You’re fighting the wrong monster

Our industry is imploding and you’re battling the wrong monster.
In this time, I have watched my beloved industry implode upon itself on a global scale.  First it was at the start of the Pandemic.  At the outset, with different regions mandating closures of non-essential services on different timetables had industry peers pointing fingers in criticism and judgement.  Across Canada, across the United States and across the United Kingdom; the nail-tech boards and facebook was lit up with infighting and status posts of anger and insult.  Nailtechs hurling insults at each other because this one or that one was waiting until the midnight hour to close because their government hadn’t yet mandated them to close.   My inbox is full of messages from nailtechs stressing out, worrying as they have no savings and what are they to do when they close? How will they pay their rent? How will they feed their kids? So on and so forth.  Meanwhile, their so called “friends” are attacking them, being cruel and mean and nasty.  Their former friends are showing no empathy whatsoever. I watched decades-long friendships come to a bitter end with a few slashing keystrokes.
I watched one status post after another, across the globe. It brought me to this.

Corona Status Ugly People

I confess, I was one of the techs that waited for the midnight hour. I didn’t realize that I was at the time.  I could see the writing on the wall. I firmly believe we are heading into a recession of sorts once this mess is over.  Everyone knows the first thing cut out of a budget when a recession hits is luxury services and what are nails? A luxury service, so yes… I pushed it as far as I could. GUILTY.   So I had made my decision round about the Tuesday.  I posted my notice on the Sunday morning (because I didn’t want my following week’s clients freaking out as I had nowhere to fit them in anyway). I went out to run a banking errand and upon my return home, a local news media group had posted notice we were to close.  The next morning on the Monday, our health board had it posted on their site. So there you have it. I closed before Mandate was issued, but only just barely.
I know for absolute fact that some doors will never reopen as the owners themselves have told me so, and this makes me sad.  I know some doors may open, but that they may not be able to recover and may have to close permanently anyway.  As for the rest of us.  We have some work to do to recover.
Now the Industry is imploding again with everyone tearing at each other’s throats with nastiness and anger because some regions are reopening before others, largely because in most cases, the ‘curve’ hasn’t flattened out yet.
PLEASE be kind to one another. Please leave the ‘ugly’ in a box under lock and key. There is no need for it. If you’re concerned for the safety of others, fine. Then express THAT, the concern. But there is absolutely no need to be ugly or nasty or judgmental about it!
If you feel that the government’s attempt to protect the ‘greater good of many’ by enforcing quarantines & closures is an infringement upon your rights, maybe consider your neighbor and their right to simply live and not die because that’s why your government is mandating the closures. For the greater good of MANY as opposed to a few.
Some feel that the expression “we’re all in this together” doesn’t encompass them as we’re not all fighting the same battles since everyone is on different playing fields and that much is true, up to a point, in so far as business and personal life is concerned.
I get it. I’m not oblivious. I know. We all do. Many governments are NOT taking care of the small businesses and many independent business owners are taking a huge hit and at risk of losing their livelihoods and even their homes… it’s scary as heck. I know.
Be that as it may, we are all still facing the same opponent- The Coronavirus Covid-19. THAT’S the Monster that you should be angry with.
THAT’S your Opponent.  Corona is the Monster that you should be angry with.
Your neighbor, your colleague, your government with whom you do not agree on a certain viewpoint, whom you may be annoyed with at this moment; they are NOT your opponents, but are instead your team-mates against Corona.
Instead of directing your anger at them, why not arm them with the tools they need to combat their foe?
It’s no secret. I do not agree with opening at this time. I don’t support that idea. However, if my colleague is determined to open at this time because his/her government is permitting it, then who am I to say otherwise? It’s not my place to be judge and jury.
Opinions are like A**holes. Everyone has one.
So instead of judging and pointing fingers, and arguing with your colleague, why not SUPPORT your colleague?   Offer to help him/her review his/her list of protocols to see if he/she missed anything?    Help him/her to obtain PPE that is in short supply these days to ensure that he/she has sufficient quantity for him/herself and their clients to last quite a while. Help him/her to obtain sufficient quantity of disinfectants.  Offer to be a sounding board for his/her concerns.
Because the reality is this:  Unless you are going to pay that person’s mortgage, grocery bills, electric bills etc etc…..  you don’t have a say about anything.  You don’t have a right to judge.
Furthermore, if they have already decided that they are going to reopen, nothing you say will change their mind. So getting nasty with them will change NOTHING. However, maybe something positive that you say or do could have potentially positive results. Think on that for a moment.
So be a Team-mate and help him/her fight the real monster.

Farewell 2019

Life challenges us; and sometimes, some of us get way more than our share. I know, I’ve been there.  This past year, I watched several of my friends face horrendous challenges. My heart ached quietly from the sidelines for them, as their lives shattered into a million pieces. I didn’t say much.  Truthfully, I didn’t know what to say. What are words in the face of such hardships and tragedies? They don’t change anything. They can’t fix what’s broken, or return what’s lost.  I don’t have magic words any more than I have a magic wand.  So, I did what many did, and shamefully uttered a few platitudes and then didn’t say anything else.  I occasionally reached out, but I didn’t push. I didn’t want to intrude.  I just wanted them to know I’m still here.   I don’t have magic words, but I do have a sympathetic ear. Or if they just wanted to ‘forget’, I can offer ridiculous comedy at my own expense. I can do that. I’m kind of good at making myself the butt of the joke.

