beauty beauty beauty beauty beauty beauty beauty beauty digital nail art Having a company logo or the picture of a loved one reproduced on a t-shirt or coffee cup used to be a novel idea - until digital nail art made its debut in the UK just over a year ago. Now, clients can have almost any image they want digitally reproduced onto their finger nails in just a few fussfree minutes. Whether this innovation is ‘here to stay’ and poses a threat to experienced nail technicians remains to be seen, but it does seem to offer a number of unique advantages … What equipment is needed? Digital nail art machines are available in various packages to suit the needs of the operator. Some are ‘stand alone’ units that have a built-in computer, software, keyboard, monitor, nail printer and so on. These are perhaps more suited to therapists and salons who have little experience with computers or do not have their own PC and/or monitor. Other machines come with (or can be linked up to) a laptop that can be detached from the digital nail art printer and used as an ordinary PC when not required for treatments. Most machines come with1,000 images as standard, but more can be added, e.g. pictures downloaded from the internet or digital cameras, or scanned photographs, etc. Some machines will also allow you to store client records. help of a large monitor the artwork is then positioned over the nails - a procedure that is either carried out automatically by the machine, or manually by the therapist. Once the digital printing has been completed, a special top coat is applied to the nails to protect the artwork. How much do the machines cost? This varies according to the manufacturer/ model, but expect to pay £2,000-£5,000. How long will the nail art last? As with most nail art designs, much of this will depend on the client’s lifestyle and level of care. When the art work does start to deteriorate or is no longer wanted, it can be easily removed with a standard nail polish remover. What other products will I need to buy? Two different types of nail coatings are usually required: one that is applied pretreatment (to protect the nail and enhance the artwork) and one post-treatment (to protect the artwork). These nail coatings, plus ink cartridges, generally need to be bought from the supplier. Prices are comparable to what you would expect to pay for a good quality nail polish and colour ink cartridge. On average, a single ink cartridge will decorate 2,000 nails. What does the procedure involve? Having selected a favourite image, a base coat is applied to the client’s manicured nails. Once the coating has dried, the fingers are strategically placed onto a hand rest which gently slides into the digital nail art unit when the client is ready. With the 4 How many nails are printed at a time? Most machines will have a hand rest that accommodates up to four digits. Typically, the fingers of one hand will be done, then the other, followed by both thumbs. How long does a treatment take? The actual printing process takes just a few minutes, but obviously the therapist will need to allow time for: the consultation; selecting the image(s); and allowing the different nail coatings time to dry properly. How much can clients be charged? In London, a client can expect to be charged up to £30 for ten nails. In other areas, this would drop to around £20. Is the treatment safe? Yes, if the machine is used as intended. However, clients who have a pacemaker or any metal pins/ plates in the body are advised not to have this treatment. Do you need to be a beauty therapist and/ or nail technician to offer digital nail art? Relevant training and qualifications in Beauty Therapy and nail work would obviously be an advantage, but as full training is usually provided when purchasing or leasing a digital nail art machine, it is not considered essential. Most suppliers also provide ongoing technical support. Does the machine require maintenance? The machine should be self-efficient and automatically clean its own ink heads, etc, when necessary. But check with your supplier what action will be taken in the event of a technical error and who will foot the bill. Also ask if the machine will be covered by warranty and if this can be extended. What are the advantages of treatment? • Treatments are quick • There are fewer products involved • It is virtually fume-free • Clients can use personalised images (e.g. photos of family members or pets, sports/ company logos, their own designs) • The therapist/ operator need not be highly skilled or artistic to produce good results. What are the potential drawbacks? As you will be relying on your supplier for technical support, repairs and replacement products, you will face difficulties if the company folds (which can and does happen). Do a little research into your intended supplier and ask to speak to one or two customers who are happy with the service they are receiving. Pics and info: with thanks to Nail Impressions.
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