If you're a session manicurist or salon nail technician, you might argue that there's not much call for nail art these days, since the minimalist nail trend emerged so elegantly and effortlessly.
So what’s the point in practising anything more than a delicate dot or a straight line? (Which is actually more difficult to master than it looks).
The point is, it’s not so much the call for a specific technique or skill that really matters. It’s more the specialist skill that will set you apart from all the other professionals in your field.
The nail sector within the beauty business is still on the increase. No surprises there.
In December 2017, it was reported by Grand View Research that nail polish is “set to grow by over 9% due to the rising awareness of women regarding their appearance” - presumably, thanks to social media.
Apparently, the popularity of nail art is also expected to have a positive impact on the demand for nail polish over the next eight years.
So it seems, in fact, nail art is still very much alive. Minimal or otherwise.
With that being said, what happens when a client asks for something more than just the classic manicure? Are you going to turn them away or refer them to somebody else, just because you’re a one-colour pony?
The only good 'decline' is the kind that shows you're in demand, not incapable.
Or maybe you'll aimlessly attempt the task before feeling flustered and defeated after fumbling your way through a nail art faux pas.
If that scenario already sounds familiar, I’m pretty sure you won’t want to re-enact that again. I know, I’ve been there, more than once.
It’s true; most of my session work rarely calls for a full-on, hand-painted floral print. Yet, once in a blue moon, it can happen.
Just recently I got booked on a job for a magazine who asked, the day before the shoot if it was, "too short notice to request nail art?"
Ok, so it wasn’t full-on floral, but what a satisfying feeling for me to be able to say "Sure, no problem!" And to know that I was fully rehearsed and ready to rock any nail art design on the spot.
What better service can you offer than to meet the client’s requirements with a minimum of fuss? That’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t go unnoticed and is remembered.
When a client needs a manicurist for even the simplest of manicures, the first point of call might be you. You, who’s reliable, experienced, has a good portfolio… oh and can do nail art.
Because if you can create intricate, freehand nail art, that could give you the upper hand.
In the early days, it was a very different story... When I first started doing nails I got a job at the busiest nail art salon in London, at that time. Yep, nothing like throwing yourself in at the deep end!
For at least the first two months, probably more, I can honestly say I was nothing short of petrified everytime I began my shift.
The fear of what each client would ask for was so immense, it’s a wonder how I got through the day.
Clients, or should I say, tourists would visit the salon from all over the world, with higher expectations than Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.
I badly felt the pressure to live up to their nail art dreams and I so wanted to be the amazing, nail art queen they thought I was.
I was determined to master the art of freehand and end the feelings of nail artist fraud, that I simply kept going. Cringing, quivering and crying inside until I realised that I just needed to calm down and get confident.
In the words of Henri Matisse, “Creativity takes courage.”
It occurred to me that in any job or service, the highest standard involves efficiency, skill, detail and above all, a quiet confidence, i.e. one that allows talent and expertise to speak for itself.
Creativity has many more benefits than sees the eye.
Studies prove that people who are creative in their everyday life, are more openminded, better problem-solvers and further able to cope with their feelings.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, I completely agree that any type of artistry or design is good for the mind. So, if you simply enjoy nail art as a hobby and a way of relaxation, then go for it!
You don’t need to be a pro nail artist or qualified manicurist to be fantastic at freehand nail art. Essentially, it's just art on a smaller canvas.
When I create a nail design, whether I’m taking inspiration from fashion or dreaming up my own nail look from scratch, I have to work out how to go about it.
What colours will complement each other?
What is aesthetically pleasing to the eye?
What part of a print will pop?
How will I achieve a certain texture?
How do I deconstruct the elements and put them back together?
How will I transfer a big canvas on to a tiny one?
Where do I begin?
When I’ve completed a design whether I’m happy or disappointed with the outcome, I’ve exercised my mind, I’ve learnt along the way and I’ve grown, creatively. It’s always a positive conclusion.
When something is hand-painted or handmade it becomes more precious and unique. I believe it’s the same for nail art.
There’s a more effective way of creating a worthy #ManiMonday than tackling tape and having to excessively tidy up the fingertips after your workmanship.
Forget stencils and stamps, the most notable tool you’ll ever have is your own skilled hands.
If you’re serious about your skill set, it is absolutely necessary to get to grips with painting nail art by hand, and to continue to practice. Otherwise, you will get rusty, lose confidence and stop growing, artistically.
Mastering the art of freehand is a no-brainer. Make time for it and always be ready, because, at the end of the day, people will always remember the tiny details.
Learn how to master the art of freehand at my next Fashion Nail Art Workshop