Ordinarily, my New Year’s posts are about how I’m NOT sad to see the previous year go. Usually because I see so many other’s being negative about the past. I always look at the past as a positive.  Because…. I’ve had to learn how to turn negatives into positives, or I’d just drown in the quagmire of it all.  As I said, I’ve faced my own demons & challenges.  I’ve been there.  So, this would be the point where I tell you all how hard I’ve worked this year investing in myself, blah blah blah. Then I could blather about some of the highlights. More blah de blah blah blah…………………      But this year, I’m not going to do that.  I’m not going to make light of the hardships that others have faced. I’m NOT blind. I see you. Yes, I SEE YOU.  I see you battling, and pushing and fighting. I see you on the days where you’re hanging on by a thread, and I see the days where you appear to be an indomitable force to others.  While others may think “hey he/she’s got this, they’re overcoming it”. What I see is “She/he’s got her mask on, her/his game-face on”.   You’re at war and you’re prepared for battle.  Fighting for your sanity, for your life, for your family; armored and with every weapon you can get your hands on. While on the inside, you’re barely held together with bits of scotch tape and band-aids.  I see you, and I’m so very proud at how hard you’re kicking ass.

2019 was hard for many of you and I’m not going to make an empty promise of ‘things get better’.  Maybe they do for some, maybe they don’t. Usually, we just learn how to better DEAL with the challenges. At least, that’s how it worked for me. Everyone is different. That’s the truth of it.  Pain doesn’t go away, it doesn’t fade. We just learn to live with it, to move around it, how to tuck it away.   Some even find ways to ‘use’ pain and turn it into something constructive.  I don’t have the answers. What I have is an open door, a listening ear, a sympathetic shoulder, and a poor excuse for comic relief.

What we all have is a new day, starting tomorrow.  A new minute, that can start right now.  We don’t have to wait for New Year’s eve for a ‘new start’.  I don’t know why some folks think we do. It’s a silly notion.  So while I don’t look on my own past year with sadness, I do look back on the past year of others’ with sadness; so I think starting fresh would be nice for many.

One of my demon’s once quoted to me “Seek and you shall find, it is always so in life”. I took that positive from the negative and used it in my own fight…. and it’s remained true. I do truly believe that if you look hard enough, you’ll find it.  So my wish for 2020 is for all of you to continue to overcome your challenges.   For all of you to find joy even in the smallest of things, such as fresh laundered & crisp sheets. To find beauty everywhere, like raindrops glistening on windows.  Most of all, for all of you to be healthy and happy.

Love to all of you, HAPPY NEW YEAR!




WARNING: DANGEROUS Burst-type gel polish remover

In recent months, we have seen advertisements regarding fast gel polish removers popping up all over Facebook, Instagram, Ebay and other sites.

You’ve probably seen the below adverts as you’ve meandered the web.

It would appear that whichever company is manufacturing it,  is retailing it to others to custom label and retail under other names.  This would be my assumption. It’s a common practice in the industry.  Manufacturer’s retail to distributors to private label.

The Nail Tech community has been discussing it at length with great concern, with a few members of our community doing some research.



More recently, as of October 10th 2019,  Industry Scientist Doug Schoon of released information on the product(s) in question.  He released the Analysis of the product, and had this to say on the subject:

The official results are for the so-called “Burst” Removers for nail coatings. They are dangerous solvents, typically used to remove epoxy paints from bridges/buildings- of course while wearing the appropriate respirators and other safety equipment used for hazardous work.

They are NOT safe for use on nails and NOT safe to inhale. The report found 6% Methanol and 84% Methylene Chloride, both are prohibited in cosmetics in most countries, if not all. These are considered dangerous concentrations, in my view. I believe an International investigation into this matter is in needed.

Share this info widely- these products are dangerous and unsafe for salon or retail use. Which is why no reputable nail companies are selling these types of products.

The report is for a product called “Vinimay Professional Magic Remover”, but these results apply to ALL of the so-called “Burst-type” Removers. They are manufactured by unscrupulous companies in China and distributed world-wide by foolish/naive companies who clearly did NOT do safety testing or ask too many questions.

That’s THE real problem, in my view. These companies are responsible for the products they sell, even if they believed the lies told to them by the manufacturers. That’s a bogus excuse.

This is Doubly Shameful. Shame on those who manufactured this harmful product AND Extra Shame on the enabling distribution companies jumping on the band wagon to make a quick buck…. at the expense of their client’s health and safety!

Please Take Action- Share this post widely! Let’s put a stop this now!

Wherever you see this product sold, provide a copy of the accompanying lab report. Share it with both the Seller and your Local Authorities. Share on Facebook/Instagram. Demand that this and other products like it be removed from the marketplace, ASAP! Please Share this Widely!

Regulatory Authorities, see the attached report and please take appropriate actions.”

PLEASE share this information far and wide as these products are available to professionals and non-professionals alike and poses a risk to everyone.

