Sunday, 7 September 2014

Week in Review: Nail Tech training

Hey y'all!

Well, it has been a pretty quiet few weeks here at FixinToFaff, but a LOT has been going on behind the scenes.  As many of you will know, I began my journey towards fully qualifying as a nail tech this week by taking a 3-day course offered by Salon Services, which is the UK extension of Sally Beauty.  In this super-fast, jam-packed course, I learned the basics of nail work: salon hygiene, manicure/pedicure, and acrylic extensions.  Of course, 3 days is not NEARLY enough to consider myself to be "trained," but I learned the rudimentary procedures and practices, and now I have at least got the qualifications to insure myself and begin doing practice work on nails.  My plan is to continue supplementing this training every couple of months with additional classes in gel polish, gel extensions, french tip extensions, and acrylic and gel sculpture nail art.

Day 1:

Popping out of bed at 7:15 on a Monday morning is something I haven't done since leaving Texas.  It was weird, but oddly kind of wonderful to know I had somewhere to be and something to do.  My biggest obstacle was knowing that I had to cross town at a weird time of day for rush hour: although the course started at 10, if I left the house at 9, I might not have made it on time, so I knew that leaving early was my best bet.  I had already prepped my rolling case with all of my school supplies, packed a makeup bag so that I could apply my face when I got there.  After putting down one mug of coffee with my breakfast, I poured the rest of the half-pot into my travel mug and set off on my education adventure.

Although the course was supposed to be limited to only 6 students, 12 ended up being booked for the first day.  VERY IRRITATING.  It resulted in a shortage of desks and the room being pretty overly warm, and our poor instructor Jacqui had a lot of students to look after, but we made it through.  In the morning we covered the basics of salon hygiene and basic manicures.  Because one of the students had only booked the course to do the acrylics and had already studied mani/pedi in her beauty college courses, she left, which meant we had to have a 3-person team so everyone would be able to practice.  Naturally, I was put into this group, with two lovely hairdressers who want to extend the services they are currently offering, Lara and Lauren.

Lara files Lauren's nails
Lara pushes back Lauren's cuticles
Lauren pushes back Lara's cuticles
While I'm soaking Lara's other hand, I was able to get a good snap of the waxing table we were using as a desk
The rest of the class, all partnered up
Jacqui grabbed my camera to catch me at work
Because her partner was already wearing acrylics and didn't want to remove them, Sue practiced on me.
After lunch, we moved on to pedicures.  There are no pics of this because;

     A) feet are disgusting, and
     B) I was so busy learning that I forgot to take any. 

Once we'd all done pedicure practice, we finished off the day with a test over what we had learned, and at that point we had all passed out manicure/pedicure portion of the class.  Over the course of the day, I noticed that I had developed a dry, tickley cough, and I assumed it was from the hot room and all the nail and foot dust flying around.   

Day 2:

Woke up feeling less than stellar, but pushed myself to get up and get on with it.  Repeated my morning routine, leaving myself plenty of time to get across town and drink my coffee before class, trying to wake up and ease my sore throat.  Days 2 and 3 of the course were dedicated to learning extensions, either gel or acrylic (there was an option at enrollment), and this was what I had really signed up to do, so I was looking forward to getting into it.

Blessedly, half of the previous day's class had only signed up for the one-day manicure/pedicure course, so our 6-student cap had been reinstated.  Additionally, because of an issue with her enrollment booking, one of the students had dropped the course, so there were 5 of us left.

We began with doing a more intensive salon hygiene study, going over legal and insurance requirements, and retouching on the bits that we had learned before about dealing with chemicals and the anatomy of the hand.  After the refresher, Jacqui went over the basics of acrylic application and then demonstrated how to correctly size and apply a false tip as a base for an extension.  Since all 5 of us had selected acrylics rather than gel extensions, it made things a lot easier for her and us, and ensured that she was able to watch all of us progress.  After the discussion, we split off into our pairs to practice applying tips on one another.  Of course, because there were 5 of us, one group had 3 people.  You guessed it; I was in the trio group, AGAIN.

