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 (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/laws-regulations/labour/interpretations-policies/employer-employee.html ) 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. https://www.thisuglybeautybusiness.com/ 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 www.VictoriousNailstyles.ca

 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; www.nailgeek.com (now known as www.salongeek.com).   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 http://mariannewmannails.com/ .

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.

She has Horsey-Hands!


As a Famous Names Pro & IBX Educator, it’s part of my job to tell you that you must use IBX.  I will tell you it’s fantastic, and strengthens nails from within. I will tell you that it stops peeling in it’s tracks, and prevents gel polish-removal damage.  I’ll even tell you about how it can help you grow your own nails. I will detail the science for you, and how it works. How it is REVOLUTIONARY. That’s my job.  Of COURSE I’ll tell you that.  The wonderful part about all of this is that it’s TRUE. I don’t have to use marketing fluff and nonsense.  IBX does exactly what Famous Names Products developed it to do.  Man, I love my job!

As a Nail Technician,  when a client sits at my table and complains about breaking her nails, I’ll tell her “it’s not WHAT you do but how you do it.  Just as my 100lb 13yr old daughter stomps through the house like an elephant and my 220lb & 6’4″ husband sneaks up on me – it’s not what, but how.  Heavy feet, light feet.  Heavy hands, light hands.  I can repair & strengthen your nails, but the rest is up to you.”

What I can’t do is put words in someone else’s mouth. People will say what they want. Heck, I do all the time! I’m also not the most talented photographer; so photo-shopping images beyond cropping and lighting is not in my skill-set. If only. It would make life so much easier when I do some fun art and the picture turns out crap. 😦

Today, I’ll share images that aren’t photo-shopped.  I’m going to share words that are NOT my own. I’m going to share Marie’s very short little story with you.  I love Marie.  She doesn’t “faff about” (as my pals in the UK are fond of saying).  She cuts to the chase.  My kind of gal 🙂

marie-and-her-horse-winter marie-stacking-hay





“IBX is magic in a bottle. I should tell you a little about me and what my hands endure on a regular basis to help you understand why this stuff is so great. To start, I work on a horse farm, I am a horse girl. I do jobs that range from; brushing and bathing horses, cleaning the tack, shoveling horse  manure, stacking hay bails, scrubbing water and feed buckets, ride 2-3 horses daily. I also do oil changes on my car, I weld, I do my dishes by hand, wash my extremely long hair, enough to say my hands work hard on a regular daily basis.  Before IBX I could never keep a full set of nails half decent. Now I can say that even though I’m a totally country girl, my nails look nice all the time! That makes me really happy. I swear by IBX!  It works wonders to your nails and I strongly recommend it!”

So there you have it, in Marie’s own words.  Now here are some pictures of her nails. I should like to point out; she tends to visit every 3wks, and we always end up shortening them considerably.  Next opportunity, I’ll snap a pic of them without shortening them so you can truly appreciate how well they stand up to the test.  It’s also important to note the condition of her skin, take a good look!. Despite how hard she works, her skin looks great! YES Marie is one of my star pupils that moisturizes regularly with her Dadi’Oil, and my Victorious Balm.

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Wouldn’t you like to have “Horsey-hands” too?

Everything old is new again, same old song: Are Tip-n-Dip Nails Better?

It’s all the rage! Artificial nails that are kinder to your nails! Faster to apply, easier to remove! Won’t damage your nails like Acrylic!

Wait. We’ve heard that song before, haven’t we?   Didn’t someone sing that song when UV Gel launched? Didn’t we hear that same song again when Gel Polishes hit the market?  Everyone wants healthy and strong natural nails. This isn’t new. Neither are Tip-n-dips, they’re not new and neither are their marketing tactics.

Tip-n-dips aka ‘Gel Resine” aka “Resine et Poudre”  aka “Acrylic Dip” aka “Powder Dip”. Here on out, I’m calling it T&D in the interest of brevity.

T&D recently is touted by Brand Manufacturers and Distributors as ‘the newest thing’.  I have been using T&D since back in the early 80’s, about 30yrs ago (eeeeks, showing my age!), so first off, it’s NOT so ‘new’.  In Quebec Canada, they have been popular for decades.