This sort of fiasco is exactly why Professionals should stick to PRO-ONLY Authorized Distributors & Pro-Only products and why NO ONE should be purchasing nail enhancement products from Ebay, Amazon or similar related sites. Sure, get some rhinestones cheap, why not.   But when it comes to these types of products, DON’T BE A SCROOGE!

Your safety, and that of your clients is worth far more than the pennies you save!

UPDATE:  11 October 2019

From Doug Schoon‘s Facebook page


Visit EPA BANS CONSUMER SALES OF METHYLENE to learn more about that ingredient.

Victorious Balm & Serum

Victorious Balm & Serum

Meet Victorious Balm & Serum!   For those serious about using natural ingredients, and serious about taking care of their skin.  Everything your skin needs, and nothing it doesn’t.

Victorious Balm & Serum are created from 100% natural ingredients.  Ingredients carefully selected for very specific benefits. I’ll only touch briefly on the ingredients because their benefits are many and I don’t want to science too much and put you to sleep 😉

Victorious Balm contains ingredients such as Cocoa, Shea & Jojoba butters and more, whipped into a pleasing texture.  It has the added benefits of natural Vitamin E (NOT to be confused with the synthetic colorless variety) for it’s anti-oxidant properties that benefit both your skin and to preserve the Balm naturally.

Cocoa Butter is derived from the Cocoa bean, which contains a significant amount of polyphenol and flavanoid antioxidants, and also has the ‘good’ saturated fats that are easily absorbed and beneficial for healing dry & cracked skin.  Anti-oxidants benefit your skin by limiting the production of free radicals that cause damage.

Shea Butter comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Shea (Karite) tree and that is naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F, and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and the nutrients necessary for collagen production.  A 2010 study by the “College of Science and Technology” found that “due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter was anti-inflammatory. One compound in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation and even potentially help avoid skin mutations.” This also makes it beneficial for some people with acne.

Now let’s talk about Victorious Serum. In the beginning, when I first launched it back in 2008, it was known as ‘Serieuse’ and had a base of Almond oil.  It has come a long way since and no longer contains Almond oil (which poses as an allergen for many).

Victorious Serum is a fusion of oils, some of which are Jojoba, Ricebran and more.

Jojojoba oil is derived from the seed of the Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) plant (pronounced Ho-ho-ba). Jojoba oil contains beneficial ingredients, including vitamin E, vitamin B and more and a very high percentage of iodine which gives jojoba oil its power to heal. Due to anti-inflammatory properties, it can calm & reduce redness and soothe the dry and chapped skin.  Jojoba closely imitates sebum, produced by our sebaceous glands in our skin.  As we age our sebaceous glands produce less sebum, which is why we get dry skin and hair (leading to dandruff or itchy scalp).  On the other hand, too much sebum, which happens during puberty or when hormone levels are high, can result in oily skin and acne. However Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores so it keeps your oil levels balanced.  Studies have indicated that Jojoba oil can also accelerate the wound-healing process, and reduce skin lesions.  This is wonderful for Excema and Psoriasis  sufferers.

Ricebran oil is extracted from the germ as well as the husk of rice.  Rice bran oil is light and penetrates easily, with deep-moisturizing capability due to its combination of vitamin E and fatty acids, plus vitamin B to help firm and tighten your skin, maintaining hydration, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Rice bran oil is considered an anti-aging secret in Japan.  It is a good source of tocotrienols, an antioxidant that is more potent than Vitamin E.  Rice bran oil also contains “squalane” which is known to help your skin look younger and fresher.

Vitamin E is found in both Victorious Balm & Serum and is easily absorbed by your skin.  Vitamin E is not actually a single vitamin, but rather a group of fat-soluble vitamins with antioxidant effects.  Vitamin E will neutralize free radicals in the skin and this aids with healing and reducing scars.  As a natural anti-inflammatory, it can alleviate & soothe eczema or atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis symptoms. The article “Vitamin E & Skin Health“, brought to us by Oregon State University had this to say part “Vitamin E is an integral part of the skin’s antioxidant defenses, primarily providing protection against UV radiation and other free radicals that may come in contact with the epidermis.”   and  “Use of unesterified vitamin E, similar to that found in natural sources, has provided the most consistent data concerning its topical efficacy. The vitamin E family consists of eight different tocopherols and tocotrienols,”

Now these aren’t all of the ingredients, I’d surely put you to sleep extolling ALL of the benefits of ALL of the ingredients.  But you can find the full list on the packaging.

If you’ve made it this far through all that sciencey’ jargon, I’ll tell you a little bit about the packaging.

Yes. It. Is. Green. Of course it is! That’s my favorite color! However, that’s beside the point.   I have always packaged my products, since 2008, in containers that inhibited UV light.  Why?    To protect your investment!

