I set myself a professional goal this year – to attend at least six training events to push my abilities as a nail tech. I vowed to learn new skills and so far I’ve attended two courses and a three-day brand training session, with each event teaching me something I didn’t know. What I realised is, if you don’t continually better yourself, then you miss out on vital industry developments.
In the fast-paced nail sector, you have to keep learning, but the education needs to come from experienced professionals instead of online videos, which is now becoming the norm. I’ve read up on the current industry issues – the rise of contact allergies, for example – and I’m shocked by the amount of misinformation about it that’s being fed to nail techs, as well as to clients and enthusiasts who “just do nails for fun”.
The number of chemical sensitivities and allergic reactions happening is destroying consumer confidence in the nail sector. Some of the images I’ve seen have been truly horrific and it’s because people haven’t been trained in how to use the system properly, they just watched an online video and went for it.
It is up to us to make changes within the industry for the better so these things don’t happen. We need to invest in ourselves and in our staff, as well as educate our clients on what to look for in a reputable nail tech or salon. However, not all education is the same.
Time for regulation?
I love watching nail tutorial videos on YouTube and there are some really experienced techs on the platform pushing the boundaries and inspiring others. However, I’ve also come across demos by non-professionals that make me cringe – videos of amateurs doing applications and doing them wrong. Education is a key factor but I think regulation would go a long way to making the industry more professional.
I know there are some boroughs in London that require you to apply for a licence to work which, once you have met the criteria, is issued for a couple of years. We also need to challenge the public perception of “it’s only nails”, too. After all, consumers wouldn’t let their mate cut and colour their hair, so why let an untrained friend do gel or acrylic nails on them?
We also need to inspire techs to become better educated because this way they’ll be able to protect themselves and their clients from issues such as contact allergies. Recently, I was working on stand with a reputable nail brand at a trade show and I was amazed by the number of nail techs who were disinterested in CPD and further education to better their skills.
The most common comment made that day was, “I only do nails for fun so why is it necessary to know about this training?”. With so many nail enthusiasts out there who have grown up with YouTube, it seems we have a great hill to climb to get the standard right. PB
Lee Moore is co-founder of Rock & Rose Beauty, based in Pinewood Studios, and a Professional Beauty Awards judge. She has 13 years’ nail and beauty industry experience.