by Christina Quinn
I have been a nail tech for four years now, and through this journey, there have been many trials and errors when it comes to nails. I can list them all but this would turn into a novel, so I’ll save that for later.
As a new-ish nail tech to the industry, I am continually trying to learn the newest and latest trends, try out the newest and greatest products, fine-tune my skills, etc. I still have my fair share of setbacks, but one thing I have learned is that the quality of the product is vital.
I have been trained 100% in gel nails, as I wasn’t sure if I would like acrylic at all and figured if I wanted the training I could go back and take more training later. I have to add in here that I am seriously addicted to learning; knowledge is my friend, and I feel the more I know, the better my skill set will be. For the most part that is true, but practice is also where you are going to hone those skills.
I didn’t go through with acrylic training.
Fast forward a year and I am in my groove, doing set after set, learning every lesson there is to learn as a new technician. But one thing that had me stumped was there were just a few of my clients who for the life of me I could not keep a gel nail on. I used every different base coat under the sun, switched between gels and base coats trying out different brands. Using one base coat and a different brand of gel; all of my efforts with no success *insert face slap & confused WTF look on my face*. One thing to mention though, with enough chatting with your clients you WILL learn who picks, bites and chews their nails off (yes its nasty, but it happens). All I can do is praise my clients (positive praise is a thing) for being honest with me, instead of blaming me. There is no crappier place to be in then someone who is exceptionally rough on their nails and blames you for it.*insert double eye roll*
This first year of doing nails, I dabbled with acrylic because I have come across a few clients who have bad experiences with gel nails and will only do acrylic. So I had a colleague give me a quick tutorial, and off we go! Easy Peasy right? Ummm they were terrible, I wasn’t even a little bit good with acrylic, and I have no pictures to prove it because it was that embarrassingly bad. So after a few sets of terrible acrylics (I still don’t know how or why they came back to me, but they did…I started noticing that I was getting headaches after my acrylic clients. It continually got worse and turned into migraines. After putting two and two together that it was the fumes of the product, I completely turned my back on acrylic. Yes, I know there are fans and filters for it, but I was new and didn’t have the funds for any fancy fans, so I ditched the acrylics and sent my few loyal elsewhere.
Going forward about three years, acry-gels or polygels hits the market. If you are unaware of poly-gel, it is a hybrid between gel and acrylic, and it is the newest thing since sliced bread. It is all over my Insta-feed with the same old message: you haven’t tried the best until you have tried poly-gel, no smell, and it is super strong you won’t ever go back to gel or acrylic! It comes in a weird tube that squeezes out like sticky toothpaste, but it's for nails. Did anyone else think it was the strangest thing?? I asked my supplier about it, and they are all over it, saying you won't mind the smell at all, it is VIRTUALLY odour-free….
The keyword here, virtually. OMG! Wrong, it smelled so bad! Here comes migraine city, and I might add I have moved to a clean air salon and we don’t want to smell like any old nail salon. So that ridiculously expensive tube of poly-gel has sat in a drawer collecting dust and used it twice. I can’t even sell it! Makes you wonder right? Yuck!
Ditching the poly-gel fad, and going forward with gel, I seriously, double L, love gel. So I continued on my merry little gel nail adventure taking workshops and doing my art. At this time, I still had a few clients who couldn’t keep gel nails on. What I have learned about that is, this is a body chemistry thing, no matter the prep process, the different base coat, the different gels whether it is a hard gel, soak off gel, no matter WHAT, gel just won’t cut it.
Then out of the blue, while I was on a camping trip, I got a call from a lovely lass from JamGel asking me to try her product which is a Canadian based company (BONUS), but I wasn’t sold. It was the same old pitch, virtually odourless, replaces acrylic, excellent for strength and durability and all that jazz. I figured, what the heck, let's give it a go, I don’t have much to lose except a few hours of my life if an ever daunting fume migraine comes back. So she brought the stuff in, and I’m not going to lie, I let it sit on my desk for a week. I sat there and stared at it like it was a bomb about to go off in my studio, then I decided to give it a go.
Let’s not forget how bad I am at acrylics, this stuff was just as weird as the other poly-gel to apply, and until I learned to work with it, it required finish filing to smooth out the lumpy bumpy-ness, but GUESS WHAT….
NO SMELL!! Hallelujah, it smells like I am on a beach sipping pina coladas. My whole studio smells like a big yummy smelling coconut, and I thought, I can get used to this.
So one of my lovely awesome clients who comes in every two weeks because she can't get any longer then that, comes in and I give it go as she is seriously awesome sauce and will let me try anything on her. So, I say quoting myself “Let’s try this; it doesn’t smell like the other stuff an, if anything. It will give you an extra week of wear. What do we have to lose?” She came back in 2 weeks, and to my shock and awe, she had EVERY SINGLE NAIL STILL ATTACHED. I did a happy dance then said, let's do it again and we’ll see (totally thinking that was a lucky break)! And you know what? Every single time she has come back with her nails still attached. You cannot go wrong with that.
Ever since, if I have a client who has ever had issues with nails, or can only use acrylic, I automatically use JamGel, and I LOVE it! You do get the strength of acrylic with the flexibility of gel, and I have to repeat it, IT DOES NOT SMELL LIKE ACRYLIC, HALLELUJAH!
My rep did not lie, I trusted her, and I win because my clients are happier than ever! I am a very proud ambassador of this fun Canadian company JamGel, and I hope you will try it too, or at least stop by and follow the yummy smells of Pina Coladas! 😉