Natural butters and carrier oils are photosensitive to UV light. It ages them and by doing so, reduces their valuable properties and their effectiveness.  When we visit the Salon or Beauty supply and see products on the shelves, ever wonder how long they sat there? Ever wonder for how long they were exposed to UV light? I do, which leads me to question the integrity of the product; how old is it and has it been compromised?  For this reason, to insure the full lifespan of the products, they are packaged in containers to inhibit UV light.     The Serum bottles have the secondary protection of serum-dispensing caps.  By not needing to remove the cap to access product, you reduce the circulation of oxygen in the product. Oxygen can also speed up the aging process of natural ingredients.  An added benefit of these particular serum dispensing caps is that they dispense the exactly right amount of product. One squirt for light treatment of 2 hands, or 2 squirts for a more intense treatment.  Last but not least, the serum-dispensing caps also prevents contamination of your products.  This is ideal for use in a Salon environment, or in a home where you share your products and maybe your cohabitants <cough cough your kids cough cough>   don’t share your your hygienic habit of washing their hands.

I hope you’ve found this information to be as interesting as I did when I began my research back in 2008.  Both products have been through some changes over the years, in an endeavor to reap the best results.

To hear what someone else has to say, please feel free to read this blog post from 2014 regarding my Balm, Victorious Balm Claims A Real Victory.

Victorious Balm really is a BOMB 😉



UV/LED Nail Lamps are SAFE!

Contrary to News Stations and Click-bait websites that use sensationalism to get clicks and views, Lamps used for nail services are SAFE!!!
Yesterday, Global News aired a news report that claims otherwise. I posted to their Facebook timeline, we’ll see if the moderators of said page approve my post. In the meantime, please review the information further below.
****I encourage you to do your research before you publish ‘news’. With regards to this video…. It’s fear based sensationalism. Scary headlines get the views. How about sharing some true facts? From the inventor of the SPF rating: According to Dr. Robert M. Sayre, Ph.D., of Rapid Precision Testing Laboratories one of the creators of the SPF rating system: “UV Nail Lamps are safer than natural sunlight or sunlamps.” According to Dr. Sayre: “People who are indoors have little to no skin risk due to long-term exposure to fluorescent lighting. People who sunbathe or work outdoors have real risks of excessive UV exposure, the cause of sunburn and skin cancer.” Hands get more UV exposure holding the steering wheel of a car or talking on a cell phone outside than they do from the use of UV nail lamps.”   In addition, here’s a report from a Scientist & his colleagues,  SchoonScientific-UV Nail Lamp Facts and ProBeautyOrg-UV Nail Lamps Little Risk  which states in part “We elected to compare UV nail lamp irradiance with exposure of narrowband UVB (NBUVB) used for phototherapy, in order to provide a perspective with respect to a common and well-known exposure. NBUVB is a commonly used dermatological treatment, viewed as low risk, although not as zero risk, for the development of keratinocyte carcinoma (KC, i.e., basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma).” “.. one would need over 250 years of weekly UV Nail sessions to experience the same risk exposure” ***
To my clients- PLEASE do not apply sunscreen to your hands immediately before an appointment. If you’re applying only because you are afraid of UV exposure from my lamps, then perhaps you shouldn’t leave the house as you’ll receive more exposure in your travels TO my location than you will receive during services AT my location. Additionally, sunscreen can inhibit and/or prevent nail enhancement products from bonding to the nail plate and you’ll experience lifting as a result.
Have faith in me, that I am a trained professional and well versed on the safety of the products and equipment at my table. Please don’t be shy to ask questions, and/or verify the veracity of the articles I’ve shared herein.
Source of image unknown- Additional Images found here that you can share to raise awareness:
14May2019 / EDITED TO ADD
In part, it states “ But the FDA views nail curing lamps as low risk when used as directed by the label. For example, a 2013 published studyExternal Link Disclaimer indicated that—even for the worst case lamp that was evaluated—30 minutes of daily exposure to this lamp was below the occupational exposure limits for UV radiation. (Note that these limits only apply to normal, healthy people and not to people who may have a condition that makes them extra sensitive to UV radiation.) To date, the FDA has not received any reports of burns or skin cancer attributed to these lamps.”

When do I need a New Set of Nails?

This week I was asked (not for the first time) “When do I need to take off my nails and get a new set?” The answer is “Never”. You NEVER “Need” to do a removal & new set, except if you’re going to surgery and the Doctor says so.
New Sets are ‘optional’, and not a necessity. Want and Need are two different things.
A: You may “WANT” a New Set if
  1. Your natural nails don’t grow into what you consider a perfect shape, and you want a new set to create the illusion of perfectly shaped nails (maybe your nails grow into a hooked shape downwards, maybe they don’t have a nice c-curve,etc)
  2. Artistic reasons. Maybe you want some encapsulated nail art (ie: dried flowers, snake skin, scorpion, butterly wings, feathers, etc) and have something ‘inside’ the acrylic/gel. OR you want “Stained Glass” or “Jelly Nails” where the end of your nail is see-through (because your natural nail certainly isn’t see-through. Then you’ll need a new set.
  3. You want to change the shape from Almond to Coffin or Oval to Square, etc. Then to increase the surface area for that required shape, a new set is required.
  4. You want to change systems (ie: from Acrylic natural nail overlay to IBX Boost gel overlay). This is two entirely different services that don’t work together.

