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I've always wanted to learn how to do nails. when I was a teenager I wanted to go to college and be a nail technician. my family talked me out of it though and I went to college for something else, now I am in incredible amounts of debt.


I still want to learn how to do acrylic nails!

I have found some tutorials on the internet. Many tutorials suggest buying "acrylic nail starting kits"

do you know of a reliable source to buy such a thing? I did a google search and have found tons of "kits" but I don't know if it's what I want.

I want to learn how to apply the tips, the powder/liquid. Not solar or gel.. or the "pink and white"..

I've already started teaching myself nail art and have bought those types of tools, paints, brushes, etc.

Please help?

Hi Kayla!

Do you want to learn to do nails for yourself? As a hobby? Or are you hoping to earn a living at it? Be able to work in a salon, build a clientele, and charge for your services?

There's a big difference in how you go about it, depending on your goal.

If you want to become a professional nail technician you will need to enroll in a state approved course in order to get your license. The best place to start is by scheduling an appointment to talk to your local beauty school about what's involved.

You'll be required to complete the course and then you'll have to take a state board exam to get your license.

That'll make you legal to work in a salon and charge for your services.

If you just want to learn so that you can do your own nails, head to a Sally's Beauty Supply. They offer some good options and you'll know that you are getting legitimate products that were properly stored and transported. You never know what's actually in those containers when you buy a kit off the Internet!

Stick with the YouTube tutorials-- there are some good ones out there. And you can look for a copy of an old manicuring course text book online too.

Once you know the basics, all you can do is practice practice practice. Which is frustrating advice when you're impatient to learn, I know, but there is no other way.

Meanwhile: check into Nails and Nailpro Magazine, for great articles that will help you learn more about the products and techniques themselves, so you'll know the true differences between "solar," "gel,""powder/liquid," and various other terms commonly used and misused in the industry.

But do be careful: bootleg salons have always existed and always been popular (working unlicensed from home) and it is illegal in most states to charge for services if you don't hold a valid license from that state. But these days it's getting much much easier for state boards to track down offenders because people advertise their illegal services on the Internet-- which is much easier for state officials to find, and prove.

So if you're planning on charging for services, it's worth it to go through the course get licensed. And if you're planning on charging for services without a license, be aware of the consequences.

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Maggie Franklin


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


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 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.

Nail Tech mailist list at

Nails Magazine. Nailpro Magazine. Blogging for Nails Magazine since September, 2008:

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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