All sorts of promises and claims are spouting up everywhere.  I blogged about some of those claims last year  https://straightfromvictoriouship.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/honesty-should-be-a-trend/.  Please take a moment to read that, then come back here.   In short, most of the claims are marketing nonsense.  That should be no surprise.  Most marketing is word-play, to lead you to think a certain way, to influence you to make a purchase.

So what is T&D?  First and foremost, as I explained in the previous blog- it IS an Acrylic product!  It’s the application of Resin adhesive (made from acrylic cynoacrylate.) and Polymer Powder (traditional Acrylic Powder, usually a combination of polyethyl methacrylate/PEMA, Acrylate copolymers, and PolyMethyl Methacrylate/PMMA).  HEY Look at all that ACRYLATE!  Yes folks, that IS Acrylic!

There are brands that wish to mislead you and tell you it’s “silk powder” or “calcium powder” and/or that it’s infused with vitamins and calcium.   Good luck looking for an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for a T&D powder that doesn’t list acrylates in it’s ingredients.  There is no such thing as calcium nails or silk powder nails.

Sidebar:  Your nail plates have absolutely no use for nail enhancement products that contain vitamins or calcium as they can’t absorb them. Additionally, your nail plates are dead.  The only way vitamins are of any benefit to your nails is through ingestion so that your blood stream can supply the matrix whilst it creates the nail.   (See here to hear what leading Industry Chemists have to say on the subject: https://straightfromvictoriouship.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/do-nails-eat-andor-absorb-vitamins/)

I hear the cries “it’s gentler to the nails”.  I have said it before, and I will say it again – Nail enhancements are inanimate. They do not ‘cause’ damage.   What cause damage are the techniques used to apply and remove them by either the Nail Technician or the Consumer.   Whether it’s Traditional Acrylic, UV Gel, T&D, Gel Polish:  if any of these are NOT applied in the correct fashion and/or removed in the correct fashion, you will have damage. NONE of them are ‘gentler’ to the nail plate.

What causes Damage?  1-Improper prep  2-Improper removal 3-Picking/prying/forcing off enhancements 4-overfilling during any of the other stages.     These issues do not change just because someone changes the product.   These issues happen with ALL systems:  Gel polish and/or Shellac, UV Gel, Traditional Acrylic, T&D, Wraps, etc.  I have seen damage result from the misuse of ALL product lines and brands.  If you google, you will find the same results.   There is no such thing as a ‘less damaging system’.  Only less damaging techniques!

Now I’m sure some have their knickers in a twist and have come to the conclusion that I don’t like T&D.   I suggest that you scroll back up and read my words again.  Here, let me help you.  I said ” I have been using T&D since back in the early 80’s”.   Yes, have been using and still use it today.   Although it’s not my preferred system, it has it’s uses.  There is no such thing as “one size fits all” in life, it’s a fallacy.   Same applies here.    What do I use it for?  I like to use it to create an extension under gel polish for my gel polish clients when they break a nail and don’t want to have an obvious odd finger.  I use it for clients wanting only very temporary nails for short term who prefer to soak off at home (such as high-school graduating students).

Here are some Pros and Cons for your review.


–        Quick to apply

–        Usually, easy to remove

–        Usually, soaks off quicker than traditional acrylic

–        Low odor

–        Usually thinner than traditional acrylic, thicker than gel polish.

–        Stronger than Gel Polish aka Shellac

–        Lower cost


–        Brittle and porous, prone to ‘clouding’ due to micro fissures (miniature cracks).

–        Does not rebalance/refill well, requires frequent soak-offs and new sets to maintain.

–        Takes longer to soak off than Gel Polish aka Shellac.  May even take as long as acrylic depending on how many layers the Technician applied.

–        The frequent soaking off ‘can’ lead to drying out the nail, and the constant blending of nail tips ‘can’ lead to thinning of nail plates.

–        Not as strong as traditional Acrylic or Hard Gels.

–        Can’t repair single nail without removing and starting fresh.

Now to address common myths about T&D.

You can’t create an apex“.  Actually, yes you CAN create an apex via sectioning your layers of application. It’s all in technique.