Sculpting New Set

B: It has been my experience that salons that frequently require new sets are either one or all of the following:
  1. It’s a Cash Grab (they can charge you for the removal, and more for a new set than for a rebalance)
  2. They use MMA (Illegal & cheap) Acrylic that yellows  horribly with age and the nails look shoddy, so require a new set to make them look nice.
  3. They don’t do the refills/rebalances properly (rushed services), and you can see unattractive fill lines from previous services in your acrylic/gel
  4. The tech is poorly trained and/or inexperienced and not that good at rebalances/refills yet, and finds it easier to start fresh. (fair enough, give her time, she’ll get there)


C: But what about if you’re wearing nails from another nail salon and the tech says “I don’t work on top of anyone elses’ work, have to remove and do a new set”. This is common practice, but not always necessary.
  1. Some do it because they are afraid of bacteria being caught under the product from the old salon and don’t want to be held accountable for any infection that might occur as a result (especially true if your former salon is NSS/discount nail bar that doesn’t do things properly) and they do this in the interest of protecting your nail health, and their business. Fair enough.
  2. Some do it because what is already on your nails may be poorly done and not look good, and doesn’t make a good foundation for what you asked us to make your nails to look like. Sometimes we can’t fix what’s there. Sometimes, it’s such a disaster, that to ensure you leave OUR table happy, we have to & need to start anew.
  3. Other nail techs do it because some products don’t play well with other products and to avoid any issues, will only work on product they have applied themselves. For example: if you had gel applied, and are seeking acrylic services. Acrylic won’t bond to gel, so it is necessary to start afresh. OR you are wearing DIP nails and are switching to traditional Acrylic or UV Gel, then it’s necessary to start anew.
Here, at Victorious Nail Styles, it’s decided on a case-by-case basis. Most of the time, a Removal & New Set is NOT necessary and this includes nails done at another salon. More often than not, I can do what is called a Reconstruction on nails previously done elsewhere.
There is absolutely no benefit to you -the client- to routinely remove your nails for a new set. Removal is harsh on your nail plates due to the necessary soaking in acetone (very drying) and the filing & buffing of the natural nail plate to be 100% certain that all traces of product was removed. So unless you want to change the look for reasons such as discussed in Section A, OR there is visible sign or potential for infection; then just keep getting refilled/rebalanced. If the removal is required such as listed in section B, either change salons OR accept that the novice tech will improve her skills with time and be patient with her as we all start somewhere.
All in all, usually a new set is wanted (by either tech or client), but rarely needed.
(Also found on my Facebook Biz Page in the Notes Tab “When do I need a new set?

Did I really say that?

Here’s a funny story that I should probably add to my collection of “heard at my table”.   
I have a lovely client (ok, I have several lovely clients, but anyway, I digress) who is overcoming nail biting. We have come a long way from her first set and she’s doing FANTASTIC. She is now wearing “Natural Nail Acrylic Overlays” (for those not in the know, this is when it’s the client’s natural nail from one end to the other with an overlay of acrylic to protect it). She’s been gradually wearing them longer and longer, slowly getting used to having length.
Now that she’s able to wear them longer, the natural curvature of her own nails- that’s a tad extreme on a couple of nails- has become more obvious. She was expressing concern. And frankly, as I’m a tad anal retentive about shape, it makes me crazy when I can’t make them straight.
HOWEVER…………. that said…
I wanted to allay her concerns, that nails like hers weren’t out of the ordinary. I wanted her to understand that many ladies have nails that curve like her own. Often due to a previous injury, or displacement of the matrix due to arthritis/age, and sometimes, just genetics. It’s really not that big of a deal.
Except…that’s not what I said. Or rather, it’s not how it came out of my mouth. It IS what I meant, though!! Does that count?
It was the end of the day, about 7pm probably. I was tired, and well… my mouth opened before I processed the words in my brain.
That happens sometimes, when you’re squirelly like myself.   The brain is just zipping in a dozen directions at once, and I spit out words before giving them my undivided attention.
So what I said to my lovely client was-
“You’re not my only client that’s a hooker”
Yes. Those words left my mouth and oh my gosh, I couldn’t back pedal fast enough to edit what my cursed tongue had managed to utter.   Because you see, in our industry we tend to refer to nails such as hers’ as “hooked”.  Only, I didn’t explain that BEFORE I said that horrendous sentence!
I was mortified, stumped, and too tired to begin to figure out how to get out of that mess! THANKFULLY, she was more amused than anything else and we both had a great laugh.  (After I was done being mortified of course).
I should mention, she is STILL my client and I enjoy our appointments together, and we laughed about it again this week  😉

In a perfect world.

In a perfect world, there is a long list of things that I could do.  In a perfect world, money would be no object and I could rescue every unwanted & abandoned dog that I see on Facebook and give them a happy home with me.  In a perfect world I could buy whatever vehicle I wanted for my family so that I could travel anywhere with BOTH my kids AND dogs in the same vehicle.  In a perfect world, I could go on vacation 3 times a year and travel to new places around the globe.  In a perfect world, I could do nails for free for my ‘clients’ so that any woman who wanted pretty nails could have them with all the swarvoski rhinestones their hearts desired.

We don’t live in a perfect world.  We live in a real world where just about everything comes with a price tag. Often, those things feature a price tag that we can’t afford.   So we work.  We work to pay for those price tags, and budget ourselves accordingly.   When we can’t afford it, we go without.  We leave it on the rack at the store, or in the car lot at the dealership, or in the display case at the jewelry store.    We go without it.

