Some Gel Nail Art

I’ve started my advanced gel art class and  it seems to be going pretty well, but I’ve been reminded of the difference between the Japanese and American ways of schooling. In Japan, the way is to do it exactly as the teacher does it- right down to placing the sparkles in the same areas. The general idea is that you have to be able to imitate perfectly before you make your own original designs.  Even in art, creativity is not particularly encouraged until you can duplicate designs.

My classes are pretty casual. I’m not going for a nailist license here in Japan, mostly because I can’t work as one legally (work visas are for only skilled labor- that means a job which that 1) Japanese can’t do; and 2) requires a 4-year university degree, so foreigners working as nailists are pretty much out) and because the course and testing are outrageously expensive and the license is not transferable to any other country.

Oddly enough, you do not currently need to be licensed to work as a nailist in Japan. I was pretty shocked at that. They also cut skin here, which is a big no-no in most US states. Any procedure that could potentially draw blood is prohibited, generally speaking.  But here, they’re just chopping away.

My only nail salon experience in Japan was pretty spooky.  I had my nails long then, and I broke the pinkie. I couldn’t bear to chop them all, so I headed over to the salon to have an acrylic extension put on. They busted out the ominous looking cuticle clippers, chopped away, and then the nailist handed them to another nailist when she was done with me, and proceeded to use them on the next customer without sterilizing them! YIKES! No one looked alarmed in the least.  Blood borne pathogens, anyone?  This was in a very expensive salon in the Aoyama area, too. After that, I never went back to another nail salon  in Japan again.  I didn’t expect to pick up some horrible disease from bloody cuticle scissors, but fungus is a very real possibility from unhygenic salons.

Um..all that grossness aside, here’s a pretty picture of some of the gel art I did:

So everyone, if you do go to the salon a lot, bring your own files and cuticle pushers and be VERY careful of undergoing any cutting procedure that could potentially draw blood. It’s also good to  keep your hands moisturized to prevent nicks from salon tools.  If anything looks sketchy, tell them to stop. It might seem dramatic at the time, but it is better to walk out of an unhygenic salon mid-procedure than to suffer with nail fungus or nail damage later.


About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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20 Responses to Some Gel Nail Art

  1. Rebecca says:

    It’s funny that you mention cuticle cutting today… I just had a manicure done a couple days ago and the manicurist was working on my hands while I was getting a pedicure from someone else (seems lavish, but really they were just rushing to finish because they were very busy). Anyhow, I wasn’t paying attention to what the lady was doing with my hands, and then suddenly I felt pain and realized she had cut my cuticles and drew blood from my pinky. Hurt like hell. I was too stunned to say anything… ended up going home, cleaning it with peroxide and slathering it in polysporin. I’m in CANADA, didn’t think anyone would cut cuticles here… 😦

    • beachgal says:

      It’s illegal to cut cuticles here in California.

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        It’s illegal to cut skin or do a procedure that can potentially draw blood in most US states.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Hi Rebecca- sorry to hear about your scary salon experience but I’m glad you cleaned yourself up with some hydrogen peroxide. Don’t go back there again, or definitely bring your own tools! I don’t know the Canadian rules and if they differ by province, but I’d be surprised if any skin cutting was allowed. If they’re flouting the law on cutting skin, it’s a good bet they’re not compliant with other rules either. At the very least, they need to learn to cut better!

  2. August says:

    The last time I went to a nail salon, the lady didn’t get a new paper towel. It was gross! And both times I went to one, my skin got nicked when they were cutting my cuticles. No blood was drawn, though. And your teacher kinda reminds me of my drawing teacher. My highschool is a magnet school for the arts, so you would think that they would encourage doing things your own way. But my teacher wanted us to use the same techniques and same way of aproaching things. Hopefully I don’t get him again.

    Anyway, your gel nails are cute! I love the middle 3.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Eew! Watch the cuticle cutting for sure, and any place that doesn’t use fresh towels is probably a bit icky. Yes, Japan is the land of imitation. I do think it has its place, but it can be frustrating. I think my teacher also figures I’m difficult since I don’t want to just copy everything. I’ll chalk it up to cultural differences. And glad you liked the nails! 🙂

  3. Lucy says:

    Your nails are just lovely. Do they make you do the nail over if it’s not right? I haven’t had a manicure for many years. I prefer to do my own. I don’t need anyone else’s fungus!

    • beachgal says:

      I am really picky about what the practices are out there that I have seen – only a shake off of a previously used paper towel.No sterilization of any of the files…usually they only use disposable ones but they re-use and re-use. I only use at home glass files. I am also super cheap about paying for service that I can do at home and have a zillion and one polishes I love. I still have a gift certificate sitting here for 2 yrs for a ‘chop shop’ place that came into my town that I don’t hear good things about at all. The lady that cuts my hair does lousy nail work and her polish selection is pitiful. it’s all I can do to keep up with the huge charge a good hair cut has gone up to now days. When did the bare min come up to $45?

      • nevertoomuchglitter says:

        Ouch! That’s a lot for a cut. Give your “chop shop” certificate to someone you reeaaally don’t like, cause at the very least they’ll probably walk out with damage to their natural nails. I know lots of places use drills and sanding bits, but ouch. It just doesn’t seem like it should be done.

        And I bet you can do your own nails better than a lot of those sketchy salons! And you won’t bring home any extra “souvenirs.”

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Thanks Lucy! I agree with you about the fungus. Sharing is good. But not if it’s gray/green and fuzzy.

      And yup, it has to be done over and over until it’s a virtual duplicate.

  4. beachgal says:

    Natural talent I would say. I love the roses! Even if I did take classes, I think I would flunk this part!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Aw, thank you! Mostly it’s just practice, practice, practice. I did get a little frustrated today but I’m going to try and do my own practice in my spare time. That way I can get as crazy as I want!

  5. Glad you survived your one and only Japanese salon experience! Reading that made me cringe! Also interesting about mastering imitation before being “allowed” to stray… I’m really enjoying reading about your class 🙂

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Yeah, it goes to show that price does not always equal quality! Glad you’re enjoying my nail art adventures too- thanks very much!

  6. Ariane says:

    Unfortunately, when doing my researches to take a nailist class here in Montreal, Canada, I found out that many schools teach their students to cut the cuticles. Salon Rouge, which is a huge nailist school/”hip” salon with a few branches in Montreal, is one of them.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Yaaugh! I’m not sure if that’s legal in Quebec. Although cuticles need to be managed before a lot of nail services, but there needs to be much better training and stricter rules for managing how to manage cutting and sterilization. Nobody should be drawing blood in a salon.

  7. Ariane says:

    Oh and I had a nail salon experience in Tokyo that was very good. I was the only client in the place at the moment so I’m not sure if the employee washed all her instruments, but I’m pretty sure I saw sterelizers behind her.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Phew! That’s good! Glad you didn’t leave the salon wondering if your nails were going to fall off, like I did. Then again, I can freely admit I have a very active imagination!

  8. I really don’t think bringing your own implements is a good idea in my opinion. I know at least in the US- if you avoid the shady places and do some research- there are A LOT of clean places that don’t cut skin and sanitize their implements.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      That’s true- research is important! A lot of people I know do bring their own implements just for peace of mind. But finding a good hygenic salon is probably the best way to go for sure!

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