A Nail Technician at Work

How to become a Nail Technician

What is a Nail Technician?

Let’s begin with defining what a nail technician actually is. A nail technician is a person that maintains,  provides care and decoration to finger and toenails. As well as creating great looking nails, you will have a good understanding of the physiology and biology of the respective body parts. You can either work in a salon or you can visit your clients by offering a mobile nail service. As a Nail Technician, you will offer an array of services, some specialist and some staple. You will know how to provide a manicure and pedicure as well as shaping, cuticle treatments. You will be able to provide at least one system for the extension of the nail, for example, gel polish or acrylic nail extensions.

How do I become a Nail Technician?

Professional nail techs start out with the desire for creating beautiful nails, often for themselves and their friends. If you are entering into the nail profession purely on the focus of making money, then you should find something else that you have a passion for. Sure you can become a nail technician but a great nail technician is someone that thinks, eats and sleeps nails. First things first, get yourself onto some nail courses, start with manicure and pedicure and then move onto the more specialised courses such as gel polish. Do research into what systems you would like to learn and what is popular. Nail systems come and go in popularity so it is important to keep up to date with the market trends.

What qualifications do I need?

There are several ways to start your career depending on your commitments and funds. You may choose to do a series of industry recognised short courses, this will allow you to learn and gain your qualifications in an ad-hoc fashion. Once you have completed your short courses you will be able to apply for insurance. Your insurance policy will cover you for public liability and sometimes your equipment as well. The next level would be an NVQ level 2 qualification, this advanced level will teach you all of the essential aspects. As well as extra areas, for example, health and safety.

What equipment does a Nail Technician use?

It can be a bit daunting when trying to find the right tools for the job. You want to buy the right equipment the first time around to save money in the long run. When looking for the best tools of the trade, try researching on youtube to see what the professionals use. But be careful to make sure they are not syndicated with the with there product manufacturers. The basic essentials for all nail techs are much the same.

Your nail toolkit will include these essential items.

  • Nail Clippers: You will need some finger and toenail clippers. Make sure to get a quality pair as you will be using these on a daily basis.
  • Cuticle Nippers:  Used for removing unwanted dead cuticles. These are very sharp so be extremely careful.
  • Cuticle Pusher: These are used to remove unwanted skin from the nail plate.
  • Nail Files / Emery Board: You can find good quality nail files from most wholesalers. Emery boards are used for the nail surface and are much courser than a nail file.
  • Cuticle Oil and Creams: These will soften the nail and cuticle and is used after the treatment. The client may want to take some home to use.
  • Removal Solution: You can use acetone for the removal of acrylic nails and non-acetone for the removal of gel nails. This can be purchased in large bottles and is usually inexpensive.
  • Toe Separators: You will need these to keep the toes apart otherwise your toes may smudge against each other.
  • Manicure Bowl: These are used for soaking in order to soften the cuticles. Here are a few we found on Amazon.    
  • Nail Buffers: Buffers normally come in the form of a block. The different blocks can be used for sanding or shinning.
  • Sanitation: Hygiene is number one. Make sure you sanitise every piece of equipment you use as well as yourself and your client’s hands.
  • Nail Glue: This one is in every nail techs toolkit. Get a good brand and be careful the glue hardens very quickly.
  • Electronic Nail File: Some swear by them some prefer to do it by hand. If used correctly it can save lots of time. Here is a link to one we recommend. Click Here

How much can I expect to earn?

This is a difficult question to answer. How much time can you devote to your nail career? How are you going to attract new clients?  Like any business, it takes time to grow your customer base. Some people I know have had the same customers for over 10 years. You can start by advertising your services to your friends, maybe offer mates rates. It is these friends that that tell their friends and so on. Many people will say that word of mouth is the best form of advertisement, and it is true! List your services clearing with attractive pricing. Include lots of photos of your work on social media and engage in conversation. As a rough guide, a full set of acrylic nails can be from around £20 – £35. Don’t miss the opportunity to upsell other services or products.

Practice makes Perfect!

Practice in your spare time either on yourself, friends or a training hand. If you feel that you need to improve in a particular area then focus on just that for a whole week. Over time you will master it, just remember effort equals reward. There is more than one way to do things, try a different approach if you are not achieving good results. Sometimes equipment is to blame so try using a different brand, not one brand of gel polish has the same characteristics as another. We wish you all the best in your journey to becoming an expert nail technician.

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