They can’t be worn long“.  Yes, they CAN be worn long.  As with every other system; be it gel polish, traditional acrylic, uv gel; length is determined by the client. Is the client heavy handed or not? Does she lead an active lifestyle or hold a job that is harsh on her hands?   With T&D, these considerations are no different.

You can’t do a pink and white french“.  Well, this one is somewhat debatable. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.   You can either use a french tip, or use the dipping method. However, it will NEVER look as a proper french should, with a crisp smiling line, no matter how much you practice.  If you’re not fussed over a crisp smiling line, then enjoy.  Personally, I am NOT a fan of the fuzzy french smile. Looks smirky to me and no one likes being smirked at.

You’re limited in art“.  No, you’re not.  You can do glitter fades and color dips, encapsulation, and a bunch of other things.  Just like with other systems, you have to use different techniques to achieve the look you want.

I’m allergic to acrylic, so I can wear T&D“.  WRONG!!! T&D is an acrylic product, so if you have acrylic allergies, do NOT wear T&D either.

For the consumer:  My advice to you is to choose a salon based on safety, hygiene and education.  Do NOT choose a salon based on whatever brand or system they are using, or marketing spiel they are handing to you.  Type of brand or system is no indicator of what kind of salon they are.  Find a salon and/or tech that you can talk to, that is open to answering all of your questions with high standards of hygiene and education. For more information on how to choose a salon, visit here to learn more https://straightfromvictoriouship.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/9-things-to-know-before-your-next-manicure/

Now would someone mind pulling that 45 from the turntable, it’s a broken record – Better for your nails –  and getting on my last nerve.

9 Things to Know Before Your Next Manicure

From: https://www.facebook.com/notes/victorious-nail-styles/9-things-to-know-before-your-next-manicure/269620509868854   dated 7March2014

Athena Elliot’s Checklist as featured on ABC 20/20 on March 7th, 2014


BeforeYou Go For That Pedicure, Be Sure Take a Closer Look at Your Nail Salon


March7, 2014—

When it comes to nail salons,it’s not just about the glitter and polish. Before you make that next trip toget a manicure or pedicure, heed this advice from industry insider AthenaElliott.

“There is a lot of money tobe made out there. And unfortunately, there is a lot of money to be made, atyour cost,” Elliott told ABC News’ “20/20.”

Tune into “TrueConfessions” on ABC News’ “20/20” on TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET

Elliott has been a nailtechnician for 34 years. After realizing how many of her peers ignored theindustry’s sanitation protocol, she said she wants to expose the habitualhorrors that put customer safety and health at risk. So every week, Elliottgoes undercover and reviews salons’ cleanliness for her website,safesalonrating.com.

“What [customers] don’trealize is that there is … really danger lurking everywhere,” Elliottsaid. “The potential for infection is greater than people realize.”

Here are some of Elliott’s tipsfor what to look for in a nail salon.

Nail Salon Know-How: 9 Things to Know Before Your Next Manicure

1. Communicate With Your Technician, Do SomeResearch Online

“Are you communicating with your nail technician? Are they notlistening to you?” Elliott said. “There is more to having a goodservice than just picking out your nail color. If you can’t communicate,chances are you won’t be happy with your service. Miscommunication is a primarycause of nail salon infections and lawsuits from infections.” Check if thesalon has an Internet presence, reviews and if you can find out anything aboutthe salon’s protocol.

2. Ask How They Disinfect Their Tools

When visiting a salon, learn more about how the salon disinfectstheir tools. “Do they use the state’s protocol with liquid disinfection,or do they use an autoclave to sterilize their implements?” Elliott said.These are both acceptable and what you should look for in a safe salon. Anautoclave, according to Elliott, uses steam and pressure to kill all livingpathogens. Don’t be afraid to say, “Can you show me how you disinfect yourpedicure chairs? Can you show me your cleaning log? Are you using single-usefiles on me?” said Elliott.

3. Are the Technicians Wearing Gloves?

A good sign is a technician wearing gloves. A survey by NAILSmagazine revealed only 17% of nail techs wear them regularly. According toElliot, gloves can help reduce the transfer of bacteria to a client.

