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.

acrylics-4 acrylics-1 acrylics-3

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?

state-board-handDuring 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.

You may also like...

7 Responses

  1. Suzanne says:

    Those hands are so creepy! Good job!

  2. Carrie says:

    You can also use a yellow rubber kitchen glove instead of the skinny plastic gloves. They hold up better. I bought them in 6 packs from amazon, LOL. It’s good to practice on them since that’s what your test will be on, instead of the other hand.
    Personally, I thought the one-hand manicure was the most stressful part of the licensing exam. If you had about 5 minutes left to polish the nails then you were right on track with the timing. :) I felt like you only needed all the time for the other portions if you had to fix a mess-up. Like, my tip didn’t stick down, and I had to re-glue it. Then I over-zealously filed the top of my sculpted nail flat (where it should have an apex…) and had to try to file the rest as quick as possible so it wasn’t square.
    I meant to come see you, but life kept getting in the way. Maybe it will still happen though! I “met” a girl on Facebook who is starting there soon. I imagine the next class. I think its great that you are going to go check out different salons. What kind of volunteering though?

    • Andrea says:

      Thanks for the tip about the gloves. I’m going to find a dark polish that’s opaque in one coat so that I can get through the polishing a little faster. The manicure was the only service that needed the full 20 minutes for sure. Volunteering can be just about anything where you volunteer your time to perform services. Most of the girls in our class are volunteering to do nails for some girls that are going to prom in Cleveland Heights.

      • Carrie says:

        they will still watch for you to do two coats of polish.

        • Andrea says:

          Really? My instructor said you could do one coat as long as it provides full coverage.

          • Carrie says:

            this is where we fall into the “do as you were taught by your instructor” pit, because there are things that were taught differently. For instance, one of the questions on almost everyone’s exam is about how many coats of polish in a service (including base and top) = 4. So when it came to the practical exam I expected everything to have to be perfect.

  3. Missy S says:

    Great job!! Keep up the good work! Congrats on making the Dean’s List!!!