Manicures; “Practice makes perfect”

My last day at college before the mid term break seen me cram in my last formative for a French polish manicure with nail art and my summative in a manicure with exfoliation, hand mask, heat treatment and nail art.


My French polish actually went much better than I expected.  I can only put this down to practice I have been doing on family and friends in the last week.  Also partially down to not rushing it for the exam and telling myself not to be nervous as that would only make it worse.  My nail art on the French was very basic, as it was Valentines day I did a heart on the middle finger of each hand and a rhinestone in the middle of the hearts.  The key for me with nail art is not trying to be too elaborate like others in my class.  Not because I don’t appreciate their beautiful nail arts, but because I know my own limitations.  I am not very artistic when it comes to drawing things.


I got a little irritated in my summative with the polish I was using.  The client picked a dark pink from the college selection which was a lovely colour but as I started to put it on I could tell it had thickened up and wasn’t the best quality.  Thankfully it did level itself out in the end and it did look good.  The nail art was again basic, I used more rhinestones on the ring fingers and just did a simple off centred line on each nail.


The day earned me 2 more distinctions, one for nail art and one for my manicures.  That leaves me with only my pedicures and waxing to complete.  Yeay. 


Friday was my long day at work, I worked 12 – 9:15pm but the store does get pretty quiet between 7 and 9 as the rest of the town is closed and we mainly get customers in for the pharmacy.  I decided to put the confidence I got from my manicure distinction to good use.  I grabbed a nice red Estee Lauder display polish (Not a brand I would buy due to their animal testing but I was limited as to what testers were available in store) and polished the nails of one of the women working the shift with me.  Granted she didn’t like that the polish was not right down on her cuticles as “that’s how I would do it” but I did get the polish very close to the cuticles and nail walls without touching them at all.  Very impressed with how far my polishing skills have come with practice.


Estee Lauder – Pure Red nail lacquer, this image is not my own, taken from (I really should start taking photos of nails I do!)


It just proves that as the old saying goes, “practice really does make perfect”.


What are your bath/shower room essentials?

I have been reading a few blogs of late about people having a month off from buying toiletries.  This has made me smile because my new years resolution in 2012 was exactly that.  No buying unessential toiletries.

Let me first explain that I have a problem.  I compulsively buy what I deem to be bargains.  I don’t need to need the item right now… just to know that I may need it in the future.  So to say that I had a stockpile of toiletries is a huge understatement.  In fact, I had enough toiletries to ensure I did not buy any body wash, exfoliators, shampoo or conditioner until November/December 2012!

Yes, I went almost a whole year without buying toiletries.  Even then, I only bought 1 shampoo bar and 1 conditioner bar from Lush.  I did cave and buy a few unessential face washes through the year though care of the No.7 £5 off vouchers.  They are sitting under my sink in the cupboard waiting for their turn to be used or gifted to a friend.  I should be slightly ashamed to admit that there is still no way I need to buy ANY body wash or body lotion for the whole of 2013 either.

My shower is now close to what I like to think of as streamlined.  I can see most of the floor at least anyway and only have 1 of each item in there.

I am still using up Avon shower gels and currently have a tropical scented one to work on.  Sadly my other half is not a fan of adult shower gels, so he and my daughter are working their way through a Mooshi Monster shower gel and shampoo bottle.

Shampoo wise I have 1 bottle of Dove shampoo for colour hair and 1 bottle of Avon conditioner for colour hair.  Neither are amazing and neither would I buy again.  I bought the Dove Shampoo with the conditioner and I really loved how the conditioner made my hair feel but I was just very indifferent about the shampoo.

I also have my shampoo and conditioner bars from lush which I posted about when I bought them.  I LOVE the shampoo with all my being.  I bought jumping juniper and it is a fantastic shampoo.  Not so in love with the conditioner bar.  I so so wanted to love it as I am trying to move all my toiletry range over to animal friendly options but no.  It doesn’t make my hair look bad or wirey but it does make it feel like straw.  I have read it’s because it’s not coating my hair in silicone to give it a fake softness if you like but still… I am yet to be convinced.

My final toiletry is a face wash.  No.7 hot cloth cleanser.  Again, it does the job it is required to do but I don’t love it, hence it went in the shower.