We.Go.Without.   So can someone please explain to me why “we go without”, but don’t expect others to do the same? WHY do we go without, so that others can have what they want? Why do we go without so someone else can go on vacation, buy a new ring, drive a new car, talk on a new phone?   Frequently in the nail tech forums there are discussions about service or class prices and without fail the following statements will be made “I can’t charge that, no one will pay it”  or “Everyone deserves to have pretty nails, so I price myself to what they can afford”  or as stated by many educators  “I do it because I love it, not for the money”…. Why?   Aren’t you worth it?   I think you’re worth it!  Can’t you do what you love AND earn a living?  When do you EVER hear other Professionals in other industries make those statements?   I’ll tell you when.  Never!

We are in Business. What is Business?  Business is defined as “1.a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade.”   AND  “2.the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce.”   What is “making one’s living”?    It is “To earn enough income to support oneself and, if applicable, one’s family.”  So if we aren’t making enough income to support ourselves and our family, then then we’re not running a business but a charity.  Because if you’re giving yourself away, isn’t that what charity is? Giving away products and/or services for free?

The majority of Professionals that I know in this industry are “Independent Contractors” and not employees.    From a Canadian Site ( ) please review this table  that defines the differences if you’re uncertain.

As Independent Contractors, our prices are determined by a multitude of things, not just product costs or an hourly wage.    The obvious expenses are products, tools & equipment, business cards, advertising, licensing, insurance, rent, electricity etc.   Don’t forget TAXES and Unemployment contributions, Pension Plan, etc This all needs to be included in your math.  The government wants their cut.  How about vacation pay or sick pay? Did you figure those into your calculations?  The list goes on and on because we are independent contractors.  We are not employees that can collect our paycheck at the end of the week after the Boss/Business owner has paid the rent, product costs, overheads and tax contributions etc.  Nope.    We have to take care of that ourselves.

I’ll stop for a minute to mention that Math is NOT my forte and I’m certainly no business expert.  That’s why I have an accountant. I do the data entry but she does the math.  If you want a Business Expert who EXCELS at math  (see what I did there?), check out Tina Alberino’s articles and calculators. She’ll help you sort out the math. That’s not what I’m doing here.

Ok, back to what I was saying. The list goes on and on and then on some more.  Once you reach the end of it and you’ve added up the cost of everything on that list, you have some heavy lifting to do called ‘math’ (insert shudder here, what a horrible word).   I refer you back to Tina’s expertise for that.    But in a nutshell, you need to cover those expenses, earn a living wage AND a profit (to reinvest into your business).   Whether you’re doing mani/pedi’s all day or teaching, the point of it all is “Making one’s living”  “To earn enough income to support oneself and, if applicable, one’s family.”

If after it is all said and done, you’re not “making a living” as defined, nor turning a profit to reinvest into your Business, then you’re doing it wrong and running a charity, not a business.  In a perfect world, I’d love to be a charity.  Everyone loves to be on the receiving end and get stuff for free. I would love to teach for free and share my passion with anyone aspiring to be a nail tech. I would LOVE to dole out swarovski crystal rhinestones by the tonne for any client that wants them, and do freehand extreme nails that take 4hrs to do and charge a pittance just because the client deserves pretty nails.  But….what do YOU deserve?  What do YOU get out of being a charity?    Your bills are still waiting for you.  That car you want is still at the dealership.  That vacation you have dreamed of is still just a dream.





Get your Horsey Hands here with IBX Boost!

Howdy ladies and gents!  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  It’s been a while since I posted, but I hope that 2018 gets off to a rolling start for all of you.

Now let’s get down to business.  How many of you recall my Feb/2017 blog post about my gal Marie and her Horsey hands? If you don’t, please take a look here “She has Horsey-Hands!”.

It’s been a year since then, and there have been some changes in Marie’s nails.  First of all, there was the launch of Famous Names Products IBX Boost in Vegas last year.  Free free to visit my album on Facebook about that trip. It was quite the event!  Facebook Album- Best Lil Nail Show In Vegas.

IBX Boost was added to the Famous Names Products product line-up in 2017.  First launched in the UK, then the US and now arriving in Canada.  It is a “FLEXIBLE and STRONG over the top universal nail coating that is the perfect compliment to the IBX System”.   In my salon, I use it under Gel Polish services for added strength, like a lightweight armor. It gives that extra ‘boost’ of strength for those clients that struggle with gel polish but don’t quite need or want the strength of traditional Acrylic or UV Gel enhancements.   It’s a soak-off gel, so right there is an added bonus in my eyes. I don’t like to use products that are buff-off.  The less I buff/file the natural nail, the happier I am.   Even under the lightest touch, buffing over time can thin out the nail plate.  Nail plates that are thinned are compromised and weakened; providing a poor foundation for future services and more prone to breaking.  Additional bonus- you do NOT have to soak it off. You can refill it!   So now, for my gel polish services, I opt to file off the color until I reach the thin clear layer of Boost underneath.  Then I refill the Boost, and reapply my color.   This approach is FANTASTIC in two ways.  1-the client’s nails don’t have to soak in acetone which is drying (easily countered by Dadi’Oil, but drying none the less) 2-Less waste (I’m not contributing to landfills with tin foil and acetone saturated cotton  3- It saves me & the client TIME.  Saving time means happier clients and that I can add more services to my schedule.  It’s far quicker to file off than to soak off.  Which is why many techs already file off gel polish for the purpose of saving time.  I heavily frown upon this practice, unless there is IBX Boost or similar underneath because it’s physically & scientifically impossible to remove all the color without buffing the nail plate, which compromises the health of the natural nail which I am DEAD-SET AGAINST.   I am in the business of beautifying natural nails, enhancing natural nails; NOT damaging them.  So moving on, because that’s a whole blog post on it’s own.

