Monday, September 28, 2015

The Future of Manic Talons

I know this is just North America...I didn't have a full world image ;)

Hello Loves.  I have something weighing heavy on my mind right now.  As you know, I recently made the change from a DIY Nail Hobbyist to a Professional Nail Technician.  I'm now embarking on a journey that is a complete 180 for me in terms of my career.  You were right here with me throughout my nail school journey.  You helped me through some low times.  You picked me up when I was down.  You supported me both emotionally and financially to help me reach this goal.  Now that I am here, there is something else for me to consider.  So I have been doing a lot of thinking...a ton of thinking...about the direction of this blog going forward.

I started with the goal of providing honest reviews and color accurate gel polish swatches.  Over the past two years, this blog has changed a little as I incorporated different product types, but one thing has remained the same:  Manic Talons has always been primarily DIY themed.  Sure, I have both Pro and DIY readers.  I review a few Pro products that are nearly impossible for DIYers to find, but most of the products I show are easily obtainable.

One thing I have learned as I have joined forums for professional nail techs is this:  a vast majority of professionals are not supporters of DIY.  They believe that pro products should not be available to non-professional users.  They see DIYers as clients that got away.  These are the tools of our trade.  They are the products that set us part and make us money.  In a perfect world, these products would only be available to licensed professionals.  But this is not a perfect world.  As you know, the internet is the DIYer's best friend.  As a DIYer, you have access to products that you couldn't get at the store down the street.

The industry is changing and that is a fact.  Change is Inevitable!  Services that once were available only in the salon can be done at home for those who choose to pursue that route.  I also understand that DIYers are not lost clients.  The vast majority of DIYers do their own nails for artistic reasons, for the control, for the ability to change colors more frequently, for...heck, a million reasons.  There is a split in the industry:  those who frequent salons and those who don't.  I also accept that those who do not frequent salons are not likely to start.  You have taught me that. ;)

So, let's cut through the bull and get real for a second.  Thing is, I completely disagree that the products are what set Professionals apart from DIYers.  A Professional Nail Tech has specialized training.  We have spent countless hours perfecting our craft.  We learn about sanitation, proper procedures, nail anatomy and health.  The products we use are not what set us apart!  We set ourselves apart!  Our knowledge sets us apart.  We are the doctors of the industry (a comparison I use loosely, by the way).  We shouldn't expect our clients to come to us every time they need a coat of lacquer just as a doctor doesn't expect to see a patient every time she has the common cold.  We are here for more advanced services.  A basic manicure isn't about a coat of polish.  It is about cuticle work, nail shaping, overall nail health and that luxurious massage.  It's about pampering and relaxation.  The tools of our trade help us, but they are NOT the key to our success. 

So, now I'm a pro.  What does this mean for Manic Talons?  Should I become a pro only blog?  That would be the most rational answer based on the popular opinion of my new peers.  Or should I continue blogging as I have for the past few years?  Not so popular with my new peers, but this would stay true to those of you who supported me throughout my journey so far.  What of my new clients?  Will it hurt my business to have my tips and secrets out here on the web for them to read?  So many things to consider.  After months of consideration, I have decided how I will proceed with

As I'm preparing to start my new job at Artistic Expressions Hair Salon, we have decided that my business cards will include my blog URL.  I want my clients to be able to learn more about who I am and where I came from.  It is my firm belief that the best service I can provide to my clients is education.  I accept that they will do some things on their own.  Home care is a HUGE part of any salon service.  If my clients want to embark on a DIY journey, I will be here to guide them.  This is not a popular choice, I know.  But I have to stay true to who I am.

So what DOES this mean for  Not much.  I will continue to review both DIY and Professional products.  I will continue to share my thoughts and share my art.  There will be a few minor changes, though.  First, I am going to replace my Monday Nail School Update with a Client Nails series.  Yea for hands that are not my own!  With each photo I share, I'll include the polishes and products used.  There will also be a client nail gallery added to the top menu.  The other change has more of an impact on you, my readers.  In the past, I have linked to products on Amazon when I can.  I will continue to do this for products geared toward DIYers (Bundle Monster, for example).  For pro products, I will link to the official company pages.  Y'all are internet savvy.  You can find them on your own if you want to purchase.  Of course, some of them will be difficult to find (Akzentz, for example) and I apologize for that.  But being pro opens new doors for product reviews and I do have a number of professional nail techs that follow this blog and appreciate those reviews.

