Nail School Update: Beta/Gamma Phase Complete
I’ve completed the second phase of nail school and am now starting the Management program. During the Beta/Gamma phase we were mostly on the floor working with clients, and only in the classroom one evening a week. I’ve gotten much more comfortable performing services on clients and my confidence is definitely gaining. I have a few regular clients that rebook with me each time they come in, yay! It’s pedicure season so we’re doing lots and lots of pedis.
We covered all of the remaining chapters in our book and I aced most of the tests… except one. I bombed what should have been the easiest test because I didn’t study. I read the chapter and thought it was pretty common sense stuff so I didn’t bother to do the homework. Silly me! I had to retake that test and could only get an 80% on it. Even with that failure, I still made the Dean’s List with 96%!
I think what I enjoyed most in this phase was learning to do acrylic sculpting. We don’t get much time to practice in the classroom and we don’t do enhancements on clients, so I have to practice on my own time. So far I’ve still only applied acrylics to my fake hand and haven’t tried doing it on a live person yet. My daughter is going to be my guinea pig this summer. Below are a few pics of some of the acrylic nails I’ve sculpted. They’re not great, but not horrible for a beginner I suppose.
We also learned about the Ohio State Board requirements and procedures that have to be performed. Our final exam for this phase was a mock State Board exam with 100 written questions and we had to perform a manicure, blend a nail tip, apply a silk wrap and sculpt an acrylic nail. The first run of the State Board exam was extremely stressful! You have to pack your kit meticulously with bags containing all of the products and tools to perform each of the services. During the exam you have 15 minutes to setup which includes getting everything out of your kit, and sanitizing and setting up for the manicure. Once you put your kit away you can’t go back into it. If you forgot something, you’re out of luck.
Then they give you 20 minutes to perform each service. The manicure is done using a creepy rice hand. This hand is made by filling two plastic gloves with rice and tying off the end, and then you glue nail tips onto the glove. It looks like a corpse hand. Wanna see?
During the manicure portion of the exam you have to file the nails, soak the fingertips, simulate pushing and trimming cuticles, buff the nails, massage the hand, and polish the nails without getting any polish on the glove. There’s obviously a little more to it than that since you have to apply products and follow all sanitation guidelines, etc, but that’s the short and dirty version. By the time I got to polishing the nails there was less than 5 minutes left and my hand was shaking like a leaf… the time clock made me so nervous! I made a huge mess and didn’t complete in time. It didn’t look nearly as nice as the pic above, trust me. But I only got a couple points taken off and still passed.
The other three services were performed on our mannequin hands (seen above in the sculpting pics). We had 20 minutes for each of these as well, but that included the cleanup/setup time, so it went fast. When I blended the tip I was still shaking and nervous from the manicure, and I filed so hard that the tip broke off. Thank god I brought a backup tip with me. I started over with only 5 minutes to go and passed with full points somehow.
Next was the silk wrap, which I find to be super easy so my nerves started to finally calm down on this service. Twenty minutes was ample time and I got full points on the wrap.
And finally we had to sculpt one acrylic nail using a form and odorless acrylic. We hadn’t even used our odorless acrylic before this day so I was a little nervous about pulling this one off because I heard that it takes longer to dry/cure than regular acrylic. I actually loved working with the odorless stuff and sculpted my best nail ever! I got a point off for blowing on the nail to help the drying process… apparently that’s equivalent to spitting on your client. LOL Note to self, don’t blow on clients’ nails!
Our project during the Beta/Gamma phase was related to finding a job. We had to create our resumes with a cover letter and thank you letter, complete a job application, answer 10 interview questions, and write questions that we would ask a potential employer on a job interview. It took some time and thought, but wasn’t complicated. I discovered that I hadn’t updated my resume since 1999 prior to this, so it was much needed!
I only have 7 weeks left to go! During the management phase we’ll be in the classroom two nights a week and on the floor on Saturdays. We have to do a mock State Board exam again towards the end, and we also have to take the management test. Our project during this phase involves doing volunteer work, shadowing a tech, and going on an actual job interview. We’re also going to take a field trip and tour some local salons/spas, which I’m looking forward to.