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I FINALLY have time to dedicate to becoming a certified nail technician!

About a year ago, I discovered a school in my area and have been in contact. At first, the school was only offering day classes, but I kept in touch and asked to be notified if night sessions or summer classes became available. I considered night classes during the school-year, but every time the opportunity arose, I was stressed enough with lesson planning and piles of grading; I didn’t want to add anything to my schedule. In addition, I was planning my wedding, and went away on my honeymoon for three weeks in the summer. So after much delay, I found myself with nothing pressing, so I registered.

The classes rotate so that one can complete the program (100 required hours) in four weeks. There are sessions dedicated to nail care, acrylics, gels and pedicures. I’ll be attending classes Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It’s an ambitious, full-time commitment, but I love nails so much, thinking about working on them for seven hours a day is exciting! The first half of the day will be lecture, the second half practice. Every Thursday there will be a test on the skills learned during the week.

I will summarize each day so you can follow my progress. Truly, you can become part of my “class” and learn what I learn. When I complete the course in mid-August, I’ll surely be inspired to bring you more techniques and nail designs!

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Gella Tutorial


Gella is a new brand of UV/LED polish that is breaking into the market.

Based in Canada, Gella has an easy to navigate website — gella.ca — which sells makeup and accessories in addition to nail supplies.  Although one can tell the site is in start-up mode due to limited selections and some empty link categories, the conceptual design of the page and their affiliate products are promising.  Gella also has an increasing presence on Twitter and Facebook.

The company emailed me requesting that I create a tutorial for their gel polish, and in turn they would send me free samples and a gift card.

Gella currently has 20 color choices.  For my samples, I chose “Black Jack” and “Treasure Box” mostly because I didn’t already have those colors from other brands.  It was also in the dead of winter when I received the email request, so I was probably influenced by trending shades for the season.

The samples shipped quickly, and the package included a crystal file and some lint-free wipes.

Gella’s site offers “Love It Kits” which include polishes, base and top coats, lint-free wipes, orange wood sticks, a buffer, nail file, and 9 watt UV lamp.  The site also features limited-time special deals such as 50% off a kit or a free 36 watt UV lamp, so check the homepage for these savings!

If you already have a lamp, the best package deal is the Gella 6 Pack, which allows you to choose six colors and save about $24 compared with purchasing each color individually.

Like most gel-polish hybrids I’ve encountered, Gella requires a light buff of the nail for better adhesion, and a cure time of two minutes in a UV lamp (36 watt) and 30 seconds in an LED lamp.  The polish lasts for 2-3 weeks without dulling or chipping.

The following video tutorial lists the necessary products and details the application process:

Hope you enjoyed my tutorial and continue seeking newbies to the nail community – Class dismissed!


Velvet Nails

It’s an exciting time for nail art–the recent broadcast of the Emmys even featured a mani-cam to show off celeb’s nails!  Now that the season is changing, many brands are launching new fall colors, but textured nails are the next step in style.  Yet another trend, the velvet manicure, is the newest innovation in nails.  Ciate, the company responsible for the caviar manicure, has released kits to achieve the velvet look in three autumn colors: Milk Cashmere, Blue Suede, or Berry Poncho.  The kits are available in Sephora stores.

Ciate’s instructional video:

Instead of sprinkling the velvet powder, you can also pour about a quarter-sized amount into a shallow dish and roll each nail into the finish as with glitter-pot application.  Either way, it is a bit messy.  As long as the polish hasn’t dampened the power, you can pour the excess back into the bottle for another manicure.  Make sure to only brush around the nail; the powder will sweep off easily before it dries.  I recommend applying a top coat for longevity.  Although this will defeat the matte finish effect, for all the cleanup, I’d like the polish to last at least a full week.

Craft stores also sell velvet powder if you want to avoid the $20 Ciate kit.  The Ciate polish isn’t formulated especially for the velvet powder, which means any nail polish will work.  The only benefit of using Ciate’s polish is that it exactly matches the powder, but if you cover your nails completely with velvet, you won’t see the base polish anyway.  When the velvet layer wears, chips or gaps will be better hidden with a matching base color, but essentially you can use clear.

Recommended buys: 

Ciate Velvet Manicure Kit

Doodlebug Crushed Velvet Flock Assortment

You can also achieve this look with actual velvet like the lace manicures of what seems like yesteryear.  You can cut small pieces of the fabric to fit on your nail beds, using fitted false nails as a guide.  You can then stick the fabric onto a polished nail.  Make sure to firmly press the edges of the fabric onto the nail to avoid lifting.

Look for other brands to copy this trend.  I’m predicting that other “fabrics” will make an appearance soon–why not corduroy, cashmere or silk?  Will you wear the fall fabrics on your nails?  Keep those nails warm with chic, cozy textures–Class dismissed!


