Monday, April 27, 2009

Choosing nail products for the salon

I like to use a wide variety of materials from different gel and acrylic (liquid and powder) manufacturers for my nail art. Most nail artists that I've met do the same, we pick and choose what we think are the best products from different company's and then use whichever is most suitable for a specific nail art design.

In my salon I have also used different manufacturers products over the years. Mostly I create gel nails, but I also create acrylic nails for some customers. Normally it's not possible to use only one manufacturers products because I usually find that there is one item in their range that I don't like.

Finding good salon products isn't easy, as first it's necessary to take some form of cross-over training to learn the specific preparation steps and then it takes months of testing before you get to trust and know how a product works.

When I'm choosing a product for my salon it has to meet the following requirements:
  • the finished nails must look excellent
  • be strong enough for my customers lifestyle - my salon nails are the thickness of a credit card
  • nails don't lift, even after many infills
  • don't yellow
  • quick to apply with practice
Price is not a major concern for me. I'd rather pay more if I have to and not lose customers due to an inferior product.

So if you are thinking about changing products, here's a few things that I've learned:

1. Always take the manufacturers cross-over training to learn the correct preparation and application.

2. Test the products on friends, not customers. This sounds obvious but when I first moved to Sweden and couldn't buy the gel I used in Kiev, I bought a Kit from one of the big names and did a cross-over training. Three months later many of my clients nails started to lift after they have been infilled a few times. I spoke to the supplier but never got to the bottom of this. The supplier claimed it was my faulty application - but couldn't offer other suggestions (funnily enough, I later heard from a number of techs who had the same problem - which kind of suggests the product is not forgiving). Fortunately, I only had a handful of clients at the time and they stuck with me through this. But the moral of the story is never trust a product until you've done your own testing and test a variety of products before committing to use a new product on all your clients. Also have a Plan B if you find months later the product is not what you expected.

3. Decide what you want of the product and manufacturer. Are you only looking for a product you can buy from various sources, or do you want a deeper relationship with the manufacturer or supplier?

  • Some manufacturers don't employ full time educators so while you can get cross-over training easily enough, if you want to advance to educator or global educator etc - it might be difficult as they may only run courses once a year or less.
  • Do they offer the kind of training you want? If you are thinking about competing - do they offer competition classes? Or if you are interested in nail art - do they have good educators for this?
  • What's their reputation for support if you have questions? Is there someone local you can call or go visit?

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