So, there you have it.  There will be some minor changes going forward, but Manic Talons will continue serving both DIYers and Professionals as I have for several years now.  After all, it is important to remember where you came from!

I'll be back on schedule with posting soon and I have some fun things to show you.  I hope to "see you around" for many more years to come.  As always, I am happy to answer any questions you might have about products or nail care.  You can reach me easily via my facebook page or by email at

Oh, and because I'm sure you're curious...I am responsible for choosing and supplying my products at Artistic Expressions Hair Salon.  As you can imagine, deciding which lines to carry was extremely difficult!  I have sampled and reviewed so many of them!'s what I will be carrying for now.  I may add others in the future, but these are my startup lines and some of my personal favorites:

Polish:  Cuccio Colour and KBShimmer
Gel Polish:  Cuccio Colour Veneer, Pink Gellac and Madam Glam
Art Paints:  Wildflowers Nail Art Paints and Akzentz Gel Play 
Hard Gel:  Cuccio T3
Skin and Nail Care:  Cuccio Naturale (Milk and Honey line)
(plus a variety of nail art supplies...stamping, crystals, etc...from various sources)


*All links within this post are courtesy links and do not benefit


  1. Good luck starting your professional journey! I think you are spot on in your assessment and glad you will continue blogging.

  2. Spot on Michelle. Yes some won't like your decision (that was inevitable), but it wasn't their journey or decision. Congratulations, and all the very best in your new career. Woop! Woop!

  3. I wish you every success in your new career. As far as the blog, it is yours, not others - the direction it continues is your decision.
    I wish my sister lived where she could provide herself with your service. She truly loves to go to salons for manicures. I, on the other hand, can count on one hand how many times I have been in one. To her, it is a pampering, relaxing experience. To me, it is the next best thing to torture. I hate everything about it, starting with someone else handling my hands. I am tense throughout the entire ordeal. The massage makes me grit my teeth. I don't know why my sister can enjoy them so much and i abhor the thought. She even enjoys body massages!
    I am relating this to verify your thoughts. Some, or maybe most?, nail hobbyists just will not provide custom to a salon. But then, most of my manis nowadays are one color. In my mid-60s, I find myself enjoying that simplicity. I still love to see the nail art and other nail work others do, though.

  4. Yes, yes, and yes. I do my nails because it's fun to let out MY creative side. And I would hardly have the time away from my kids or the money to do it any other way. Those who don't like it should probably think back to what got them into the industry to begin with. Like you, some of those DIY people are the future of the industry and will come in with a ton of talent as a result of their years of practice prior to school. Those that don't spark a desire in others to go get their nails done. ;) I'm excited to hear about all you learn going forward.

  5. Bravo, a free thinker. So glad you are going to continue on for us.
    I became a DIY for several reasons; ability to make a repair, while traveling being able to repair or change color and sit in my pajamas, watch Housewives and do my nails.

    I have a pedicure every month and my hair colored every 3 weeks so DIY do need salons.
    Thanks for sharing your thought process with us.

  6. I'm gonna say it's bull if no one wants professional products reviewed/available on the web. How else will clients know they are even out there? And they tend to be more expensive, so I'm sure not many DIY people are willing to buy a full kit to try it out on themselves. Even things like non-professional soak off gels are a big investment for a DIYer. Someone will always be willing to sell things whether the buyer is a pro or not, so you either have an open market where the maker is getting the profit, or a closed one where the "black market" seller will get the profit. Not to mention people selling counterfeit products to fill a demand that the pro market isn't, which can harm the legit maker's reputation as well. Also, I'm sure the DIY market isn't a big a loss as some pros think. How many people have the time to perfect sculpting nails, freehand art, etc? I still meet people who are amazed I can paint my nails without getting it all over my hands lol. And whenever people want me to do their nails, for cheap or "free" (free for them obviously, since I paid for the product they want me to give away), I tell them I'm not a pro and to go to a salon. I think non-licensed "techs" might be the real concern of professionals. But that's why most states have laws about being licensed to charge for nail services. Wow, this sounds rambling, but I'm not done with my first cup of coffee yet haha. Glad you're keeping the blog accessible for non-pros, I don't do gels much since I change colors so often, but I love the art you do, even if I'm still really bad at trying to recreate it for myself with regular polish ;)

