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Adventures at Nail School Weeks 9 & 10

Posted on 17

Adventures at Nail School weeks 9 and 10It’s been a fun two weeks at nail school! We have completely finished the lessons in our textbook and have moved onto the practice, practice, practice stage of life. At this point, it’s all about the numbers, baby! Not only do I need to complete 600 hours of my program before I can sit for the state license exam, but I also need to perform specific numbers of procedures before that point. For example, I need to do 100 acrylic applications. Each area has a requirement, and I’ve been steadily chipping away. That being said, we did begin learning how to do two services that will count towards post-license certifications. After I am licensed in Colorado, I will be able to come back to school for certification in waxing for manicures and electric file (or e-file for short). Read on after the jump to find out what else happened!

nail school professional kit

First thing’s first: my nail kit! My program provides all the materials I need to practice with while I’m at school, so I don’t have to bring much (though there are some bits and pieces that I bring with me, like a little manicuring set and a finger bowl). However, part of the cost of our tuition goes towards a professional kit that I’ll be able to use when I graduate. It’s a nice, sturdy train case filled with lots of professional grade tools. I’m so excited! Stay tuned, I’ll be posting an unboxing video this weekend so you can see exactly what’s inside.

Colorado Capitol

Colorado Capitol

On Monday, we took a school field trip to the Colorado Capitol building. Cosmetology (and the separate areas of hairstyling, esthetics, and nails) are regulated at a state level, so the Capitol is actually really important to the industry! Especially as it relates to allowed procedures, rules, and other areas of the field that are regulated. Local government legislates what procedures are allowed, what is considered dangerous, and all the fines for violations. Local government can have a big impact on your career!

pedicureI mentioned that we are at the practice, practice, practice stage of school. If the school’s salon is having a slow day, it means we have to practice on each other. Sometimes the different areas will trade services – for example, I’ll do a pedicure for a skin student, and in return she’ll give me a facial. I can only count the procedures that fall within my scope of practice – so a facial doesn’t actually count for me, but hey, I’ll take a free facial any day. This has meant that I’ve gotten so pampered! That’s a picture of me enjoying a pedicure. I must say, it will be a sad day when I graduate – I’ll really miss all the services (and, you know, the people blah blah blah).

We also have started working on waxing for manicures and the e-file. Manicurists are allowed by state law to wax anywhere that they would touch during a manicure or pedicure service. That means that I will be legally able to wax from fingertips to elbows and toes to knees. Seems like a nice add-on! Additionally, we started learning about the e-file. It was originally regulated for acrylics, but is actually safe to use for natural nails, too. When we had a pedicure with really thick calluses, the instructor demonstrated how to use the e-file to drastically speed up the service. It doesn’t hurt, it feels a little tickly. If you do it correctly you can offer express (or water-less) manis and pedis. I’m excited to learn more about it!

Finally, I want to tell you a story. This is a story about why, truly, I want to do this work. Last week, a woman named Ginger came into the school’s salon. She’s probably in her mid-70s, if I had to guess. She wanted her hair cut and colored, and then a manicure. When she came to my table and sat down, I noticed that her clothes were a bit frayed. I inspected her hands, to see what I was working with: lots of dirt under her split and cracking nails, dry skin on her hands and arms. Ginger asked about the spa manicure, but said she couldn’t afford it today, and that she would save up for it for next time. As I worked on repairing and cleaning her nails, I learned a little bit about her. She also had family on the East Coast. She lived alone, with her dog. She really hates going to the doctor, even though she was worried about lumps in her arm and shoulder. When I gave her an arm massage, she said it felt good – and could I just touch her a little longer? She absolutely loved the finished manicure – she kept looking at her hands and saying, “now doesn’t that look better? They look so nice!” For her, it’s not about fashion. The salon is a place she can come to have some human contact – to talk to a person, and to be touched. She doesn’t have anybody to take care of her, or even to touch her, at home. Even though it was very sad (and I was quite sad when she left, just thinking about her), I know that I made her day a little better. And that, really, is what I want to do.


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  • Oh my gosh…the story at the end made me almost cry! That sweet lady! And knowing that you cared enough to talk with her about her life a bit – you are already so good at this job! <3 I can't wait to see what's in your train case, that looks like it can hold a lot of goodies. 😛 Thanks for keeping us up to speed on your classes, I know I really enjoy reading about them.

    • Thanks, Jessica. It was pretty hard to sit though, to be honest – what a sad life. But I know that those few hours in the salon meant a lot to her. That’s what I want to do! <3

  • Laura

    That was a terrific installment ! I am amazed by all you are learning and all the regulations. And your pro kit box looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see what’s inside. And your story was very touching. It is said that we need a certain amount of body contact with others each day in order to be healthy and happy. Your story truly speaks to that.

    • I really agree with you, about the body contact. I think this woman lives a very solitary life – and really was craving some human touch.

  • Lorraine

    Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Being pampered in luxury is what most people associate with mani-pedi. But really, when you see a client like this, you can see how everyone deserves some TLC. I was thinking of that last week when I explained the Bible story of Jesus washing the feet of the apostles to my daughter. Stories like yours or about how manis sponsored by organizations like Polished Girlz can make such a difference to restore human dignity and bring a little peace to those who really need it. Great post!

    • Lorraine, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I really believe that everybody needs and deserves TLC, like you said!

  • Wonderful installment to this series! Love reading about your experiences in school 🙂

  • I’m sitting here bawling at that story. How sweet, I bet you did make her day!

  • The story at the end was so sweet! I can totally agree that just making someone’s day a bit better puts a smile on my face too. She sounded like such a sweet lady too.

  • For some people having their nails done is just a way of life (probably how we think about it when we do our own manis). It still lights me up when someone looks at the finished job and can’t stop gushing about how happy they are. To some people us nail techs may be bimbos and airheads, but we get the chance to give people human contact they wouldn’t otherwise receive and make them feel better about themselves. That’s a pretty big gift if you ask me!

    • You know, I’m glad you bring that up. I feel like I need to do a post on the stereotypes about nail techs. I totally agree with you – we come in contact with a huge percentage of the public, and wield a great power.

  • Nice pro kit!!!!!!! I want one.

  • bettysbeautybombs

    I am unreasonably excited to see what’s in your nail kit!!! And that was a lovely story about Ginger!