Professional Beauty London 2019

Today was a wonderful day.

It was Professional Beauty London 2019 day.

It started off with a relatively easy journey from sunny old Luton with my “love you long time” homegirl Sital to the big LDN. Having never been to the Excell Centre before I was taken aback at the gorgeous setting right next to the docks, the airplanes coming in to land over head and the city skyscrapers in the background. It was all very impressive.

The show was well laid out, big, bright and inviting but when your 5’2 in a constant crowd of people its slightly hard to see the stand names unless your basically right in front of it. Never fear! found the bargains 😉

Let’s get to the best part of the day, my nail seminars! To start with was Sculpting: The basics then Sculpting: Advanced then Sculpting: Extreme Shapes. I had the privilege of being the nail model for all three. My hands are now equipped with 4 different nail extensions in a variety of lengths, shapes and colours. I have never been the demo hand before and I really did learn something extra. The added sense of touch/feel had entered my learning experience.

It gave me a range of additional knowledge such as:

  • What it felt like when the pressure was applied to file into shape
  • The strength of the structure
  • The wearability in the real world
  • How hard was the buffer was when taking off the natural shine of the nail
  • How much the hand needs to be moved to see the nail from every angle
  • How little product is needed in order to create all shapes
  • A continued close up view of sidewalls and cuticle area

I will always attend shows with no nails on for the chance to be a nail model again.

The cherry on the top was that the nail techs who created these masterpieces were non other than Denise Wright and Katie Barns (jaw drop awesomeness). I have respected Denise Wright since my 1st ever nail training course in 2013!!

Today was a wonderful day 🙂

Instagram Induced Career Envy

Nearly every single day I pick up my phone, open the Instagram app, mindless scroll through a slew of nail posts, freely double tapping on anything my eyes find appealing all the while feeling inferior and depleted.

Attach this behaviour with splash of anxiety, a dash of self doubt and a spray of FOMO then out comes an Instagram Induced Career Envy situation.

Its like looking in a front room window as you walk past… The curiosity of outside looking in gone into overdrive. We all know what happened to the curious cat….. This constant exploration into other peoples lives and careers seems to cause a dissatisfaction of our own.

I genuinely do think Instagram is an amazing place full of beautiful content, allowing people to express themselves visually, which is why I originally chose it as my only social media platform but there is a dark side of:-

What is real now?

Is it a platform to show off how amazing we are from the outside. Is anything as good as it seems on social media?

There are now workshops and seminars and webinars and workbooks for instagram strategies for likes!! And yes, Ive looked them up. I would not look for this information to be used in my personal life BUT in a work capacity, I am under the impression that I need the likes, I need the followers and the right hash tags or has someone I look up to liked my pictures, is it the correct time of day to post. A continuous push to be better in the world of social media.

Why do I compare myself to someone? Are they even doing as well as they portray?

These are the questions I have been asking myself, am I getting left behind in my career, am I standing still, am I as good as these people I look up to, do I put out valuable content, why do I not seem to have amazing opportunities coming my way.

After a long hard talk to myself I remembered:-

  • Stay positive
  • Stay focused
  • Be grateful

The thought of “would the 3 years ago version of myself look at my Instagram account and feel what I feel for my peers”? I think the answer would be yes.

I must continue to remember I’m not like everyone else that’s what it is to be an individual. My journey is different, I can do anything I want and be anything I want.

Ive come to the conclusion the main reason I feel envy is based around fear. Fear controls how my career evolves but fortune favours the bold. You walk forward by putting one foot in front of the other as long as I manage to do a little work on my dream every single day then I will get to my destination and so will you!

From UV to LED

Its officially I’ve crossed over to the bright side.

From the start of my nail / gel journey I have had my CND UV lamp, it has been replaced once due to the fan not working but its been my staple item of kit from the start.  Clients had got used to the machine and only just started sliding their hands in gently instead of the finger dive down to the back of the machine.  It only took them 4 years.

