5 leading nail techs share their top tips

Published 02nd Feb 2023 by PB Admin
5 leading nail techs share their top tips

Whether you're a new nail tech starting out in your career or a veteran wanting to brush up on your skills, one of the best ways to learn tips and tricks of the trade is by talking to your industry peers.

Lucky for you, we've had that conversation for you and asked five of the leading nail techs at the top of their game to share the answers to their most commonly asked questions, and share the top tips they've picked up over their careers.

Kirsty Meakin

For Kirsty Meakin, who has amassed over 100 nail awards over her career, the question most put to her surrounds choosing the right tool for acrylic application. 

“I’m always asked what brush I use for acrylic,” shares Meakin. 

“I use my 'Oscar the Wild' brush religiously. It’s a size 12 which is aimed at experienced nail techs.

“I always recommend a slightly smaller brush for beginners, so they aren't overwhelmed by the brush size - smaller brushes are better for smaller bead pick-up. For more advanced techs I would recommend a size 10 or a size 12 brush that has a flatter hair tip.” 

When it comes to moving up to a bigger brush, Meakin explains the benefits, sharing, “A slightly bigger brush will mean less beads are needed, thus making the acrylic application quicker. The quicker you work the more profit you can make.”

As for her top tip, it’s one she picked up from making mistakes early in her career and learnt as she grew.

“Using a metal file to create crisp side walls is a great technique you can use with gel polish, builder gel, acrylic, hard gel or Acrygel nails. Using a metal file eliminates the nail tech from filing into the stress point of the side wall due to the file being thin but very strong.”

To learn more about Kirsty Meakin, check out our interview with her.

Chantelle Vermont 

Session manicurist Chantelle Vermont, creator of the Clawgasmic nail network and host of its podcast, is constantly asked how to make chrome last – a trend made popular by Hailey Bieber.

To make sure the glazed effect lasts, Vermont suggests remembering that “a little goes a long way, and, if you use too much and don't thoroughly brush off the excess it can lead to the topcoat peeling away.

“Another tip is to cap the end and double topcoat!” 

To reach success on social media, Vermont has a sage piece of advice. 

“It sounds cliche but be yourself! Put yourself out there on social media, your personality, a bit about yourself and your workspace. People buy from people who they feel a connection with. 

“Perfect your craft but also shine your light! Be unapologetically you! You will attract more of your ideal clients this way too.”


Edyta Betka

Fashion, commercial and celebrity manicurist Edyta Betka, known for working with big names including Little Mix, Anya Taylor Joy, and clients such as Chanel, Bulgari and Dior, has over 19 years of industry experience, with a load of knowledge picked up over almost two decades as a nail tech. 

With many hoping to take a similar career path to Betka, the manicurist is often asked about when and why she decided to leave salon life for a freelance career. 

“In September 2018 I had to say no to three great opportunities in two weeks because I was working in the salon, which made me consider how, if this kind of work is finding me while I'm working in the salon, it may be a sign for me to go… I took the risk and handed in my one-month notice.”

Reflecting on the past few years as a freelancer, Betka shares, “I love being my own boss and I love my work even more. I'm able to work with so many amazing, very talented creatives on many amazing projects, making new connections, meeting new people, being creative and travelling with and for work – something I'm hoping to do even more this year.” 


Metta Francis

Session manicurist and content creator Metta Francis, aka “NailsByMets”, is passionate about nail care and nail health, which is why she’s often asked how to manage client expectations when they come in with damaged nails and expect an instant transformation.

“This is where your expertise comes into play. Educate your client and let them know you're not a miracle worker and their nails will need to undergo a healthy nail journey.

“A nail is only as good as its foundation layer – but over time, once the nails are repaired, gel polish, builder gel and other polishes will last much longer. 

“Make bespoke recommendations based on each client's individual nail needs and consultation. Be confident – if they’ve booked in for a treatment that’s not compatible with the current state of their nails, let them know and advise what would be better (and any potential savings they may be making!)”

Throughout her career, Francis has crossed paths with several talented techs, but one piece of advice stands out to her.

“My CND Educator, Anna Lee, or my 'nail mama' as I like to call her, told me 'practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice does'.

“She gave me this advice around nine years ago when I was in the early days of my career, and what she meant was, make sure you’re practising the right way, not practising with ineffective methods.

“Invest in education and even 1:1 training and mentoring so someone can observe how you work, your current skills, and they can adjust or advise accordingly. You never know what tricks and tips you may pick up. I still invest in training every year despite being 12 years in the industry; you can never know everything.”


Arlene Hinckson

Chances are you’ve seen Arlene Hinckson’s work on a magazine cover, or witnessed her nails on the red carpet with celebrity clients including Celine Dion for the Met Gala, Brie Larson and Sam Smith.

Whether you’re prepping an A-lister for a movie premiere or doing your bi-weekly session with a regular, Hinckson stresses the importance of good customer service – no matter who the customer is.

“Customer service is key. Watching the joy spread across my client’s face after a session always makes me feel really good.

“I always treat my clients with respect. They could go anywhere, but they came to me so I make sure they know that I care and will take care of them. I am always nice no matter how impolite a client behaves.”

It can be difficult to upkeep customer service when dealing with a difficult client, so, if faced with a dilemma like this, Hinckson kills them with kindness to protect her own reputation. 

“If they insist on treating me badly, I give the best session I possibly can, then refuse to see them again afterwards, but I never carry on loudly or aggressively in any nail environment.

“It is important to maintain the respect I have for myself and my craft. My representation is key to conserving the reputation of the nail industry. I take it seriously.”


What’s the best tip you’ve receive as a nail tech? Let us know in the comments… 

Don’t miss: How to prep nails for a manicure

Also: The ultimate guide to builder gel nail service

PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 02nd Feb 2023


Have all the latest news delivered to your inbox

You must be a member to save and like images from the gallery.