Nail Snoops

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Our Nailpro competition judges take a break from scoring to seek out the latest finds at trade shows.

One of the greatest benefits of snooping around trade shows is that you stay up on all of the newest trends and products that often don’t make it to salon tables for years. The everyday beauty supplier doesn’t usually carry things like C-curve sticks, unusual glitter powders or specialized tips. Attending a trade show or technique or product class is sometimes the only way to discover new offerings for our clients. And I can’t tell you how my times my colleagues would come to me after a show, excited to see what I brought home with me. This time I’m sharing it all with you, and let me tell just you, our industry is as exciting as ever!
Anyone who says there’s nothing new and exciting going on in the nail world hasn’t been to the ISSE show in Long Beach, California, a High Road to Education seminar or the Global Nail Cup competition in Seoul South Korea. There’s a lot of fun stuff out there! Every time I attend a class or trade show, I find something new that I can bring to my nail table to make more money. Of course, you have to look for it. If you go to a show and only visit the booths that you go to regularly, then you may miss something unique.
If you’re still applying one-color gels or acrylics with polish, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and learn a new technique or try something you’ve never considered. Acrylic user? Try gel or gel polish. Do all of your clients have square nails? How about a new shape? We all know the way to get our clients to try something new is to sport it ourselves, so find a technique that interests you and apply it to your own nails. Keep your business booming by getting out of the salon, jumping into your car and driving to the nearest educational event you can find. Give up all the excuses and just do it!

Cosmo 3-D Nail Art Molds

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Do you have the time to practice those 3-D flowers that the pros can do? They’re beautiful but extremely tedious and time consuming, and even after a lot of practice, flowers can look like blobs. Flower blobs no more, because I found a great tool! Nail 3-D Art Molds from Cosmo Nail Products are as easy as 1-2-3. The rubber molds help you create all types of 3-D nail designs, such as flowers, numbers, fruit and hearts. They even come in beginner, intermediate and advanced molds—and the advanced molds allow you to actually build roses, orchids and other types of flowers.
Fill the molds with acrylic, and clean off the edges. Allow it to dry for one minute, then bend the mold to loosen the design and remove it with tweezers. You can then attach the designs to the nail with a ball of clear wet acrylic. 773.957.7005,

Edge Nails

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The hottest new shape for nails right now is the edge. This shape has a straight sidewall that graduates up to a crease at the apex—it looks almost like a roof. It can be rounded or sharp at the peak. If you look down the barrel of this nail style, it The Edgeactually looks like a V. Some call it the "pyramid edge" because where it peaks it looks like, well, a pyramid. It’s becoming the rage worldwide. You may have seen the photos coming out of Russia in the March issue of Nailpro. The newest yet is the stiletto edge, that has the original tapered sidewalls graduating up to a crease at the apex, and the very tip is a sharp point. Once the shape is mastered, it can be a very creative style with endless possibilities; I love that.

Fimo Canes

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By now we’ve all heard of fimo or polymer canes, but the new way nail techs are using fimo is raw or uncured. When the clay is not baked it stays soft and pliable with a consistency like Play-Doh, which is why it’s so great for nail techs. Simply apply a very thin enhancement and file. Then lay down a thin slice of raw polymer clay. Use a C-curve stick or the handle of your brush like a rolling pin to roll the clay out. Wrap it around the enhancement and encase it completely with clear product. It must be sandwiched between acrylic or gel because the uncured clay should not sit on the natural nail.

Glitter Powder

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If you’re a glitter addict like me, then you probably have every glitter color on the market in your case. Well, I’ve discovered something new to add to your collection. Sparkles Nail Products is known for its unique line of glitter powders, and now they’ve released new glitter additives. These are special because they have all kinds of different shapes mixed together and every shape has it’s own sparkle, which makes it appear holographic and multi-dimensional. This is not your run-of-the-mill glitter! Create a fun glitter French by first sculpting a tip with color glitter. Then place the Sparkles glitters on top. Finish by encasing the design in clear. It’s awesome for toes too! Apply gel or gel polish and before you cure, place the glitter shapes however you like. Encasing it with a builder gel ensures a smooth finish. Add a gel topcoat and they’re good to go! 877.775.5748,


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If you haven’t heard of Minx nails then listen up; this is a fun product! Minx is a flexible polymer film that contains its color in the plastic. Minx designs boast animal prints, flowers, paisley, plaid, metallic, holiday anything you can think of. You can even layer them. And get this: No need for primers or etching of the natural nail for adhesion! They shrink-wrap to the nail plate. There are no fumes—which makes this product perfect for the spa—and it lasts on natural nails about as long as nail polish without chipping, and there’s no drying time. It lasts longer over enhancements and even longer on toes. No electric file or acetone needed for removal either. You simply apply and remove it with an infrared heat lamp. Celebrities like Katy Perry, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga are already wearing Minx. In many cities there is not one salon offering Minx to their clients; definitely something for you think about! 866.757.6469,

Soak-Off Gel Polish

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There is lovely new product called soak-off gel polish. Traditional gel polish is a dream come true for enhancement wearers because of the convenience it provides by giving an instantly dry finish and, when applied properly, it’s chip resistant. Now, natural-nail clients can also experience the durability and convenience of gel polish. Traditional gel polish tends to crack on a natural nail because it’s hard and the natural nail is flexible. Soak-off gel polish is flexible and will flex with the natural nail, so natural-nail clients can enjoy gel nail polish that dries instantly and doesn’t chip or even budge until it’s professionally removed. In my opinion, that’s a great invention! OPI, NSI, Akzentz and ibd are just a few who are offering soak-off gels in tons of great colors, and many companies are quickly following suit.

Stained Glass Nails

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This find was a fluke. As I was wandering through the hidden depths of the show, I stumbled upon Gracia Nail System from JD Pride. I could not believe my eyes; this company was featuring a 3-D mosaic nail tip! The tip has three-dimensional dips and valleys that you fill in with gel to create a see-through stained glass effect.
First glue the clear mosaic tip on the free edge, cut and shape. Next, apply clear gel on the nail plate and tip, then cure. Double dip your gel brush with two colors—one color on one edge of the brush and another color on the other edge. Sweep the gel brush side to side. After applying, cure. Top the tip with clear gel for an even and smooth nail. Finish with a gel top coat, and you have a fast and beautiful stained-glass nail. 82.32.568.0402,

Stiletto Tips

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Let’s talk about Odyssey Nail Systems’ new stiletto tips. Yes, that’s right, stiletto tips. They’re very thin, which makes them easy to blend. The tips are made of 100% ABS plastic, making them a high quality product. They are great for anyone that that loves stilettos but isn’t very accomplished at sculpting. They’re also great for clients who want a round shape. It’s much easier to file these rounded opposed to a square tip, not to mention the time you’ll save. Available in clear, natural—and white, these tips are perfectly shaped for stiletto, almond or round nails. 877.624.5736,

Now all you have to do is start planning for your next trade show. And when making that plan, do your best to stick to it. It’s so easy to say "I’ll go next time," and before you know it, you haven’t been to a show in years! Going to a show is a great way to get those creative juices flowing, and find exciting new products and techniques to bring back to the salon. As you can see, things are rockin’ and rollin’ in the nail world--don’t get left behind!

Twenty-three-year industry veteran Carla Collier is a working nail tech at Glamour Salon in Tehachapi, California. She is an international educator and competition judge, former salon owner, retired competition champion and Nailpro

cover artist.

Anita Lime-Sims, known as “the fiber queen” for her mastery of fiberglass nail enhancements, is a 21-year industry veteran, competition champion and Nailpro

competition judge.