Ill set the scene… I was doing a Saturday night nail party.  3 gorgeous ladies all for Shellac gel polish mani pedi.  The evening was going so so well. The vibes were lighthearted and fun, snacks were flowing, alcohol for the girls (not me I like to paint in straight lines).  It was lovely.  Last treatment, last pedicure….. machine makes strange sound!! Like it could blow up with the clients foot! Next thing you know it won’t turn on at all.  As a mobile nail artist a malfunction of equipment is one of the most scary things that could happen. As I officially have a badge and t-shirt in worrying, machine failure has crossed my mind on more than one occasion so I bring a spare light (very small spare light but spare non the less) in my boot.  9:00pm at night I’m running down flights of stairs from a block of flats to my car to rescue this disastrous situation.  All was well in the end (I was sweating from various areas) but the clients were happy which is all that matters.

On contacting Sweet Squared the distributers for CND in the UK it became very clear that my machine can not be replaced due to the fact they no longer produce these UV lamps.  The only CND lamp available is a LED which cost nearly £230.00.  Rock and a hard place, the lamp is a must and £232.00 is the only way I continue to work.  So LED lamp it is, WELCOME TO THE KIT.

I have been using this for weeks now and can say I love it.  My clients love the difference too.  The most appreciated difference is that as they say “practice makes perfect’ my treatment time is cutting down consistently due to experience and with the addition of a 60 second cure instead of a 2 minted cure it aids the treatment time finish.  The lamp is much lighter than the UV so for a mobile nailista its heaven!

There are cons because nothing is life should only have pro’s. The two that I have come across is the power cable. it doesn’t quiet slot into the bottom as flush as I would love, especially because I’m plugging and unplugging regularly.  Does it effect the power that is transmitted to the machine. NO, it’s more of an annoyance.  There is also the lights themselves.  small round circles which do required your client to have perfect hand and foot positioning.  I had a client who I didn’t realise had not put their foot into the perfect groove for their base coat cure.  I then proceeded to apply the 1st colour coat and it was obvious the base coat was TOO wet to paint over.  Yes you want the slight cure with the 10 second setting but it was as if the cure had not reach her toe at all.  Guide feet in perfectly ;).

I just came across an interesting article in Scratch magazine from last month called “riding the wave” which is perfect for this gel curing light occurrence.  The Science:-

  • There is no universal UV lamp
  • 36w indicates how much electricity used not the light output
  • LED will not cure old gels as it does not have several peaks in brightness

One of the most important pieces of information with regards to gel curing lamps is , your insurance will be effected if you have not used the correct lamp for the formulated products you are using.

Money well spent lovely addition to my kit… and yes its already covered in paint dabs from the finger jabbing into light madness.

Various ways to be an artist

Spending an hour with someone every 2 weeks while touching them physically and sitting in close range of their personal space is one of the most intimate ways to get to know someone.

I have clients with varied professions from Office Mangers to Social Workers.  One client last week told me a story that warmed my heart as I related to on every level.  Going from a very serious, high pressured, restricted work environment to starting a artist course/business, in her case it was Henna.

The excitement of learning a new artistic skill, knowing you have a little flare of artistry in you, trying to hone it in and expand the knowledge.  The pride you feel when you complete a course with excellent feedback , then comparing your work from pre and post education.  Then the real fun….. opening your mind to what you can really do after using your natural ability and course based skills.  The joy it gives you to look back at your work and see how creative you really are.

Its freeing, it uses a different side of the brain, a sense of achievement, the shock and awe you give yourself from the feeling that what is in front of you came from your hands, your knowledge and YOUR skill.

Same as always everyone around you doesn’t understand your journey or the way it makes you feel, why you would want to step away from the normal routes in society, the routes that make obvious and steady money with pension schemes and annual leave.  When all you can feel is the lioness in you roaring louder than every now that you have fed her artistic flare.  The strain between normal and extraordinary is a risk not everyone is willing to take but I feel that once there is creativity involved, the door is too open to close.

