Nearly all forms of nail art have the same requirements of nail technicians: Patience and a strong attention to detail. But what does it really take to elevate your nail game? We get the lowdown from two salon owners on how to refine your techniques.
Nail art is ever-evolving. From line work and geometric shapes to marbling and 3-D, your skill set needs to keep up with trends. And let’s face it: Today’s education doesn’t always come from a classroom. Since there’s no time like the present to learn how to take your nail skills to the next level (because, frankly, that’s why clients look to you), here’s expert intel on further honing your ability and creating designs your clients will keep coming back for.
Learning From Within
For Maria Cristina Bruno, co-owner of Ritual, a salon in downtown Toronto, it begins with the hiring of her team. “We have a very demanding and intricate training process before they can begin working on clients,” she says. “One of our core values is continuous improvement. Do the people we hire have a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to always be improving their skills?”
While it’s a given that most nail artists tend to be naturally creative people, Bruno says a passion for learning is essential. She has helped develop a peer-training culture within her salon, which encourages staff to train and learn from each other. “We have some superstars in nail art, so we try to set up peer training so they can [learn from] each other,” she says. “We have very open communication with our team, so if we see nail art accounts on social media that we love, we’ll talk about the work and band together to improve our skills, and use downtime to practice.”
As clients become more and more savvy (and demanding) when it comes to nail art, the need to refine your skills becomes all the more important. In addition to in-salon training, Bruno recommends utilizing training tools available from your salon’s brands, along with YouTube tutorials, which can help you get in front (and ahead) of some of the hottest trends.
Leading by Example
The focus on education for nail techs is something we see from coast to coast. For Lise Pavich, owner of Urban Image Spa, located in Edson, Alta., it’s something she spends a lot of time instilling in her staff. As one of the newest education ambassadors for CND, Pavich says her role has been helpful for her to relay the latest, cutting-edge techniques and product innovations to her team.
“At our salon, we tend to grow our own nail techs,” she says. “Since we’re more rural, education tends to be hours away and can be quite limited. But as an education ambassador for CND, I have the opportunity to network worldwide, so I bring back techniques to teach the team. It helps them not feel as isolated, and a lot of them bring new ideas to the table, like colour or art combinations, so we keep each other from getting stuck in a rut.”
“Stay current by finding a few people you can network with. Connect with them on social media and YouTube, and ask them questions. A lot of people in the nail world are inspired by art, and their passion comes from different colours, techniques and textures. Inspiration doesn’t always happen when you’re alone at a nail desk, so keep reaching out to other people and networking. Source your own form of education.”
— Lise Pavich, an education ambassador for CND
Whether you’re in a big city or small town, many of today’s nail inspiration is being sourced from the same place: Online. “It’s certainly taken over our clients’ world,” says Pavich. “We’ve been seeing a lot of marbling, meaning anything that looks like a mineral or rock. People also can’t wait to break out the brighter spring and summer colours.”
Finally, she recommends investing as much time and research into products and tools as you do the trends. “If you’re seeing wonderful geometric shapes, mastering tools like detailing brushes and products to help maintain the integrity of the nails are just as important as learning the many different techniques,” she says. “You need products, such as a detailing brush, stylus, stamping tools, etc., that can handle tiny details and intricacies. Having a variety [at your disposal] makes a big difference.”