When I went to the Best Lil Nail Show In Vegas, the Famous Names Pros’ Educator’s team attended a full day of training at the FNP Headquarters.  We were updated on current products, we learned more about the chemistry behind the product line (ooooohhh  that was my favorite part!), AND we were introduced to IBX Boost.   I had the lovely opportunity to meet an online colleague and friend, Tracy Anne Shelverton, who flew in for the occasion.  She had months of experience using and testing IBX Boost in the UK where it launched first. It was a fantastic afternoon!   Now I need to point out before I continue: IBX Boost is NOT intended for extensions or for making nails longer.  It’s a very soft product that flexes beautifully WITH the natural nail.  It’s intended as a lightweight armor with only the occasional teensy weensy extension to even out an edge of a nail (let’s say a couple of millimeters?).   BUT… (and you knew there was a ‘but’ coming) I like to push the envelope because that’s my way. Big surprise, right?

Once I received my own IBX Boost and brought it home to my salon, I started pushing the envelope right away to see how far I could take it.  As noted in a previous Blog Post,  “She has Horsey-Hands!”,  we discussed the many ways in which Marie works hard with her hands.  In her own words, she is a “Horse-Girl” and “Country Girl”.  She’s not a city girl working in an office, wearing suits and going on business lunches.   She gets down and dirty in the muck and stalls doing horse-stable work.  Marie, as it happens, is my PERFECT test subject.   She works very hard with her hands BUT she also follows my aftercare advice perfectly; using her Dadi’Oil and my Victorious Balm frequently throughout the day. She does NOT use her nails as tools, and wears gloves where appropriate. She is mindful not to bang them against things.

At Christmas, she had busted a nail so I applied a tip under her IBX Boost and Gel Polish so that no one would know and so that her holiday nails would be perfect.  Can you tell which of those nails is not like the other’s?

In our Educator’s class we were taught to extend only marginally.   Please note:  IBX Boost is NOT as hard as traditional Acrylic, nor UV Gel and it’s NOT intended to be.  It’s not intended for tip&overlay services, nor for sculpting typical extensions.  I would equate it’s strength  to a strong natural nail.  Natural nails are between 50 to 100 layers.  Clients at the 50 layer mark have thin, floppy, bendy nails that don’t hold product well.   Clients at the 100 layer mark grow their own nails quite easily and rarely if ever suffer product chipping because they have a strong foundation.  In my humble opinion – IBX Boost is like a nail at the 100 layer mark.

At her appointment after Christmas, she had busted another nail. I was going to apply another tip only to discover that my nail-resin had sealed itself shut. Now what to do?  Well… time to push the envelope.  I had done so previously on another client, but not quite as long as this. We discussed the option together and she agreed to let me experiment.  We did a LONG extension with the IBX Boost. Please note the Index finger. That is IBX BOOST, not hard gel or acrylic!


How are the nails faring?  How is that IBX Boost Extension holding up?

Have a look. What do you think? I spent the afternoon with her in the stables yesterday. I personally witnessed how hard she works, mucking a stall, dealing with tack, cleaning the hooves, etc   Reminder: It’s the index finger of the right hand.

From this happy experiment, I learned that for clients who are mindful of their hands and who usually manage a bit of length quite easily, you CAN extend IBX Boost longer than a few millimeters.  That extension will equate in strength to a strong natural nail (ie: about 75-100 layers).

If you don’t have IBX Boost, maybe it’s time you did so that your clients can have Horsey-Hands too!

PS: Thank you Marie for your Horsey-Hands and Friendship xoxo ❤



Marian Newman, ‘The’ Nail Queen

03May2017    Interview of Marian Newman , ‘The’ Nail Queen

by Victoria-Lys Hunter

 Recently I was graced with the wonderful opportunity to interview Marian Newman.  Who is she? I first learned of Marian Newman approximately 15yrs ago when I joined an online forum of Nail techs; (now known as   At the time, I wasn’t much better than NSS (Non Standard Salon) although I didn’t know it.  I am from Quebec.  A province in Canada that has no regulations, nor standards for the Nail Industry of any kind.  They don’t even have health board inspections for the salons.  When I joined, upon perusing the forums, and asking questions; I realized very quickly that my knowledge was abysmal, and my technical skills even more so.  I could have chosen to tuck tail and run but I didn’t.  I opted instead to embrace the knowledge so generously shared by members of the forum.  Marian Newman being one of those valuable members, and femtors.   She and a handful of other fantastically knowledgeable Techs turned my fledgling career around in the right direction; from NSS tech with very little theoretical knowledge, to Safe Salon Advocate and Femtor to others.

