As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, more clients are looking for ways to look and feel better about themselves.
When it comes to their nails, it seems that more people are ready and willing to spend on their beauty services. And while some clients will always prefer a more understated nail look, many more are opting for art that shows off their personality.
Rather than just for special occasions or the holiday season, metallic and foiled finishes polishes are now becoming the new norm, especially since they were trending on the runways at Fashion Week at shows such as The Blonds, KNWLS and Vivienne Westwood.
“It’s a way for people to get more involved in the world of nail art,” says Arvella Giesbrecht, a Toronto-based nail artist and OPI educator. “I also think that age is a huge factor. Older and more traditional ladies are still going for the classic one colour but the younger generation is definitely venturing into something different and exciting to look at.”
The Rise of Metallics
While more clients are requesting metallic and gold foiled looks, some still don’t understand the difference between the two. According to Giesbrecht, the difference lies in the application and consistency of the product.
“To create chrome or metallic looks, you use an additive and gently sponge it into the nail or there are also polishes that give you a metallic look straight out of the bottle,” she explains. “Gold foiling is more of an actual fine and soft foil consistency that you fleck onto the nail in the desired location and design. So they’re a different medium altogether.”
Gold foiling has been in such high demand that there are now different types of gold foils available. “The first type is the traditional one-sided foil transfer sheets that come in gold and every other colour as well,” says Linda Trang Ly, CND educator and owner of Onyx Aesthetics Studio in Vancouver. “Another popular type of gold foil is using special layering techniques with gold chrome powders to get a more precise detailed nail art.”
Fun with Foils
With so many variations and techniques, there’s no one way to create gold foiling designs, which makes it all the more fun and unique! “I like to use abstract art to create random, uneven splashes of colour followed by random splashes of foil over it so no nail is the same as the other,” says Ly.
Giesbrecht, who is also a fan of abstract foil looks, uses the press method technique. “A press method is a foil that is pre-painted with the gold foil so you can just press it on the nail. I use this to create more abstract looks so I just transfer the gold foil and press it into the base coat or colour coat depending on what look the client is going for.”
PRO TIP: For a more understated approach, Giesbrecht recommends using a fine tweezer and placing tiny pieces of gold foil to create a more intricate design.
In order to make gold foiling more wearable for minimalist clients (including brides), Giesbrecht would opt for a soft design rather than an edgy one. “I would envelope it in soft pinks or an off-white and then put the gold foil in between so it’s subdued,” she says. “Another go-to of mine is to do a half nail with a soft white or pink and gold foiling on the other half.”
One of the many ways Ly makes gold foiling more wearable is by incorporating it into traditionally classic nail looks. “I would incorporate gold foils and metallics in French tips or half-moons mixed with a natural look to add some glam to it,” she says. “Another favourite of mine is to hand paint an empty heart and make the heart metallic.”
“Since the pandemic, we experienced an uptick in nail art because I think everyone is doing anything to make them happy.” — Linda Trang Ly, CND educator and owner of Onyx Aesthetics Studio, Vancouver
Pot of Gold
Since many metallic and gold foil designs require additional materials and more time of the nail artist, they’re a great way to build business in the salon. “It’s a longer process depending on how specific a client wants to be,” says Giesbrecht. “I would say it’s an additional 10 to 15 minutes of the nail artist’s time for every client. Most nail technicians charge extra for gold foiling and some even charge by nail.”
“Gold and silver foiling are always top choices for nail art additions but we always recommend charging extra for nail art as there are costs in material and time to apply it,” says Ly.
For nail artists creating gold foiling looks for the first time, Ly recommends starting slow. “Start off with a really nice semi-sheer colour that complements the client’s skin tone but never forget to ask the client want they want. They might prefer a gold, silver or a rose gold and just because we like it, doesn’t mean the client will,” she says.
“Practice, practice, practice,” adds Giesbrecht. “If you can, practice on gel nail tips before trying gold foiling on clients and don’t get too caught up in how it should look, just have fun with it.”