Side note…. Henna is temporary body art which is also called Mehndi.  It can dye skin, hair, fingernails and fabric.  In many cultures wedding henna is still tradition and an important custom.  Henna gives blessings to the bride of joy and luck.  The designs are custom made for every client and can last up to 2 weeks.

Power to the creative mind!

 

 

Nail Art Trends – Stamping

Stamping is becoming the new go to for all types of nail designs.

Initial thoughts are that skilled nail artist could free hand most of the stamping nail plate designs. The reality is YES you can free hand the patterns which is a more personal, professional, artistic touch but stamping is time efficient, clean, crisp and easy (well if you follow these tips)

Ive watched the videos I’ve read the instructions, I’ve tried it and I’ve learnt its not as easy as it looks but thats nothing new when it comes to nails.  There should be a standard nail technician slogan that says “Its not as easy as it looks”

In order for stamping to work there is technique involved.  What i learnt…..

  1. Clean stamping plate with nail polish remover
  2. Apply a few drops of nail polish to the part of the design you want
  3. Scrape the polish across the design with a card just once is enough, do not scrape over and over in an attempt to get the liquid into the groves
  4. IMMEDIATELY press the stamper down firm and precisely onto the polish covered design
  5. Wait for a few seconds for the polish to get slightly tacky
  6. Press the stamper carrying the design straight onto the nail looking through the stamper to ensure design is placed appropriately

You could now generously top coat your beautiful design for a luxurious glossy look or get wild with it and maybe stamp again over the design with a second colour.  There is a technique of when the design is on the stamper using polish to fill in some of the lines with different colours before applying to the nail.  I have seen this done in on screen but never attempted. The chances are of it looking easy on film but not so much when attempting in real world maybe likely, you have been warned!

Visually stamping is awesome, the detail that you can pick up from one of these plates is just gorgeous.  I will be stamping my own hand again and anyone who else’s who will let me.

Watch out im armed with a stamper!!

Pure Vitamin D

As a small experiment, I decided to go on holiday (where there was predicted 32 degree heat) without my nails painted…. oh the horror!!

Every nail technician is aware that summer time = busy time.  Brits flock to hotter places with coral coloured finger nails, the infamous secret toes that are covered all year round get a little air time whilst navigating very hot foreign sands. Its a standard procedure to have a mani / pedi before a holiday but isn’t the sun meant to be good for hair and nails?

“Apparently” a large portion of the world is deficient in vitamin d.  Vitamin D itself can assist your body in the increased absorption of calcium, and aid in heart , brain and immune function.  All things that will increase hair and nail health and growth.  When gaining this Vitamin d via the sun, sun cream is a MUST!

There was a slight alteration to the experiment, as I am of mixed race I tan extremely well due to the melanin in my skin. Melanin blocks UVB rays which inevitably means I would require more sun exposure to produce the adequate amounts of vitamin D compared to most.  My nails didn’t get the memo 😉

My nails were slightly unkempt before I went to this Sahara heat but I performed a luxury manicure to get them into TLC receiving mode and I performed the same manicure on return.

Did my nails come home in a better condition they went to Spain in.  Yes.

Would I do it again. No. 

As much as my nails were pink shiny and full of a healthy glow, there is no fun in sitting around a pool with lots of brightly coloured toe nails around you to then look down and my …. well…. feet! Basically is all I could described the sad look of my toes with no jazzy colour staring back at me.

POWER TO THE BEACH READY MANI / PEDI  

 

 

 

Nailing Mental Health

Nailing Mental Health is awesome!!

Nails and mental health are 2 things that I hold at the highest level of importance in my world and here’s why.

In 2013 I experienced a full mental breakdown.  I lost everything that I was and mentally lived in an extremely dark place.  The problem with living in the dark hole of depression is you can’t come out unless you have a rope.  That can be anything, your family, your best friend or your kids.  Anything!

Mine was nails.