Marian Newman joined our industry in 1987 and is currently a Sessions Tech for Fashion Shows, Magazine Covers, Music Videos, and Celebrities.   She is Author of ‘The Complete Nail Technician” that is a textbook that every Nail Tech should have on hand, a contributor to “Milady’s Standard Nail Technician”, and in addition has co-written other textbooks.

Her most recent project is the Nails Mastered Program, an educational program with students from all over the world, who learn by her side what it takes and means to be a Sessions Tech.  Her website is found here .

If you ever have the opportunity to meet Marian Newman or speak to her, you’ll learn very quickly that she is a warm and energetic spirit.  Her personality can light up a space, and you can ‘hear’ her smile when she speaks to you. She is very generous with her time, answering questions and mentoring those with passion for the industry.  She has a no-nonsense approach that is softened with a genuinely caring heart.

I enjoyed my interview with her and please see the following for her words, not mine.  I think you’ll find her as inspiring as I do.

  • What is the name of the salon & brand associated  (if any): “For about 16-18yrs I have been deliberately independent because I decided to create a profile for myself that was believable. A profile in the media as opposed to the professional industry and the media know if you’re being paid to say something. It was a decision made in 2001 to become totally independent to be believable to the consumer.   But now I think I have created such a profile, so I’m not quite so specific about being independent and this year I have a contract with CND that for whom I’m exclusive to them ,for a professional brand, not retail brand.


  • What prompted you to enter this industry:  “It wasn’t a plan. I was a forensic scientist and did a lot of training with behavioral therapy. Then had children, but after decided to do something for myself so I went and did a makeup course that was six weeks long and I really, really enjoyed it. During that time I discovered the professional nail industry that I didn’t know existed.  In discovering that, it brought out the whole science questioning tendency I have: why does it do this, why does it do that.  This was back in the 80’s, when there were no answers.  This is what drew me in; I never planned, never had an interest, but discovered an industry with no answers and it intrigued me.  I knew only one manicurist.”


  • What have been your milestones in life: “Back in the late 80’s early 90’s, I was discovering CND. Because that was the only co that could give me the answers that satisfied my questioning.   The next one was probably discovering media/fashion/consumer industry; which was another accident, a happy discovery. “if you don’t innovate, you can’t educate” was a saying by Jan Arnold and I STILL believe this to be true. I actually wanted to return to science, but fashion revitalized my interest.  I discovered the consumer media, and recognized that the professional nail industry only promoted to themselves and I truly believed back in 2001 and that the industry could not grow unless the pro industry promoted to the consumer and that’s why I left it for four years, completely.  During that period, I worked on my sessions work and media profile, delivering a message to the consumer via the press but had nothing whatsoever to do with the pro industry for four years. “


  • What marked a turning point for you from Nail Tech to ‘Queen of Nails’Being believable and being knowledgeable, I don’t get paid for what I say. I tell the truth, if someone wants to pay me for that, HURRAH!”.


  • What is your mantra for professional and personal success: “I really believe that you have to know your subject and when I started out as a sessions tech which didn’t exist, I truly believed that if I was going to be a specialist and I needed to be a true specialist and do any single thing that was thrown at me.  So I didn’t go to a shoot with a dozen polishes, I went with 100.  I went to a shoot with every shape of tip, I went to a shoot with every possible technique that was at my fingertips. Because you can’t be a specialist if the question that is asked of you and you say “I can’t do that”. Whatever request was given to me, the answer was always yes. So I made that a very specific thing of mine. Whatever the question, the answer was always yes. I gave myself a lot of grey hairs trying to achieve that. “


  • What would you have done differently, given the choice, if anything (why & why not)“I don’t honestly think anything because for me, all I can do is the best. So every single job I’ve done has always been the best that I could personally do and I don’t know how I could have done that differently and I have always kept up with tech and with R&D and with information and never accepted an answer if I didn’t understand it. So I honestly don’t think I could have done any differently and have always done the best I could do in that moment. Maybe one thing I could have, but if I went back, I don’t think I would have. I might have been more commercial and sold my soul and been paid by a lot of people to give their message BUT I don’t think I’d have done that”.  “I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m not a millionaire. Ethics were always no 1 priority and had I dropped them I could have made a lot more money”


  • Of all of your achievements, which one are you most proud of: “One of them is writing the definitive textbook which I worked very hard on BUT I am most proud of pushing the boundaries of the nail industry an opening new career routes for nail professionals.”


  • Who inspires you:  “People that are passionate and truly believe In what they are doing, they are the ones that inspire me. They can be from any walk of life. And keeping an ethic that they are proud of & not selling their soul. I can name many, but they are the sort that inspire me.”


The interview ends there, followed by some giggles and chatter between us.   At present, I’m eagerly awaiting her newest edition of “The Complete Nail Technician”, personally autographed. I suspect I’ve been frightening the mailman with my intense observation of late.   When I embarked on this interview, I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than her usual kindness and humor.  I left it full of wonder, inspired once more to continue down the path I’ve chosen.  Is it any surprise?

Images included are:  Photo of her first salon shop front, photo of Marian Newman, photo of her book, photos of article that was featured in the paper of her first salon.

Photo credit unknown, all ‘borrowed’ from her Facebook Page.