Walk before you run


Well-Known Member
You've completed your very first nail enhancement course!! You are going into a new career as a nail technician...FAB!!
Now drop the credit card.....step away from the shiny things and have a really good think about the things you NEED.:idea:
One of the very first hurdles to get over is that you need to be REALISTIC about your purchases.
The vast array of products can make any new tech excitable and also make you want to purchase and create EVERYTHING....but first you need to go home and practice the basics of the course you have completed..and keep on practising over and over again.

You should have purchased a basic kit or indeed had one provided on the course that contains the products needed to create many sets of enhancements in the system you have chosen. Try to keep a list of essentials and stick to it.

Some techs think "I'm not paying for decent products just to practice!!"
You must!!!
The only way to know your chosen product is to work with it. If you are using a less superior product for practice or mixing products (that perhaps a friend gave to you with the very best intentions) you are wasting your time.
You need to think about prep and practising mix ratios first and foremost.

Before you even think about starting out purchase a good hand sanitiser.
Purchase a good quality metal pusher that is sanitisable and rust proof. You will need this EVERY time you work.

Getting started
A pipette although inexpensive is extremely useful for decanting small amounts of liquid monomer safely without the risk of spillage.
A good nailbrush for the removal of dust...a make up brush will be too soft to actually get to the places the dust could be trapped which will cause improper prep problems.
Stock up on a good supply of sanitisable files and buffers in various grits.
Quality tips and forms should be purchased, the better quality of tip the easier it should be to blend.
A really good quality brush for the system of your choice. Look after your brush and it, in turn, will look after you!

This unfortunately is one of the hardest things to obtain....willing models who are prepared to dedicate their time for you to practice. Friends and family members are ideal but one of the best things to purchase is a nail trainer or a practice finger. This way you can get endless practice at home, in your own time, to perfect your skills and make the inevitable mistakes that will happen when you first start out, and enable you to rectify them over time.
If you cannot purchase one at the moment then purchase a supply of orangesticks on which to attach tips for practice.
For this you will also need bluetack.

Essential Items
A couple of hand towels are needed to protect the area you choose to work on whilst practising....they need not be Harrods finest, just old clean towels that you will no longer need for the home.
Kitchen towel/roll is ideal for practice purposes at home as a cheaper alternative to couch roll. You will need this for primer if you use it and wiping your brush. As time goes on and your skills get better you will not need quite as much!
Bluetack is always a handy item to have around. It can be used to attach tips to orangesticks as stated above and also hold your dappen dish or primer safely on your nail desk without you inadvertantly causing spillage.
Plastic bin bags whilst working put these in a metal bin and dispose of them as soon as you are finished.

Reading material
We live in an age where we learn and read a lot on the internet...this is great but remember to print off any useful tutorials and articles that you read on the site and have them to hand whilst working.
There are many books available that are invaluable when first starting out.
I'll name a few to give you some ideas....
Nail Structure and Product Chemistry by Douglas D Schoon
Nailclass by Gigi Rouse
The Complete Nail Technician by Marian Newman
The Encyclopedia of Nails by Jacqui Jefford and Anne Swain

A good way to know what is going on in the industry is to get a magazine subscription. Scratch is a great mag for nail techs in the UK for example, and there are others available to techs in other countries. These magazines cannot be purchased in the shops so lookout for special offers at shows where you can quite often save £££ on subscription or receive various free gifts.

You must obtain this in order to carry out any treatments on the general public. This is for your own and clients safety and peace of mind.
DO NOT work without it!!

Control the urge to purchase too many products at this point. You have your certificate and will enevitably go back for more supplies but don't buy things you have no idea how to use just yet..give it time.:)

I hope you find this useful and feel free to add your top tips for starting out!!:hug:
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Urban Geek

Mobile Nail technician
Really useful advice Judy! I so wish I had your guidance when I started out. Well done x

nicky's nails

Well-Known Member
Judy, why didnt you publish this in sept 2006 before i took my 'first course' lol

you are so right about stepping away from the shiny things, its so easy to start buying all kinds of lovely nail things that you think you need , but you dont lol

then when you save enough for a proper course (in my case lol) you realise theres still allkinds you need and most of the other stuff is still sitting at home, not used or tried to use then shoved in cupbaord cos you didnt have a clue how to use it lol

and i think most newbies think 'i must have couch roll, i must have that' when most times there are cheaper alternatives you can use just as well.

this is brilliant hun and a lot of techs just starting out, will save themselves a lot of trouble, if they read this

nice one J xxxxx:hug:


Well-Known Member
That's brilliant Judy. It's so easy to get carried away and by 10 of everything & then complain we've got no money.

When you start it's basics, that's it.


Great article Judy.

So many people seem to do a nail course and then jump straight into the nail art type of side. I once worked out that only 4% of my income came from nail art - my advice is to perfect the 96% of your clients before moving on to the 4%. I know that lots of technicians get loads of clients wanting nail art but they may be the minority.


Lelli Loo Loo
Keep these coming babes a fab article and sure it will help everyone :hug:


Well-Known Member
Judy this is fab, thankyou for adding it


Well-Known Member
Thank you hun....your a star xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:hug:


Well-Known Member
Now drop the credit card.....step away from the shiny things
I WISH this article had come out 3yrs ago

the dreaded credit card.......... AAACCCCCKKK
I still have tonnes of things never used or that turned out to be bad ideas....

Very sound advice for the newbies!! Way to go Judy!!



Well-Known Member
Thanks, I just thought it might be an interesting look at things for newbies.
No wonder there's so much unwanted products on auction sites eh?

just the kind of info that I could of done with 3 years ago.

would of saved me a fortune.

very wise words of wisdom


Well-Known Member
Well done Judy, this is full of useful advise and im sure it will be linked 1000`s of times for the newbies :hug:


Well-Known Member
been there done that! I wish this had been available to me because i found out the hard way to walk before sprinting!
well done fantastic article!


Well-Known Member
Fabulous advice....all the wrong things I did when I first started out included.....only buy what you need.....that's what I do now!

Put those credit cards away girls.

Judy talks about the basics and that's the basics you need following your initial course......walk before you start running!


New Member
What a wonderful article!! Some really good advice that Im sure alot of us could have used when we first started. = )~

Ruth Mills

Well-Known Member
Very well said!

Ruth :)


Well-Known Member
Fab judy, but why couldnt you have dne this 3 years ago, it would have saved me £££££ :irked::hug:


Well-Known Member
Happy to know I am not alone...
I got excited...but then realised I was getting carried away...and have not bought anything for agesssssssssss...

But well done Judy for helping out anyone who is starting...this will be invaluable...if they listen :D xxxx Jo


wow, thanks, you must've read my mind?:lol:
I'm training at the moment; due to finish in a few weeks time and already I'm thinking I need this and I need that.

Funnily enough, I was actually getting ready to go out to the retailers today but I won't now, and save myself a bundle.

You've just slapped me back to reality. Ta very much. I needed that!:hug:


Hi Judy,
that was a fantastic article, fortunately for me I am not mesmerized by the bling bling, I am very good at budgetting my money hence having 8 children. I usually see things and say straight away I don't need this and leave without buying then when I get home I get a phonecall
from a client for a treatment and that's when I go out and buy the correct amount. Luckily enough I have not been caught out by not having the right things to be able to carry out treatments. I hope this inspires all newbies :hug::hug: