Confessions of a Nail Biter

In Choosing the right salon for you, natural nail care, Uncategorized on August 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Hi. My name is Katherine and I am a recovering nail biter.

I started biting my nails and chewing on my cuticles as soon as I had teeth, so my mother said. I stopped biting my nails by getting acrylic nails applied over my severely bitten nails. I paid a lot of money for the full set and my manicurist charged me to repair every broken/chewed off nail when I came in for maintainance. So that was an easy fix. I could no longer afford to chew my nails. Problem solved.

That is also how I started doing nails. I was driving a school bus and had decided that I did not like children. I was looking for work as a photo lab technician and wasn’t having any luck finding a job ( that’s why I was driving the school bus ), I was telling my manicurist how much I hated my job and she suggested I go to cosmetology school and learn to do nails. On the day of my appointment to interview at the cosmetology school the children on my bus were extra annoying, so, when I got to the interview I said, “where do I sign?”. They asked if I wanted a tour, and I said, “sure, sure, and where do I sign?”. Little did I know that it would be a fulfilling career for the next 27 years. Nails are my passion. I love everything nails and read every piece of information I can find and attend as many continuing education classes as possible.

Stopping myself from biting my cuticles was a far more challenging task. I tried bad tasting oils, topical treatments and nail strengtheners, nothing worked. I knew that I would need the right motivation to stop biting my cuticles, just as it took the right motivation to stop biting my nails.

My motivation to stop biting my nails was when I started collage to become a Certified Medical Assistant. As a SMA ( Student Medical Assistant ) I give injections and draw blood from my fellow students. I do not want to have any open sores on my hands. I wear gloves, but, I still do not want any open wounds on my hands. And that was all it took for me to quit cold turkey.

Now if I could just find a salon to get manicures. I am a licensed manicurist and I am picky about who does my nails and how they are done. When I wore gel nails, I did them myself, but a manicure with a massage is hard to do on myself. I can groom the nails and cuticles, but the massage just isn’t the same.

I am really busy attending collage in the morning and working in a salon doing nails in the evening and I do not have a lot of free time to get a manicure. I will make it a priority to find a salon after I graduate collage. Until then, I will have to keep doing my own nails.

Oddly enough, I am a manicurist, but, in collage, I cannot wear nail polish, artificial nails or wear my nails long. Even after I finish collage and get a job at a hospital, I most likely will not be allowed to wear, artificial nails, nail polish or have long nails. Bummer.

Onychomycosis ( fungal nail infection )

In Acrylic Nails, Choosing the right salon for you, Gel Nail Enhancements, natural nail care, Uncategorized on July 14, 2014 at 12:00 am

“Presentation of infection may occur in various patterns: fungal invasion of distal or lateral margins of the nail ( distolateral subungual onychomycosis ) ; direct effect from above or on top of the nail with a powdery, white, patchy discoloration ( superficial white onychomycosis ) ; or infection beginning from the proximal location beneath the nail bed ( proximal subungual onychomycosis ).”


In layman’s terms; fungal infection can start at the free edge or the sidewalls and move toward the cuticle ( distolateral subungual onychomycosis ); a white, patchy discoloration on the top of the nail plate ( superficial white onychomycosis ); or infection can begin at the cuticle and move toward the free edge ( proximal subungual onychomycosis ).

What causes nail fungus?

Onychomycosis infection occurs when the nail seal has been broken and moisture gets trapped beneath the nail plate.

Distolateral subungle onychomycosis occurs when the seal is broken on the free edge or sidewalls of the nail. This can be caused by hitting the nail and bending it back, causing the nail to lift from the nail bed at the free edge. Wearing your toenails too long so that they are under constant pressure from your shoes or stockings can also cause your nail to separate from the nail bed at the free edge leaving a pocket for moisture to become trapped and create a fertile environment for fungal growth.

Who is more likely to get nail fungus?

Adults are 30 times more likely to have onychomycosis than children. Only 2.6% of children younger than 18 years are reported to have onychomycosis, but as many as 90% of elderly people have onychomycosis. Onychomycosis is more common on the toenails than on the fingernails.

What treatments are available for nail fungus?

Current treatment agents for onychomycosis include both systemic (oral) and topical medications.
Mycological cure rates:
76% with the use of terbinfine
63% with the use of itraconazole pulse dosing
61% with the use of griseofulvin
48% with the use of fluconazole
34% with the use of Ciciopirox 8% topical lacquer solution

Oral medications used in the treatment of onychomycosis have the potential for adverse side effects, most notably hepatotoxicity (poisoning of the liver), and the significant cost of the medication course, which is typically of 3 months duration and is not covered by most health insurance plans.

The PinPoint FootLaser is the first FDA cleared laser for the temporary increase of clear nail in patients with onychomycosis. The PinPoint FootLaser poses none of the risk and harmful side effects of oral anti-fungus medications. This convenient, in-office procedure typically takes only about 30 minutes to perform.
After a single procedure, more than 70% of patients experienced sustained improvement.

How does one avoid getting nail fungus?

Self Hygiene for Toenail Fungus Prevention

– Avoid exposing your bare feet to public places.
– Always douse your feet with talcum powder after bathing.
– Wear comfortable shoes that allow air to circulate around the foot.
– Keep your feet dry and clean.
– Keep your toenails trimmed and filed.
– Always remove old nail polish before applying new.
– Follow a daily hygienic routine to greatly decrease your chances of having toenail fungus.

Artificial nails do not cause onychomycosis. Over-filing of the nail plate, over-aggressively pushing the cuticle back, hitting the nail hard enough to cause the nail to lift from the nail bed, or aggressively cleaning beneath the nail can cause the nail to separate from the nail bed and allow onychomycosis to grow.

Pedicures do not cause onychomycosis. Wearing toenails too long, not drying the feet after bathing, walking on a contaminated surface and using pedicure tubs that have not been properly disinfected can cause onychomycosis.

Toenails and fingernails are sealed on all four sides to the finger tip. Anytime that seal is broken, onychomycosis has the opportunity to grow.




superficial white onychomycosis


proximal subungual onychomycosis

distolateral subungual onychomycosis

Acrylics vs Gels! What’s The Difference?

In Acrylic Nails, Choosing the right salon for you, Gel Nail Enhancements on November 21, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Nail Technicians have been at war for decades over this subject. Heated arguments break out over this very subject. Nail Techs have very strong opinions about their preference. If you want to start a fight in a bar with Nail Techs, bring this subject up.

I prefer gels and specialize in them. I have nothing against acrylics, after all I built my entire business with acrylics, I just prefer gels now. so keep in mind as you read this blog post that I am favorable to gels. A Nail Tech who is favorable to acrylics is welcome to add any “pros” to the acrylic “pros” list.

So here are the “pros”and “cons” of acrylics and gels.

I’ll start with the “pros” and “cons” of gel nail enhancements.

Gel nail “pros”

Light weight
Non yellowing
Natural feeling
Self leveling
Easy to file
Crystal clear
Unaffected by room temperature
Fully cured at end of service
Pre mixed
Available in many colors
Custom colors can be mixed
Complete freedom modeling (any shape/look can be achieved)
Can be used as natural nail overlay, tip with overlay or sculpted
Will adhere to other gel brands
Will adhere to some acrylic brands, mostly brands who also have a gel line of product
Extremely high shine that lasts weeks

Gel nail “cons”
Must be cured in UV lamp (electricity required)
Heat spike possible while curing
Higher cost
Cannot be used over all acrylic brands or wraps (will not adhere)

Now for the “pros” and “cons” of acrylics

Acrylic nail “pros”

Available in many colors
Custom colors can be mixed
Complete freedom modeling (any shape/look can be achieved)
Can be serviced during power outage (air dry)
No heat spike
Can be used as natural nail overlay, tip with overlay or sculpted
Will adhere to anything (other acrylic brands, wraps and gels)

Acrylic nail “cons”

Odor (gives me a headache)
Takes up to 24 hours to fully cure
Will yellow if client does not properly care for enhancements
Harder to file
Not as self leveling
Tricky to master mix ratio
Room temperature/client hand temperature affects set up
Must be buffed, polished or gel sealed to achieve high shine
Every discount salon does them and some have given them a bad reputation. Clients often ask why I charge more than the salon down the street for acrylic? Aren’t all acrylics the same? The answer is no, all acrylics are not the same, but, try to get a client who is price shopping to listen to your whole sales pitch. Good luck on that.

General “pros” and “cons” of both acrylics and gels


Great looking nails can be created by a skilled Nail Tech using either product.
Both products are safe to use when used properly
Neither product will damage the natural nail when applied, maintained and removed properly


Thick, ugly nails can be created by an unskilled salon employee using either product
Good quality product is costly
Cheaper is not better. Cheap acrylic will yellow, become brittle and chip off. Cheap gel is not strong, may yellow, will become brittle and chip off.
Both products require hours of training and practice to master
The application process is not the same for both products requiring hours of education for each product
A salon employee can damage the natural nail using either product if applied, maintained or removed improperly
Both products require regular salon maintainance

So which is better? The answer is that it is more an issue of client needs and Nail Tech expertise. Which ever product the Nail Tech is better educated and more experienced with is the product with which she/he will do their best work.

My advise, choose a skilled Nail Tech who’s work you like and allow the Nail Tech to decide the best service for you.