4. Is the Floor Dirty?

Check out the salon’s floor, and make sure it’s clean.”Because if there are scattered clippings from people’s toenails andfingernails, as if I am the 20th client of the day, that’s the first thingthat’s going to turn me off,” Elliott said. “You should be cleaningup, after every service.”

5. Inspect the Bathroom

“If you walk into a salon and the restroom is not as clean asyou like your restroom to be at home, you should take that as a sign,”Elliott said.

6. Are They Reusing Dirty Tools?

Watch where the salon employees pull their tools from. “Arethey tools that have already been disinfected and that you can tell, or arethey being pulled out of a kitchen, you know, out of your drawer?” Elliottsaid. Depending on the state’s laws, some tools may be single-use items. Besure to check your state’s cosmetology rules and regulations to know what toolsare approved or banned and how they should be cleaned.

7. Know What Chemicals They Use

You should always know what the chemical is that they’re using onyou, Elliott said. “It should always have a clear, defined label,”said Elliott.

8. You Shouldn’t Be in Pain

Pain is absolutely a red flag for Elliott. “It’s about goingto a place that makes you feel comfortable about the service that you arehaving,” Elliott said. “And if you are met with that kind ofresistance, you need to search [for] another salon.”

9 Take This Precaution Before Your Next Pedicure

Never shave before going to the nail salon. “It’s a portal ofentry for the bacteria to go in,” Elliot said.

Copyright © 2014 ABC NewsInternet Ventures

Do Nails Eat and/or absorb vitamins?

Copied from my “Notes” on my Facebook Biz Page: https://www.facebook.com/notes/victorious-nail-styles/do-nails-eat-andor-absorb-vitamins/143596875804552 dated 18Feb2013

Nails can absorb water.

But can they absorb and METABOLIZE vitamins and minerals & strengthen the nail?

The story from Nail Talk Radio.

The actual story starts at 44:30 of the recording.


Some comments shared on the show:

AthenA and Naja contacted Industry Scientist- Doug Schoon. Some of the things they report he said were that  that it’s very difficult to penetrate the nail plate with anything but water. That the nail plate contains virtually no calcium & that calcium is NOT a benefit to the nail.  He also states that vitamins may not be added to cosmetics because they have no nutritional value.  If vitamins are added to artificial nail coatings, most will remain trapped inside the nail coating and very little if ANY will be able to penetrate the nail plate. If vitamins did penetrate the nail plate, they would not help except for those that are free-radical scavengers could prevent formation of potentially damaging free-radicals, kind of like vitamin E.

He also states ‘puffery’ is one thing, but companies that make blatantly false claims such as ‘chemical free’ should not get your business. He says the best way to keep nails healthy is to properly apply and remove nail coatings. Improper removal of nail coatings causes a tremendous amount of damage to client’s nails and is easily avoided.

AthenA and Naja also chatted with Industry Chemist – Jim McConnell.   He shared with them “any company that makes a claim that putting calcium or any other additive into a uv nail product is simply selling you more than uv gel (insert humour/sarcasm here).  Don’t take these claims to heart, and think about whether a mineral or oil when added to a uv gel could actually make your nails stronger, OR is it just the gel making the nail stronger (as in not affecting the natural nail at all, but simply PROTECTING it with an armour).


If you want to keep on top of things in the Industry, you can find Nail Talk Radio here on Facebook at


And their online radio station is found here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nailtalkradio

Athena & Naja give the straight talk on the nail biz! Current trends, interviews w celebrity manicurists, industry leaders & product reviews. Experts nail it right here! WHEN IS NAIL TALK RADIO ON? Monday evenings …

Old Grey Mare

The Old Grey Mare ain’t what she used to be.  That’s how I feel these days. Like an old grey mare. (and no comments from the peanut gallery, while I do colour my hair, my roots don’t have as many greys as you might think, so shush!)

It’s no secret that the beauty industry is physically demanding, and wearing upon our bodies.  Complaints of carpal-tunnel syndrome, back issues and more plague most of us.  For many, however, the issue is compounded by pre-existing conditions. Such as, arthritis.

