Applying Nail Jewelry
Offering clients this simple service
makes financial good sense.

One of the nicest things about selling and working with nail jewelry is that the start up cost is
relatively low. While you may want to stock some inexpensive silver or gold-plated nail charms
for impulse buys, most nail charms are special orders for individual clients. Wholesale prices
for 14-Karat Gold charms start at $30, and most cost under $50. With a suggested markup at
50% to 100%, it is clear nail techs can make substantial profits from selling nail charms.

The only tools you will need are a combo tool, which has a manual drill on one end and a nut
tightener on the other, tweezers, jeweler's pliers, which have no teeth, and a post cutter to cut
off the excess post.

Once your client has selected and purchased her charm, it is time to sit down with your
implements and prepare the nail. Whether she wears wraps, acrylics or natural nails, proceed
with your manicure as usual. Then, when you finish filing and buffing, and before you send your
client to wash her hands, figure out where to place the charm.

There are two reasons to decide on charm placement at this point in the manicure. First, you
don't want to touch the nails after the client has washed her hands and risk getting oils on the nails
that could affect polish adherence. Second, you want to avoid moving the charm around once you
apply polish.

To determine the best position for the charm you will need to consider the post placement on
posted charms, the contour of the nail, the shape of the charm (you want the charm to fit flush
against the nail) and the finger the client prefers.

Most nail charms are pre-curved. This means you should have relatively little bending to do to
make the charm conform properly. If the client has a particularly high arch or if the nails are more
curved from side to side than usual, you may have to use a pair of jeweler's pliers to bend the
charm so that it will conform to the shape of the nail. Don't use regular pliers - they have teeth that
will mark the charm. You will want to be especially careful if the charm has inset jewels. All types
of metal bend fairly easily, but there is a limit without risking loosening of the stones.

Now you are ready to actually apply the charm. Posted nail charms can be applied to either wet
or dry polish. Some technicians prefer to apply them while the polish is still wet because the wet
polish helps seal the charm. In either case, drill the hole for the post before polishing the nail.

Turn the nail over and place the charm beside it to line up where the hole should go. Place the
drill tip at that point and rotate the drill until it penetrates the nail. Smooth any roughness around
the hole and polish the nail.

Put the post of the charm through the hole in the nail and apply the first nut with your combo tool.
Adding a second nut will "lock" the charm in place. After you have applied the two nuts remove
any excess post with the post cutter. Because the charm is held on by the post, it isn't necessary
to apply top coat over the charm, but some techs do because they feel it gives assurance that the
charm won't catch on nylons, hair, etc.

Polish secure charms are even easier to apply. After figuring out where to position the charm,
apply polish, pick up the nail charm with tweezers and gently press the charm onto the polished
nail. Apply one or more coats of top coat. It is a good idea to encourage clients to reapply top
coat over the charm in between appointments.

Gold Nails. These charms are formed to cover the entire nail. It is recommended that any nail
enhancement be removed before applying a gold nail so that the contour of the gold nail conforms
to the normal nail plate.

The gold nail is attached with a contact cement-type adhesive especially formulated for this
purpose. Manufacturers recommend letting it dry 10 to 15 minutes on both nail surfaces before
applying the gold nail. If you plan wisely, this doesn't mean that the service has to take any longer
than normal. You can apply the adhesive before you begin polishing the other nails. By the time
you have applied the polish the adhesive will be dry enough and you can apply the gold nail and
send the client on her way.
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