Pedicures made simple!

We bet you didn’t know that Ikea did pedicures. Well…to be honest they don’t really, but they do make some brilliant bits of kit that can be hacked to make a great pedicure station.

One rather cold and wet day in January, we sat at work looking at our rather forlorn old sofa and suddenly had a brainwave. “Why don’t we build ourselves a pedicure platform?”. It would save space and make it easier on our backs. Great idea, but where do we start, after all we’re nail technicians not carpenters…..(except Sian, who is actually a Technology Teacher!)

So Sian got the enviable job of working out how to create a platform suitable and strong enough for 2 or 3 clients.

We didn’t have the luxury of a huge space so whatever we built needed to be compact and provide storage space for all the pedicure kit.

Then Sian remembered that we had an old Ikea Expedit (now Kallax) cabinet sitting in the stock room. Out it came!

Perfect fit! Lightbulb moment….”maybe an Ikea Hack will do the job”

With a budget of under £100, this had to be good.

A trip to Ikea in Cardiff and a little bit of lateral thinking and some angle brackets to connect the units and we had the base.

We also reinforced the outside cubes with shelves and the inner ones with supports.

Like everything else at Nail Divas it needed to be monotone and we were lucky to find some great accessories!

Of course, anyone who has visited Nail Divas in Cardiff will already know that as well as being great at nails, we’re also damn good at design on a budget. Take a look at a few of these of Sian on one of her “design missions”…..

From this……

To this! With the help of the local charity shop.

Oh, and if you’d like to test out the pedicure station and our pedicures, or even take a class, here are the details.

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Can I do my own nails?

I’m sure you have all seen the cheap home UV gel polish kits available at Amazon and on Ebay, even Boots are selling a home kit. Many of you have probably considered buying one to save yourself time and money, especially at times when you’re strapped for cash (of course austerity is now officially over! I wish someone would tell my bank this!).

But, have you considered the potential problems as well as the advantages? We hear it regularly at the salon…”I’ve watched you do it, it can’t be that difficult can it?”. Unfortunately, the truth is that actually it’s much more difficult than it looks, and that’s just to get an acceptable finish. There are all sorts of other issues you need to consider first.

  1. Do you know how to correctly prepare the nail plate? If you don’t complete this stage thoroughly then your beautifully painted nails will last a day or two at best before they start peeling off
  2. Are you using the correct products? Believe it or not there is more than one type of nail polish remover. Use the wrong one and you’ll end up in all sorts of mess
  3. What type of light are you using? This makes a huge difference to the end result as some gel polishes will not polymerise in the wrong lamp
  4. ALLERGY! British Association of Dermatologists All nail enhancement systems contain Methacrylates, which are known allergens. Extreme care is needed when applying these to the nails in order to avoid over exposure. Gel polishes in particular need to be kept well away from the skin because they can easily cause allergic reactions, and the cheaper the system the more likely they are to cause problems.
  5. Cost….yes, doing your own nails is quite likely to cost you more. A good quality Gel polish system will set you back a minimum of £500 and that is just for the basic kit with one or two colours. Our full polish range at the salon cost well over £4,000 and that’s without the lamps, tools and removal products.

So….can you do your own nails? Well, the simple answer to this is yes, you can, but should you?


We need to talk Whybrows!

Ok girls, we need to talk….we really need to talk….EYEBROWS.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so you surely can’t have failed to notice the worlds most abysmal beauty trend. The “Whybrow”. So named because you continually need to ask yourself “why” anyone would find it remotely attractive. Basically a Whybrow is an eyebrow that has been waxed and plucked to oblivion and beyond and boldly stencilled back in where no brow has ever been before. No need to worry about the colour of your hair because these babies are anything but subtle. In fact, even if your hair is whiter than an Mother Theresa’s knickers then it’s perfectly fine to draw your eyebrows in with a ruler and a Sharpie!
They say you should never take advice from a girl with bad eyebrows and right now that probably equates to about 50% of the female population.
Now please don’t try to tell me that those black monstrosities complement your face because they don’t and I promise you that in 20 years time you’re going to look back at those bad boys and wish the ground would swallow you up. You’ll be about as embarrassed by them as my generation were by feather cuts, platforms and kipper ties.
Your eyes are meant to frame your face not overpower it and big black slugs just don’t cut the mustard.
Please please please no more sharpies! In fact girls we’re going to create a new term here, “Eyebrowsing”… when you can’t help but stare at someones really bad eyebrows and say WTF were they thinking?

I need to let my nails breathe!

Ok, that old cherry again!

Backup_of_Hands over face

Now we don’t want you to worry unnecessarily but the truth is that your nails are already dead! We’re really sorry about this but it’s true. So, they can’t breathe, they won’t get tired and they can’t sweat. However, the good news is that the nail bed (matrix) and  cuticles are very much alive and growing so, like the rest of your body, they need oxygen and nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals. Your nails actually recieve all the oxygen they need from your bloodstream, not the air, which means that oxygen deprivation won’t be the reason for your nail breaking or splitting.

Your nail plate is made up from many tiny layers of keratin cells known as  onychocytes, which overlap just like slates on a roof. When they get damaged or dry, they become white and sometimes peel off (splitting nails). There a 2 potential reasons for this:

1) Leaving nail polish on for too long causing keratin granulation (this is why your toe nails go white when you finally decide to remove last summer’s pedicure reminants….in October!)

2) Overuse of acetone. Acetone should be used with care as it is incredibly drying. Standard nail polish should be removed with an acetone free remover.

How do I prevent dryness and breakage?

That’s easy!………use the products reccommended by your Nail Technician. Strengtheners and hardeners can help the nails by working externally to protect the keratin in nails from harsh chemicals such as soaps and detergents. Just like the keratin in your hair, the external surface of nails can be conditioned. Cuticle oils and conditioning hand creams will restore moisture to the nails, making them less brittle and breakable.

My nail just popped off!

Firstly, can I politely point out that no it didn’t. I’m about as likely to believe that as I am to believe in spontaneous combustion! Like most other things in life the equation is as follows:-

Intention + Action = Consequence

Now I’m not saying that nail extentions don’t break or lift or come off because they do. But they don’t just fly off the fingertips on a whim and without warning. Usually they need a little help.

Most breakages that are not attributable to direct damage are the result of lifting. Lifting is every Nail Technician’s enemy and something that particularly plagues newly qualified techs.

What is lifting?

Lifting results when the nail enhancement system starts to lift away from the natural nail plate, usually at the edge closest to the cuticle (the eponychium) but occasionally at the tip and it looks like this…

Lifting   lifting 2

Lifting can have a number of causes.

1) Poor preparation which leaves debris on the nail plate is one reason. Whether applying acrylic, gel, gel-polish, or ordinary nail polish, it is critical that the nail bed is free of non-living tissue and oil so the product can adhere well to the nail.

2) Over filing is another reason for lifting. Excessive filing of the nail plate will leave it thin and weak, and it will not be a good platform for enhancements. If the nails have been filed down too thinly, the enhancements will not bond properly to the natural nail and lifting may occur.

3) Sometimes lifting can be caused by failure to use the correct primer for the system.

4) Another very common reason for the lifting of acrylic products is improper mix ratio of liquid to powder. Each brand is different, and it can take time to master the correct ratio.

5) Picking! Yes, ladies we know you pick, but please try not to. It doesn’t help your nails and in fact every time you do this you are pulling away a few layers of your own natural nail plate too.

What should I do about lifting?

Don’t ignore it that’s for sure. If it happens it needs to be tackled promptly and before it causes further problems. If you leave lifted product it is only a matter of time before bacteria manages to sneak its way underneath. And once it’s there, it’s in the perfect warm damp environment to allow it to multiply. Trust me on this one, bacterial nail infections are not pretty and they take a long time to grow out!

And finally…..”Can I glue my nail back on?”

Can you? Yes. Should you? Absolutely not!

It is almost impossible to re-glue an enhancement that has come off entirely as the surface will no longer be smooth. The result will always be a badly fitted nail which is likely to come off again and even more likely to grow a bacterial nail infection!