Isn’t arthritis an old person’s disease? NOPE.  In fact, there exists “Junior Arthritis”.  It’s estimated by the CDC that 1 in 250 children under the age of 18 have arthritis or related rheumatological conditions (http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/childhood.htm).  I was one of them, that went undiagnosed until the age of 21.   For years I suffered with aches and pains and was emphatically told (by even my own doctor)  that I was a hypochondriac.  We now know that I have Raynaud’s Disease  and Rheumatoid Arthritis .    Early on, I didn’t give it much mind except that it gave me a valid reason not to suffer outside in the winter, and to crank up the heat while everyone else complained that they were hot.  I’ve never needed the weather network to forecast if it was going to rain or snow, my own built-in barometer made sure that I knew to get the umbrella out.

In recent months, my arthritis has kicked it up several notches.  As in I have been diagnosed as being in “Athritic Crisis”.  What does that mean? It means that not only are my hands and knees affected, but from my head to my toes.  This includes arthritis in my jaw and in my feet.  I have a Rheumatologist and she has been sending me for this test and the other, taking x-rays and referring me to a physiotherapist.  She also suspects that I have Fibromyalgia (which I won’t address since it’s not yet confirmed)  Recommendations are that I take medication to reduce inflammation, take up exercise and make changes to my diet.

I’m taking all their recommendations on board because yes, I’m in crisis. I can’t argue it because upon opening my eyes in the morning without even moving, I am in pain.  Simple, daily tasks such as opening a jar, squeezing toothpaste, cutting cabbage in half, pulling a zipper up are difficult, painful and sometimes flat out impossible for me to manage. I have lost count the number of times I have enlisted the help of a family member or even my neighbor to do something that I couldn’t manage on my own.  A couple of months ago, I removed pedicures from the service menu because I am simply incapable of tolerating the pain from performing the service.   I am even frequenting nail tech boards/forums less often because the act of typing is painful.

I joined a gym.  Whereupon I learned that all I can manage at this time is the treadmill. I did try a class. One class. Only 30min long. Umm hmm famous last words. I was crippled for a week and yelped any time I had to engage use of my thigh muscles to sit. Despite that I was incapable of doing half the routine!  I started using the WII Sport/Fit that we have.  That nasty, rude machine told me that I have a WII-FIT age of 60!  If you didn’t know, I was born in ’71 so that makes me 45.  Needless to say, the WII and I aren’t on speaking terms at the moment.

Wait a minute. Back it up. What? You want me to go on a diet? I’m only 122lbs!!!  We learn something new everyday.  I have learned that salt and sugar also adversely affect inflammation.  Houston, we have a problem!  My entire life I have eaten what I wanted, when I wanted without a single thought.  I enthusiastically enjoy 3-4 pots of coffee per day with 2 sugars and cream per cup PLUS about 1/2 bottle of coke per evening. Let’s not forget hard candy. I LOVE hard candy. Despite this, I refuse to be a victim and I am determined to be proactive because the alternative simply doesn’t suit me at all.CoffeeDragon

Enter the Dragon.  Yes. I have become a fire-breathing dragon.  I don’t suffer sugar & caffeine withdrawal very well. In fact, I’m downright horrible and impossible to live with.  I have been forced – by the need for pain reduction – to reduce sugar in all areas of my kitchen. I’m not enjoying food very much at the moment.  My family isn’t enjoying the Dragon. Oh well, sucks to be you. No one said that you had to live here.

I’m sharing this with you because if I seem to be a foodie these days, or I give the impression of being a health-nut; I’m not.   I simply don’t want to be a victim to the disease anymore.   I’m sharing this because I’m embarking upon a journey and I would like to record my progress.   I’m sharing this because there are many nail techs, like myself, who suffer needlessly in silence – THERE ARE resources out there to help you.  Lastly, I’m sharing this to raise awareness among clients/consumers.

When your nail tech asks you to relax your hand…. please do it.  You can’t imagine the physical pain she suffers when she has to wrestle with your stiff hand, nor can you imagine how that is multiplied over several clients in one day. In one week. Let me assure you, it’s a lot of pain.

If you don’t relax your hand, and/or make her ask you repeatedly to do so, don’t act surprised when she goes Zena on you.