Having tips applied by Candice and Emma.
By lunch, I was starting to feel a lot worse.  I laid down to take a little rest after I ate, but when we came back from lunch Jacqui started teaching us about the acrylic monomers and polymers and the process of polymerization, and then we broke off to practice making beads.

After getting the beads down, we began practicing the 3-zoned application.

It was really at this point that I started feeling awful.  My head was throbbing and I felt really flushed and achy.  I am not sure if it was the monomer fumes or what, but I was fading fast.  Admittedly, I kind of half-assed my practicing and then ended up being the first to leave, having not really practiced the application on a partner.  It was a fight to drive myself home, and once I got there, I felt so bad I just ended up collapsing in bed and passing out for a good 45 minutes.  However, I did manage to do my homework reading and quiz and sanitize my tools before I went to bed, still feeling a bit feverish but having taken some cold/flu meds.

Day 3:  

I woke up feeling a bit better than I had felt the day before, but knowing that I was probably sick.  However, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving my class unfinished, and since I wasn't running fever and felt better, I went to finish my last day.  Although I did throw a bit of makeup on my face, I didn't end up taking a selfie, which is probably okay anyway.

Turns out I had actually fallen a bit further behind everyone else than even I realized when I left, because everyone else had put in another hour and a half of practice after the official end of class (when I headed out).  As a result, I was in a bit of a scurry to catch up, but I managed to do so pretty quickly, beginning with doing 5 nails on myself.

IG followers might recognize this picture, where you can clearly see that I've been burned by a cuticle buffer a few times on my ring and pinky fingers during manicure practice.  The tips on those 2 fingers were also applied by a partner the previous day, but I applied the overlays on all 5 nails.   Because I was so busy doing catch up, I didn't get a lot of pics from day 3, but we spent 75% of the day finishing our acrylic overlay work and then demonstrating a start-to-finish acrylic extension individually for Jacqui.  We also had to demonstrate tip removal (before overlay, in the case of being crooked or incorrectly applied) and soaking off a finished overlay.  After we did all of our demonstrations, Jacqui left some time to demonstrate other things, such as gel topcoat finishing (in lieu of buffing), designer tips, acrylic molds, and a special demo from me, because several of the girls were very interested in the nail art that I have been doing here on this blog.

I brought in a selection of nail art supplies to show them, including foils, dotting tools, brushes, striping tape, gems/studs, caviar beads, flocking powder, and my stamping kit.  Unfortunately in my addled state, I ended up spilling a bottle of nail polish everywhere and we decided it was best to go ahead and wrap that up.  Hopefully if they have questions, they'll be following me here or on other social media, because I totally flubbed my presentation by being clumsy, *shrug*.

When it was all said and done, however, my evaluation went really, really well.  She said that I have a good eye and that being a perfectionist will make me a great nail tech.  I absolutely passed the course, so my perseverance paid off despite feeling so rough.  I've already ordered some more acrylic supplies so that I can continue practicing (our student kits only had enough product to get us through the class, basically) and honing my skills.  I am already looking forward to my next course, which I believe is the gel polish class.

The unfortunate side effect of having done the course is that now my nails are cut back to nubbins, and unfortunately the nail plate is pretty thinned and damaged on a couple of fingers, so I'm going to have to do some serious nail rehab to get them back into blogging condition.

Luckily, this means that I have a perfect opportunity to do a requested series on that very topic - and I'll show y'all exactly what I'm doing to get my nails back into great shape!

In the mean time, I am a bit stuck for what to do about my nail situation, so I want to poll y'all about what you'd like to see.  Should I stick to doing nubbin nail art?  Should I put on some overlays until my natural nail can grow out a bit (til the damaged parts are past the free edge)?  Should I just use temporary false nails for a bit?  Sound off in the comments and let me know what you'd like to see! 

Finally, I did end up going to the doctor on Friday.  Turns out I have been struck down by a viral upper respiratory infection that has been going around, so I've got another couple weeks of fighting that off ahead of me, but she believes the worst has passed.  *knocking on wood*

I look forward to getting back into blogging, and I already have a couple of posts planned for later this week.  Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend, and I'll see ya soon!