Breast Cancer Supportive Shades

October is approaching, and many brands are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by launching new pink polishes, with proceeds being donated to cancer organizations and research.  Here’s a breakdown of some of the top brands that created new pink shades for 2012.






OPI began the Pink of Hearts line in 2007 and has annually donated $25,000 to the Susan G. Koman Cure.  Continuing the Pink of Hearts tradition for 2012 is a set of OPI’s “I Think In Pink” from Pink Soft Shades Collection (2010) with a new shade “You’d Glitter Be Good To Me” which consists of tiny pink confetti glitter with larger sequins of purplish glitter.  Layer them or wear them separately; either way they make a supportive statement.

Recommended buy: OPI Pink of Hearts 2012



These three glittery shades (“You Are Not Alone”, “Be Brave” and “Embrace”) each come with an awareness ribbon charm attached to the bottle. While “Be Brave” and “Embrace” are part of Orly’s Flash FX Glam collection, “You Are Not Alone” is an exclusive polish for this 2012 Pretty In Pink set.  ”Be Brave” (center) is a shredded, hairy purpley-pink holographic glitter.   “Embrace” (right) has larger chunks of hexagonal glitter and is a bit more peachy-pink than “You Are Not Alone” (left), but overall the polishes are similar and both have good coverage with one coat.  These glitter polishes all have a clear base, so they can be worn over other base colors, or alone for a more romantically feminine look.  20% of profits will go to the Cancer Schmancer Movement.  For more information, call 800-275-1111 or visit orlybeauty.com.

Recommended buy: Orly “Be Brave”


China Glaze

The largest collection is United in Purpose from China Glaze, which includes 12 colors ranging from neutrals (“Angel’s Breath”, “Pearls of Wisdom”, and “Dare To Be Bare”),  to light soft pinks (“Hopeful”, “Always A Lady”, “Faith” and pearly “Exquisite”), to traditional bright pinks (“Live Love Laugh”, “Beauty Within” and “Heart of the Matter”) to multi-rust colored glitters (“United” and “Hello Gorgeous”).  Although the proceeds amount has yet to be published, last year 18% of sales went to charitable donation. While supplies last, purchase any of the shades at Sally Beauty Supply stores.



You Can Make a Difference is a set of limited edition gel-polishes from Hand and Nail Harmony that cure in both UV and LED lamps. Instead of the regular bottles’ signature circles to peep the color, the custom bottles have cute hearts, but as with all Gelish polishes, the hue advertised on the bottle ends up different once it’s cured. “Less Talk” is a subtle, salmon-colored nude, “Make A Difference” is a bubblegum pink, and “Take Action” is a bold magenta. Purchases benefit the Susan G. Koman Cure.

Recommended buys (note image will not reflect color choice):

Gelish “Less Talk”

Gelish “Make a Difference”

Gelish “Take Action”



Leave it to Color Queen Essie to produce four more gorgeous shades of pink while making a charitable contribution to Living Beyond Breast Cancer.  ”We’re In It Together”, “Good Morning Hope”, “Check-Up” and “I Am Strong” are pearly pinks with the slight nuances in hue you’d expect from the Essie brand.

Recommended buys:

Essie “We’re In It Together”

Essie “Good Morning Hope”

Essie “Check-Up”

Essie “I Am Strong”


Which pinks will you buy and try?  Any of these are perfect for extra spirit during a walk or fundraiser.  For more information, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation site and click on the “How To Help” tab to donate to the cause.  Send me pics of your supportive shades mani or pedi!  You can also check out my breast cancer awareness nail art tutorials here!


Wedding Nails

As I planned for my wedding, the big question from friends wasn’t about the dress or the flower choices, but “What are you going to do with your nails?”  I knew I wanted a french manicure to have a versatile enough look for the honeymoon, and of course I had to add a little bling.  I decided on a french tip that is a bit angled to be slightly untraditional and unique.  To achieve this, you can use a flat brush dipped in alcohol to wipe away, and basically erase the white polish to create the desired line shape without taking off the base color.  Then rhinestones line the arch of the french tip for a little sparkle.


Here are the photos that served as my inspiration:

from: http://nailsshine.com/2011/05/28/rhinestones-nail-designs/

from: http://beautyandthegroom.com/the-last-detail-to-the-bridal-beauty-plan-the-nails/

What are YOU looking for in wedding nails?


Shellac New Colors 2012

Here’s more–CND is releasing six more colors of Shellac for spring.  Although at first glance, there isn’t much “pop” of color, two shimmer effects (“Silver VIP Status” and “Gold VIP Status” shown below on the left) are designed to layer over other colors to create more shades.  The other new additions are “Dark Lava”, “Rubble”, a great mushroom neutral, “City Scape”, which is a soft grey, and “Silver Chrome”, a metallic option.  The new shades should be available by March.


China Glaze Magnetix

I’ve posted about magnetic nail polish before (see my other post here), but the new burst of excitement is coming from the fact that China Glaze recently released its version.  Available in six colors, the collection also has a three-patterned magnet for design choices.  The colors are aptly named: You Move Me (golden brown),  Cling On (olive green), Pull Me Close (navy blue), Instant Chemistry (mauve), Drawn To You (lavender), and Attraction (grey). Each has a metallic sheen.

Magnetic polishes are going for about $16 a bottle, and most bottles are smaller (0.33 oz.) than regular, full-sized bottles.  China Glaze Magnetix comes in full-sized bottles (0.05 oz.) and costs about $10, so it’s a better bargain that the original front-runners of the market.

Recommended Buys:

China Glaze 2012 - Magnetix Collection 6pcs w/Magnet

China Glaze Nail Lacquer Polish Magnetix Magnet

If you already have another brand of magnetic polish, you can buy just the China Glaze magnet separately (approximately $6.00) for new designs.  Remember you can angle the magnet to create straight stripes using the bottom right pattern, or change the direction of the top magnet for a sideways or downturned arrow–be creative!   Enjoy this new trend that’s quickly replacing crackle polishes – Class dismissed!



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Winter Snowflake Nails

‘Tis the season – for holiday inspired nails!   This is my winter snowflake design, which is quite easy to accomplish with a Konad stamper.  (For more about Konad, see my post here: http://www.thenailteacher.com/2010/09/konadbm-review/)  I admittedly had trouble the first few times I tried stamping with regular nail polish, but the Konad polish definitely works better, and with a little patience and practice aligning the stamp to your nail, you can achieve detailed designs without any drawing skills.

I used Gelish “Up In The Blue” as my base color, but you can use any color as a background.  Blue shades keep the winter wonderland feel, but using red or green could add a bit more holiday cheer.  Before adding a top coat, I put on a coat of Revlon Street Wear “Charming” (now discontinued) for some sparkle.  Once the Gelish cured, I used Konad white polish with BM (Bundle Monster) plate #14.  Why I like gel polish–aside from its longevity–is because if you make a mistake, you can wipe off overlaid regular polish with nail polish remover without ruining the gel.  I tended to fit 2-3 snowflakes on each nail, depending on how I positioned the stamp.  Once the polish dried, I added rhinestones in the center of the snowflakes on my ring fingers, and brushed a thin coat of silver glitter polish (LA Colors Color Craze “Sparkling Diamonds”) for a bit more shine.

Some hints for successfully using the Konad stamper:

1.) Work quickly.  The faster you swipe the image free of excess polish and roll the stamp over it, the better.

2.) If the image isn’t transferring onto the stamp, try filing the stamp surface with an emery board.

3.) Check the stamp to see that the image isn’t missing pieces, is smudged or has excess drops of polish around it.  Whatever is on the stamp will imprint on your nail.

4.) Use the smallest stamp that will fit the image.  This gives you more control when stamping.

I hope these tips help, and that you enjoy this design!  Class dismissed!

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New Shellac Colors 2011

With most polish brands now creating gel polishes, CND Shellac is still competing by releasing new colors.  As the forerunner in the market, Shellac has still kept its identity with muted and traditional colors that layer to create more variety.  Shellac now offers 30 colors.  This fall’s release includes the following shades:

The buzz is around “Shellac Asphalt” – a popularly requested, trendy gray and “Shellac Zillionare” which creates colorful sparkle over any other color.  Check out these cool shades that will last through all 12 days of Christmas and into the new  year!

Recommended buys: Shellac Asphalt,  Shellac Zillionare


For more about Shellac, including the other color swatches, see: Shellac Attack & Shellac New Colors





Magnetic Nail Polish

The new trend rocking the polish market is magnetic!  No, this is not a way to attract metal objects with your fingers.  This polish is designed to react to a patterned magnet.  Once the nail polish is applied, holding a magnet over the nail pushes the polish into the pattern. It’s an easy way to create a 3D effect without any artistic ability!

Although LCN and Nails Inc. are the market leaders, several other brands have released magnetic polishes including Essence, Layla, Boots 17, Lancome Le Magnetique, and L’Oreal Star Magnet.  The LCN brand sells separate star and striped magnets, whereas most of the other bottles’ magnets are on the top of the bottles.



Here is the Nails Inc. tutorial from Sephora:

Currently, you can purchase the Nails Inc. London at Sephora stores for $16.00.  Layla Magneffect is only fifty cents cheaper on Amazon.com.  For other brands, you may to purchase from their direct sites; availability is still slim in the US, but keep checking Ulta, Sally Beauty and other pharmacy stores to release magnetic polishes.

I suggest purchasing the LCN magnets ($19) to use with other polishes–this way you will have three effects: the star shape and either diagonal or straight lines (depending on how you hold the magnet).  When you run out of polish, keep the caps if they have other design patterns!  You can mix and match the magnets with different polishes since they all have the same active particles.  Have fun experimenting – Class dismissed!