I started to learn nail art and gel polish to keep my mind busy with something positive, using glitter and foils kept me visually stimulated.  The health an safety along with the anatomy of the nail itself kept my brain sharp and engaged.  The motivation to complete courses and gain certificates kept my spirits high from the sense of achievement.  Looking back on that time in life I can see that those early steps were like planting the nail seed and when I acknowledge how far I have come in my nail career I feel like its spring!

So… Nailing Mental Health is an amazing nail technician (Stephanie Staunton’s) way of fund raising and possibly breaking the Guinness World Record to promote awareness of mental health suffering.

The 1st event was held on 2nd April at the O2 Intercontinental Hotel and raised almost 6000 squid! The second epic event will be held at Olympia Beauty on 2nd October with the Guinness World Record attempt and a hope to raise another 5000 squid so that Nailing Mental Health can register as a charity in its own right.

With all this awesomeness happening I pushed aside the very annoying voice in my head which says im not a good nail professional and contacted Stephanie direct requesting to be part of her superwoman nail crew and guess what….. IM IN 🙂

Excited to use my skill for something so important is an understatement.  I will continue my positive nail career and I will also continue my approach to talk about mental health until its as accepted as the most common health problems like high blood pressure or diabetes.  Over the past 4 years the more I have done this the more I have heard …. “Yeah, my son is suffering with depression now”…. “I have terrible anxiety”….. “A few years ago I had a nervous breakdown too”.  The more we openly communicate about mental health the less alone we feel in our darkest days.

No matter the mental state I manage to get myself in, I have experience and facts to prove…. This too, shall pass. 

Wishing every suffer brighter days that outweigh dark days.

Nail Tech’s Success Challenge

When it comes to nails I like to keep an ear to the ground.  I have signed up to every possible newsletter from all industry leaders and continually look for more.  Following / Watching all the trend setters for nail art on Youtube and Instagram.

My thirst for knowledge and information is helpful because I come across some wonderful little gems, like this one…. The Nail Tech’s Success Challenge.

I have been receiving newsletters from Ela Loszcyk for a year or so now and her knowledge is very interesting, she has won numerous competitions and her nail extensions experience is vast.  I love hearing tips, tricks, new techniques, what works and what to stop doing.

Ela Loszczyk created this Challenge to help Nail Techs grow their businesses.  It was a 5 part challenge which was to be completed over a 5 day period with written workbook and online video to accompany the challenge.  In typical Rhiannon style I couldn’t quite do it the way it was suggested so I printed the workbooks and completed them when I had time.  Which was a Wednesday afternoon whilst drinking 4 cups of tea.

These types of exercises are amazing, I love pen to paper work as it really engages my brain to not only read a question, think of the answer, write it down in black and white, which then enables me to take it in and all of a sudden have clarification.  Its a very powerful tool.

A few things stood out to me after this exercise… How far I have come, My achievements so far, My very realistic and reachable future goals, A very clear view of what works for me and what does not, The new goals that I added and didn’t realise I wanted until this challenge and a really positive and healthy list of things to do.

On that positive note, im off to get working on some of those list items.

Thank you Ela for telling me:-

IT’S NOT WHO YOU ARE THAT HOLDS YOU BACK, IT’S WHO YOU THINK YOU’RE NOT

Nail Art Trends – Chroming

Chroming, Ombre, Stamping, Water marblling, just some of the trends of the past 2 years.

The biggest of the year is chroming, its on every youtube channel its on every instagram page and initially I wasn’t a fan, as you can get the look from polishes no?

I did my nail professional duty and bought a few colours to give it a whirl on some nail trend loving clients and I was honestly amazed.  Gawn open, eyes bulging with a smile in the corner of my lips type amazed.

In the pot the product looks like a fine glitter powder that we normally use for making custom blend products with acrylic powders or gels.  After watching numerous tutorials on how to properly apply the powder I tried a few combinations of routes with the products that I have to get the correct look.  The shine and the strange way all the powder grains joins together as if making a sheet of mirror was fascinating and something I personally had never seen before.  Like most techniques practice makes perfect.

