Educational Article useful for nail techs in regards to science, product use, biology etc.

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.

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?

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 ❤



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  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:

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”.

Some old pics from back in the day when I used it more often (please be kind, these were before receiving BETTER training).


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

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:   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,

“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: 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

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 …

Your Eponychium is showing!

Your Eponychium is showing and what are you going to do about it!

Well…. not a lot because it is supposed to show a little.    It has a job to do.

When a client sits at my table, one thing I always make sure to do while performing PREP is to discuss the eponychium, it’s purpose, and the difference from the cuticle.

ahhhhh haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  The cuticle. You think you know what that is, right?  Ummmm nope, you probably don’t.  In all my years, I have not had one single client sit at my table that KNEW what it really was.

Why is that?

It’s because, in some cases, bad information is passed on from educator to student.  An educator that hasn’t updated their own EDUCATION.  At other times, the tech does know the difference BUT doesn’t explain because she figures you don’t really need to know and you probably don’t care.

I have learned otherwise. My clients do want to know and they DO care.

Soooooooooo what is the conversation I have with my clients?  Well, I direct their attention to the eponychium – that ridge of skin found at the base of the nail plate. I explain that the eponychium is much like rubber on a car window. In simple terms: it keeps crap from getting into the matrix such as dirt and bacteria.  It’s from the matrix that the nail is developed and grows and the last thing you want is an infection in there that can termporarily OR permamently distort the nail plate OR WORSE cause the nail never to grow again.  So in short – NEVER cut the eponychium, never break the skin of the eponychium.  We only gently push it with a ‘cuticle pusher’.


Yeah, I know, it’s a misnomer, but that wasn’t my mistake, so let’s leave bygones as bygones LOL  Anyway, the Eponychium has a job to do. It is the security guard for the Matrix.  So DON’T CUT IT.  Now, the cuticle. What is this cuticle everyone talks about that we have to remove?  I explain that it is a very thin layer of dead/dry skin that remains attached to the nail plate as it grows out and leaves from underneath the eponychium. THAT we can remove.  We can use a cuticle removal solution and pair that with a ‘cuticle pusher’ (there’s that funny name again) and gently scrape the cuticle from the nail plate.

So there you have it, the difference between the Eponychium and Cuticle.

yes, I know that terms ‘cuticle pusher’ and ‘cuticle oil’ are really ridiculous, but what can I say… they’ve been around longer than I have hehehehehe

Please visit these two links for further details and info.

One is a video provided by the lovely HOlly Schippers aka Fingernailfixer and the other is an article by Scientist Doug Schoon featuring diagrams with further explanation.

and video by Doug Schoon


(Original Source for this Blog Post is my “Note” as it is featured on my Facebookk Business Page,