If you have never thought of giving up buying unessential toiletries, it is something I highly suggest.  You will soon realise how many impulse unessential buys you would normally make.  For me, it is now about finding my perfect list of products rather than constantly changing my products in the hope of finding something better.

My ultimate shower contents (that I will aim for once I get rid of my stockpile of toiletries) would be:

Fresh Farmacy face wash from Lush

Ocean Salt exfoliation scrum from Lush

Body wash from the Sainsburys fruit range.

Jumping Juniper solid shampoo bar from Lush

A conditioner I want is yet to be found!

So what would your ideal list of shower products be?

How much should a beauty therapist be paid?

This was a question I was asked this week by a salon owner who is currently looking for her maternity cover.  My first question was to ask how long the person had been in the industry to which she said 1 year after qualifying for level 3.

Having been looking for job listings in the beauty industry (to get a feel for where is best to look for jobs and what qualities the job advertisers are looking for in a beauty therapist) my instant reaction was to say “Well in this area most places will pay a therapist minimum wage or slightly above.  In fact most jobs will pay minimum wage to even supervisors these days as they know the job market is tough and they can get away with it.”

In hindsight I do wonder if I was a little harsh in my reaction or if I was being fair and honest.

The manager of the salon did seem to think it might be a little low to pay somebody and so I suggested she work on a commission based pay.  I.e. she should work out what her overhead costs were (including the staff member) and advise the employee that they can earn 10% of anything over that amount as a bonus.  I’m not sure she was convinced this was a good idea but I really do believe it is the best way to pay staff.  It is a method that will encourage them to do their best and to work hard in order to ensure they receive a good bonus each week/month while ensuring the manager has enough money to cover all essential bills.

In the future I hope to work for myself and so in that respect I won’t be too worried about what an employer is paying me as I will be working hard to earn myself the best wage I can.  As a new therapist, what would or did you expect to be paid? And would you like knowing you could work for extra commission or would you rather a flat rate of pay?

How quickly can I complete a module in beauty therapy?

I have missed the last week of college due to illness but will be going back tomorrow.

Ordinarily I would be worried about missing a weeks worth of study but I believe I should be able to pick up the slack fairly easy.  Having only started manicures this month when we returned after Christmas break, my plan is to do 2 manicure formatives tomorrow during open salon.  I will do them on classmates and then I should be able to get my 3rd manicure done on Tuesday meaning by next Thursday I can do my summative providing I can book a family member in.

Separate to this I will need to do my nail art and polishing exams.  I am unsure of the set up for the exams, however if I can mix these in with my manicure formatives I for sure will.

In short, some modules in Beauty Therapy can be gained very quickly if you are willing to push yourself a little.  In fact, if you were not doing the module as part of your NVQ you can get courses that will qualify you in manicures in as little as 2 days!

Clearly each module with vary and of course ones such as my facial module will take a little longer.
Keeping on the note of nails, I was pleased to see Sally’s are having another VAT free day tomorrow.  As I am in college 9am – 7pm on Thursdays, I always end up missing the VAT free days, however tomorrow I am starting at 2pm rather than 9am meaning I can go and explore my local store.

I am thinking I may try to open an e-store and sell some nail polish and accessories, the VAT free day should give me a chance to buy a few items to sell on and see how quickly I can turn them over.  If they turn over quickly then I shall for sure do it again, it would be nice to earn a little extra money from something beauty related.

I am still itching to just get started.  No doubt if you are mid way through your beauty course you know exactly what I mean.  You already know enough to get you started… but you need to find the money to get all the stuff you need to start and the time to fit in the extra bits of work!  As much as I know it would be easier to start off working in a salon, all the job advertisements for salon jobs in N.Ireland state they only want those qualified to level 3 which rules me out for a minimum of another year… so if starting an e-store and writing my blog is all I can do for now to make me feel like I belong in the beauty industry, then so be it 🙂

Only 1 year and 4 months until I am free and qualified to a level that makes me employable in the eyes of the salons.  Who knows, perhaps if I plug hard enough and pull together enough money to build up my equipment I won’t want one of those salon jobs.  I can only but hope to achieve my goal when I started, to be self sufficient and be able to employ myself.

P.s. Does anyone know where the link to my page is on facebook? I seem to be getting a LOT of traffic from it and well… I have no idea where it is as I didn’t post it – but thank you to whoever did 🙂