Best results came from:-

  1. Usual PEP
  2. Gel base coat
  3. 2 gel colour coats (Which was Black Pool by CND Shellac)
  4. No wipe off gel top coat
  5. Apply the powder in a burnishing technique with an eyeshadow applicator

Repeat last 2 steps if the full chrome effect needed a little booster.

Not all nail art trends are worth the investment but I am a firm believer that this one is something im not only going to enjoy doing but will put a smile on my clients faces which is my main goal.  With that said, im going to hunt down some more effects with holographic being top of my list.

Bring on more chroming….

Nails Mastered: Creativity/Industry

Its all over

My Nails Mastered journey has come to a end.   Ive never been so nervous and excited at the same time.  It was as it I had won an oscar. Being chosen to participate in this course was a big eye opening for me, on a day to day basis I forget that I am a nail artist particiapating in the nail industry and at any moment can be recognised as being a part of it by a wide variety of people I look up to who are doing the same job as me.

Having a legend like Marian Newman viewing, commenting and guiding my work was something very special, it really gave me a tingle of excitement of what my career could be.

Now all these nicely tingle wingle, oh so lovely paragraphs are not the only emotions that went with this course.  If I had any advice for the next round of students its no matter how much time you think you have put aside to do well on this course its not enough you’ll need more!! I unfortunately moved house at the same time as the course kicked off and my creative juices were lost in decorating stress but everything happens for a reason.

There were 2 factors in the course which changed my whole outlook on my career choice.

Feedback

The feedback received from industry experts was so trueful and brutal that it sometimes made me want to throw my entire nail kit in the wheeley bin and move on!

Brief/Opportunity/Tasks

As the course had so many big names supporting our learning there were lots of opportunities available if we did well….. IF we did well.  Which I did not.

Combining brutal feedback and not winning any of the tasks and seeing how amazing other nail artists were compared to me made it a very tough few months of doubting my skills and my creative abilities.  For a month or 2 after the 1st stage of the course finished I felt that maybe nails is not for me!

When something rocks you to that extent to the core and yet your still hustling everyday doing it tells me im a fighter and I will keep doing this and I will get better and I will build my empire and I will have the career that I want.  As I said earlier everything happens for a reason and im so glad that I didn’t do so well on the course because I have more fire in my belly than I ever had.

So im now building with fresh bricks on my foundation that is solid!  Thank you Nails Mastered and Marian Newman for inspiring me to progress.

My 1st Bridal Party

2016 has started in 6th gear and im loving it.

I have just performed 5 gel manicures on a bridal party, including the bride, over a two day period and it was a fantastic experience.

When women hear the word bride we tend to assume the world zilla will be at the end.  With a fear of what will they ask, will they be fussy, have they made a decisive decision and various other fearful questions.  Just like lots of my other experiences in life I was lucky.  For the 1st bridal party booking I have ever done it went smoothly and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of humans.

The ladies were lovely, they treated me as if they had known me for years.  We laughed, drank tea, talked and even discovered that its a small world and some of their family know my family.

The hustle and bustle of excitement, with glimpses of centre pieces scattered around the front room in preparation for the weekend.  The family banter of what the men might get up to and what time cars will be arriving was a warm and extremely pleasant experience.

Like all my bookings it came from a referral, I had a short time in between confirming the booking and it being the week of.  I had carried out a gorgeous gel manicure on a new client who was attending a hen party and then said wedding a few weeks after.  Once this lovely lady had flashed her well groomed talons at the hen, they all wanted the same.  I was happy to oblige them.

As I had expected everyone chose subtle shades various nudes with beige undertones or nudes with pink undertones.  The Bride had her ring finger detailed with a gorgeous lace decal which had a beautiful multicoloured glitter outline, extremely delicate taking nothing away from the finger or ring, only to entice the eyes in that direction.

I would 100% love to do more weddings as the years go on and if bridal season was all year I would offer my assistance to every bride in the area.