendly. I obviously wanted to use the Gel Paints and my nail art pen, so my design incorporates both. I absolutely love doing these shoots, because they provide a unique insight into what goes on behind the scenes at a cover shoot and the amount of work and the different roles played to produce a fabulous image.  Then it was home time, jumping into a cab and taking that 40 minute journey to LAX to catch my 8.30pm flight home.

Day 9 
Land at 3.30 pm UK time at Heathrow. It takes me about 2-3 hours to drive home. The first thing I do is pop the kettle on and snuggle down on the sofa with my dog, and family. 
Be Inspired was one of the first companies to offer independent education, in the UK and worldwide, which is not brand specific, and I am now noticing a fair few educators offering similar classes, primarily in design and nail art. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come. I know over the years, I have seen massive changes in the nail industry and I am thrilled to see that art and design are now playing a major role in shaping the industries growth. It is what attracted me to doing nails in the first place.
What’s new for Be Inspired worldwide? 2012 is set to incorporate a couple of new countries into the distribution list,and will involve visiting Australia this August which is something I am extremely excited about. I have been working with Tracy Boyle on this little project for over a year now. Tracy has moved over to Australia with her family, but we always enjoyed working together here in the UK on the National competition judging panel. I am also delighted to be planning a class in Canada this year and we have provided an additional venue on the USA tour in Las Vegas. With various dates closer to home and of course a selection of great workshops in the UK, I hope 2012 will give those  nail technician’s,  passionate about design,  a step up in the right direction.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Best Foot Forward Feet Treats

Best Foot Forward

So we are in the throws of summer and you have probably done your fair share of pedicures already, perhaps they are not the most favourite thing to do, but educating our clients and giving them some more information on the wonders of our bodies and the benefit treatments such as pedicures can have a two fold effect.  You will gain a loyal and interested client base, but that you will increase cash flow and profit and you will see your appointment book filling up as they start to learn about the benefits.  
So let me tell you, my new client, why having a pedicure is so important.
Close your eyes and remember the feel of cool grass caressing yours soles, or sinking your feet into a luxurious thick carpet.  Think about the times you used your toes to turn on the hot tap in the bath, or tip toed around your children’s bedroom on Christmas Eve.  When was the last time you let your foot find the cool spot at the end of the bed?  How can we enjoy these things and not look after our feet?
Summer is here, and we are exchanging heavy boots for delicate sandals, but there is no sense in making your toe nails look pretty, if people run away when you remove your shoes. How can you enjoy the sand between your toes if you can’t feel it, because of the hard skin?
Become enlightened to the wonders of your feet, and to realise just why you should appreciate these truly remarkable creations. 
Pity your poor feet and all the pressures and stresses they face every day. Attention to your toes will bring better and longer-lasting benefits, to body and mind. Like most people, feet are neglected and yet they deserve as much attention as you pay to the rest of your body. Feet that don't function correctly affect your body's delicate balance. They upset the alignment and function of the knees, hips, spines and shoulders, causing backache and poor posture. Over time this can lead to fatigue and irritability. The feet are a sophisticated and delicate part of our body, containing a total of 52 bones, 66 joints, 38 muscles and 214 ligaments all working in harmony to provide movement and stability. Although seemingly fragile our feet are inherently robust and resilient. Made up of a delicate arrangement of nerves, blood vessels, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments, with each part of the foot working in synchronised perfection

It is well known that the foot reflects the physical attributes of the body. But did you know that it could also show personality characteristics and individual needs, reflecting on the potential for self-development. For example, Hard skin can show how we are trying to protect our emotions. Shapes, lines, and colour speak to us about our soul. 
Feet can also take part in some of our most positive experiences you can’t help but love them for that.

It is never too late to start looking after your feet,  Making an effort to take care of our most used, but undervalued part of our body will help vitality, improve ill health, and maintain stamina and vigour. 

Now you know some more about your feet, how do we get this information to our
  our clients,  the easiest way is to create and send out a newsletter, when I had a salon I used to do this through snail mail, however now with the wonders of the internet, you can include information like this on your face book page, website or blog, or through email newsletters, creating a date base couldn’t be easier through various different online softwares  like mail chimp.  It is not just a case of being a nail technician, we have a responsibility to teach and  educate our clients, giving them more information and sharing your knowledge is a great way to improve your business.
Along with treating those feet, we also need to consider how we can incorporate the growing trend for nail art onto toes.  Obviously we have a smaller working area and have intricate designs are not necessarily appreciated as with nails. Using various wraps and textured effects on the toes can be interesting, but perhaps going back to basics with regular nail polish and gel polish to create a beautiful look will be enough. 
The tutti fruit pedicure from original sugar - designed by Original Sugar’s artistry team member Jess Marks  for the Daily Express is a fabulous pedicure which brings a combination of polish colours we might not think of putting together, seem from a distance it is very striking and gives a great splash of colour to any outfit or your new flip flop. By simply using the sponging technique and combining strawberries and cream polish from Toma with Tangerine dream.  Placing white under the orange to make it pop out. 
Summer polish collections, like this club nights from Toma are perfect for toes, making sure you a range of rich and vibrant colours and giving you a host of ideas to combine them and  enhance your tan.  Using them with glitters will give that additional wow factor and gets the party started.