  7. I was worried for a moment because I only read your blog & chickettes, I thought you might be considering closing your blog. Glad to hear your plan to keep it going! Love your product reviews & I can't afford the salon with two kids & a brand new mortgage so I really appreciate your reviews & swatches. However, I feel there are a handful of diyers & most people I know are not patient enough to do there nails at home, especially investing in a lamp, various gel polishes & tools. I don't think you will be losing clientele, so many of my friends ask my about my nails & makeup & I say Youtube or blogs & one friend said - you can't trust Youtube. I am thinking of going to the salon to do my pedi's because they are so hard to do on yourself, massages are great & the salon last longer in my opinion. Wise decision!!!

  8. Thank you for acknowledging that it's a pro's skill set that sets them apart from a diy-er. I'm a diy-er, and it drives me crazy to see the pros hoard products, claiming they're the secret to their success/trade, on chat rooms -- why would these people diminish their own contribution to a salon process? As a diy-er, I am well aware that my manis are subpar, but I enjoy the artsy-fartsy part of it!

  9. Yea! I'm glad you are going to be still here. I am a DIYer but I also go to the salon because I love the folks there. I get my pedis there and once every few months my nails just need a professional touch because I am not a professional. Congrats on everything!!! Go out and conquer!

  10. I got nervous at first when I saw the title of this post - whew! Thank goodness manictalons is here to stay - I follow you like a shadow and couldn't/wouldn't even be a DIYer (ever-improving) without your blog and chickettes. I really appreciate how you broke the decision-making process down for us too, definitely a lot to consider. Thanks for being true to yourself and for being there for us Michelle!

  11. Amen! There is no way that reading a gel nails blog is going to lead virtually any clients away from a salon. Many ladies choose that service because they don't want to mess with these things, don't want to have to develop the skills to do this at a professional level. The rest of us who DIY likewise enjoy the learning and the processes with doing nails at home. Good for you sticking to your guns and understanding both worlds so well!

  12. Ohhhh, thank you so very much for no deserting us DIYers. Life would not be the same without your blog! It seems you CAN have it both ways, lol. Thanks again for staying with us! Bless you! Lynette

  13. As someone who is DIY I have been using professional products from the get go. Akzentz was the first hard gel I purchased and Young Nails my first acrylics. I strayed to the easier to get products over the years and now that I can afford better stuff I am back with Akzentz and YN. Now if someone had been able to do the nail art I wanted 4 years ago and not charge me an arm and a leg I would have stuck to the salon. They also tended to damage my nails in removal. Now I would know what to look for in a salon and I dont think that would be an issue. There will always be people who cant or wont do their own nails and there will always be people like myself that enjoy doing their own. I am still considering getting my license because I have too many ideas in my head for my 10 digits lol

    I would like to know why you chose Cuccio over Akzentz for your hard gel. Did you ever try the Options sog for building a nail?

    1. I haven't tried options, but I have tried the Proformance line. Very nice gels and I considered those. I decided to go with Cuccio because it is my main line and I want to be able to offer a full experience from start to finish within the same brand. I might offer a soak off builder at some point, but right now it looks like gel polish will be my most popular service. :)

    2. I haven't tried options, but I have tried the Proformance line. Very nice gels and I considered those. I decided to go with Cuccio because it is my main line and I want to be able to offer a full experience from start to finish within the same brand. I might offer a soak off builder at some point, but right now it looks like gel polish will be my most popular service. :)

  14. I couldn't agree with you more with everything you wrote. It's bloggers like you who helped me become EDUCATED in the art of nails as a DIYer. Pro's have not lost my patronage because I was and would never be able to afford the upkeep of nails in a salon. And even if I could I probably wouldn't for the pure and simple fact that I love learning new things. Congratulations on your new career and Thank You from all the DIYer's out there that will continue to learn from your vast knowledge.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...