Nails Ch 1 – History and Career Opportunities

Identify at least three different ways that nails were colored in ancient times.

Answer: Answers may vary, but should include three of the following:

  • Prior to major battles, Ancient Babylonian warriors manicured their nails and darkened them with kohl.
  • In Ancient Egypt, Queen Cleopatra (circa 50 bc) used henna to stain her nails a rust-red hue.
  • In Ancient China, during the Shang Dynasty (1600 bc), Chinese aristocrats rubbed a tinted mixture of gum Arabic, gelatin, beeswax, and egg whites onto their nails to turn them crimson or ebony.
  • Ancient Greek mistresses of wealthy patrons used yellow flower petals, pollen, and potassium salt to create a pale nail color.
  • Ancient Romans used lac or sheep blood dipped in fat.
  • Ancient Incan tribespeople used natural dyes to decorate their nails.
  • Tinted oils were used in Victorian times to give the nail bed a rosy hue.

What resources did Chinese aristocrats use to create crimson or ebony colors?

Answer: Chinese aristocrats rubbed a tinted mixture of gum Arabic, gelatin, beeswax, and egg whites onto their nails to turn them crimson or ebony.

When was the first nail salon opened in the United States?

Answer: Mary E. Cobb, a nail technician and entrepreneur, opened the first nail salon in 1878, in New York City.

Describe the moon manicure. When was it popular?

Answer: The moon manicure involves painting the center of the nail and leaving the lunula and nail tip unpainted. It became popular in the 1920s and evolved in the 1930s to shaping the nails into sharp points.  The moon manicure endured throughout the 1940s.

When did the first modern nail polish become available to nail technicians? Why was it considered a technological breakthrough?

Answer: In  the 1930s, Michelle Menard partnered with Charles Revson (the founder of Revlon) to develop the first modern nail polish using pigments rather than dyes.

Name the first nail wrap. When was it introduced? Why was it significant?

Answer: Juliette Marglens introduced the Juliette nail wrap in the 1950s for strength and durability.

When were the first monomer liquid and polymer powder nail formulations introduced to nail technicians?

Answer: Although Acrylic nails were invented in the 1950s by Dr. Fred Slack, monomer liquid and polymer powder nail services (also known as acrylic nails) became available to salons in the 1970s.

Describe why there was a shortage of nail technicians in the early twenty-first century.

Answer: The demand for nail services rose sharply in the early 2000s, temporarily causing a shortage of nail technicians to meet the demand for services.

Identify the two most popular services performed by nail technicians.

Answer: While the manicure remains the top draw for nail services, the pedicure is a very close second. This is because of a greater importance being placed on foot grooming, the wide availability of pedicure services, and their affordability.

Identify the newest services offered by nail technicians.

Answer: The gel manicure, acrylic dip powder, and nail stamping have been added to many nail service menus over the past few years.

Which services are the most popular add-ons?

Answer: The most popular add-on services have become hand painting and nail-stamping art. These have been up and coming on Social Media platforms.

Which service is once again gaining in popularity?

Answer: Acrylic dip powder has experienced a resurgence in popularity. This is partly due to its strength—greater than a gel manicure—and because it can be used to create nail art.

List the different services performed by full-service nail technicians in a traditional salon or spa.

Answer: Full-service nail technicians can do manicures, pedicures, natural nail enhancements—such as gel manicures or nail wraps—and artificial nail enhancements, such as traditional gel nail enhancements or monomer liquid and polymer powder enhancements.

Name and describe at least three educator opportunities for nail technicians.

Answer: Educator opportunities include, but are not limited to, salon, independent, and manufacturer education as well as beauty school instructor.

Identify and describe management opportunities offered by many salons.

Answer: For those who want to become more involved with the business side of nail services, management opportunities include inventory manager, retail sales manager, department head, assistant manager, and general manager. With enough hands-on experience and business education, becoming a salon owner is an achievable goal.

List the qualities you will need in order to succeed as a film/editorial nail technician.

Answer: The qualities required to become a successful film/editorial nail technician include technical expertise, persistence, networking skills, reliability, team spirit, speed, and attention to detail.