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Question
Hi. I love the way my hands look with gel nails but haven't had them done in quite some time due to frustration at their lifting. Before going to just any salon, I'd like to research first and find one that uses the best products. So, what do you recommend for gel? I am in the Upstate of SC, if that helps.

Thank you!!!!!

Answer
Try checking out reviews on Yelp.com for salons in your area. When you find one that seems good, call the salon and start asking any questions that aren't addressed in the reviews. Often, I find that websites and review sites like Yelp don't address things like product brands or continuing education certificates that the staff might have.

There are a lot of really good gel products out there and you don't have the same concerns with MMA in gel that you have to worry about with acrylic. You might be interested in things like whether the gel product is removable by soaking or if it has to be filed off. Some brands that are popular in the industry are: Brisa by CND, Axxium by OPI, LCN (Light Concept Nails,# Light Elegance, Masterworks #by Amy Becker,) and BioSculpture Nails. There are lots of others that are also good, but too many to name them all. Just ask why the nail tech prefers that particular brand. You can usually tell when you've found someone who knows their product just from talking to them for awhile.

Aside from Yelp, you might also check the salon referrals at Beautytech.info.

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Maggie Franklin

Expertise

Professional Nailcare: nail enhancement chemistry and technique, mancuring and pedicuring. I am not qualified to give medical advice or make medical diagnoses.

Experience

I am a professional nail technician with 17 years experience in the professional beauty industry. I am licensed in the states of California (license #M120766) and Colorado (license #8611.) I have been an active member of the online mailing list at Beautytech.com since 1999 where I network with 100s of nail industry professionals around the world. Over the last 15 years I have accumulated several advanced training certificates, including the coveted Creative Nail Designs Master Nail Technician status, and personal training by Tammy Taylor, Tom Bachik, and Tom Holcomb. I briefly joined the competition circuit in 2002, taking first place in the second annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition in the Enhancement 2 category. In 2009 I have decided to make time in my schedule to get back into competition by joining "Team Pink," the competition team captained by current world champion nail technician, Lynn Lammers. I boast several contributions to articles that have appeared in both Nails and Nailpro magazines, including a brief stint as a Nails Magazine Help Desk contributor and now I write a semi-weekly blog for Nails Magazine while continuing to attend tradeshows and continuing education events.

Organizations
Nail Tech mailist list at Beautytech.com

Publications
Nails Magazine. Nailpro Magazine. Blogging for Nails Magazine since September, 2008: http://blogs.nailsmag.com/maggie/

Education/Credentials
CA license #M120766. CO license #8611. CND Master Nail Technician. Tom Holcomb Academy. Personal training with Tom Bachik. Two day advanced training with Tammy Taylor. AEFM certified for use of electric file. HRTE (High Road to Education) in San Jose, CA 2009.

Awards and Honors
2nd Annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition, 1st place in Enhancement 2. Member of "Team Pink" competition team 2009. 3rd place, Novice tip-and-overlay relay at IBS Las Vegas, 2009.

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