Nail art ruining my business


New Member
I am an amazing nail tech, I totally love it and it has kept me in a full time job for the last 20 years - Until nail art become popular...! I do not have an artistic bone in my body and now that everybody is expecting us nail techs to do "something fancy" it is just a disaster! My lines and dots look like a 2yr old kindy painting, my stamping is always a dismal failure, ombre nails end up "wtf", striping tape lasts 1 second. Plus it is so time consuming! A beautiful classic $50 45min manicure has turned into an hour and a half mess for a couple extra dollars. I have a couple of designs im really good at but my clients want more variety. I stress out before every nail appointment.Am I just going to have to accept my nail career that I love is coming to an end because I'm just not artistic? :(


Active Member
Not at all! I feel for you!
Start with basic options, that you feel confident doing. Have these on display and explain that art can be chosen from the displayed options only. Add to this as you practice and become more confident.
Foils are SO simple and effective yet involve no artistic flair. And stamping adds fantastic design options without the need to hand paint - try and practice the stamping! Also, abstract is really in right now, which is basically splotches, dots and lines. There are definitely options you can start with. Get yourself some lovely loose glitters and people can add full glitter nails as a feature too!


Brush Slayer Geek
I am an amazing nail tech,
You didn't become an amazing nail tech over night, it took practise and dedication, time to apply the same thinking to your art skills. I'm not 'arty' but I can stamp, simple free-hand flowers, dots and flicks, most of those will satisfy most clients.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Have you thought about investing in the specialist nail art training? You’ll be taught techniques which will make it easier for you.


Well-Known Member
I have zero artistic talent but I can do 'technical'!
So I don't offer anything done free hand but I can do glitter, foils and stamping.
Clients are amazed just by this so all happy in the end!

Stamping takes a bit of practice but by watching videos it's not too tricky.

Just offer glitter and foils if you want - nothing wrong with that.
There are plenty of salons that don't even offer glitter or layering colours as options so I shouldn't worry. Just stick with what you CAN do.


Well-Known Member
If you google step by step nail art designs it makes it a lot easier than you think. Then it's all just about practice, practice and more practice xx


Well-Known Member
Heres one to try xx



Well-Known Member
Also, try using acrylic paints. It makes it so much easier. (Buff the shine off the nail first) xx


I am the same way I can't even draw a stick man I do foils decals but I am fortunate that most my clients dont like nail art!


I also can't draw to save my life but started trying and practicing simple shapes like roses and geometrics. Practicing helps just like you practiced and perfected painting and shaping. Also you don't have to draw realistic stuff. Go with abstracts like blobs of colours and simple lines on top to roughly define shapes. You're definitely not alone girl. Not everyone has that I pure born skill. Practice does make perfect (or acceptable )


Active Member
I'm not bad at art, quite good at portraits. But nail art is totally different. Its the scale reduction that makes it trickier for me. On an a4 piece of paper a line or dot gone wrong can go unnoticed but on nails it really shows. I find less is more with nail art, don't over paint. Go for simple stuff, abstract is great, little flowers are easy to do with a dotting tool, look on Instagram for basic designs that requires little artistic skill but create a really good effect.


Staff member
Thank heavens for stamping, that’s all I can say on the subject ;)


Well-Known Member
I feel the same way to be honest and only offer very simple options and also glitter, foils and decals. I have a few stamping plates but can't even master that! So I've booked into a nail art workshop this month in the hope I can learn some new techniques! Could you do something similar?

My educator always told us she hated doing nail art, not because she couldn't do it, but because it was too time consuming and clients weren't prepared to pay what it was actually worth. But I think the more artistic nail techs probably enjoy the opportunity to express themselves and try out new designs so they get something out of doing it anyway?


Active Member
There are many ways you can incorporate nail art that does not involve special techniques. For example foils, swarovski, glitter etc. As for other types of more advanced nail art, or hand painted art, it requires practice. It also helps to have the correct brushes. With a striping brush, doing hand painted stripes becomes a walk in the park. You can't expect art of any kind - in this case nail art - to just happen naturally without practice (perhaps for a chosen few, it does). I don't mean any offence with this so please don't take it as such, but when you say you can't do it because you're "just not artistic", it kind of undermines the hard work, hours or practice and potentially money invested in technique classes and equipment that a lot of techs have had to endure to offer these kind of services. It takes more than just trying something out a few times. Some people might learn faster. Personally I am a slow learner, as I have a learning difficulty diagnosis, but that diagnosis also comes with being incredibly stubborn, which worked in my favour when I wanted to learn some new techniques (like ombre or stamping, as you mentioned). :p

At the end of the day, if you want to evolve with the market, then it could be worthwhile looking into some classes. They can be anywhere from 50-200 pounds depending on the tecnique, length duration, who is hosting etc... If you feel that is expensive, try to perhaps dedicate a few weekends to practice, or an hour a day after work (or between clients). Start with something you feel your customers are asking for - for example you mentioned your stamping turns into a mess; what plates and stamping polishes do you use? I am sure many here can direct you to their preferred brand, and these things don't have to come with a hefty price tag. I was determined to be able to offer stamping, I think I practiced around 1 hour a day for a week (after work last customer left usually) to be able to stamp consistently. Having a look around for what stamper/plates/polishes people recommend is also a good idea. Stamping is really good as an easy way to spice up nail art, so if you wanted to start with something on the easier side, I would recommend practicing stamping actually.
PS: I recommend patterns, and mandalas, they are always very popular. I made the mistake of having just one mandala stamp plate in the beginning, so I recommend getting a few of those. Bigger ones that can cover the whole nail are so much fun, because no matter where you decide to stamp your mandala, it will turn out pretty - whereas other types of stamps will sometimes require some precision of where you place the stamp on the nail. I used to use really affordable Born Pretty plates and polishes when I started with stamping, it was cheap to buy and they worked great actually. I don't have a whole array of colours, just some basics, and black and white are most necessary. I have a few different clear stampers of different sizes, and some scrapers as well. I would recommend getting a couple different scrapers too, because even these can be down to personal preference, speed etc. Below is a link to a born pretty stamping plate I used A LOT. I'm not sure where in the world you live, but they have stores on ebay too.
Last edited: