by Cheryl Ogden
Everybody loves a bit of nail art, a bit of individual detail that makes you stand out, a bit of colour and sparkle.
However, not everyone has the time to sit in a nail salon for a couple of hours getting that acrylic delicately applied then extra time for 3d work to be applied. With the rise of gel polish and the speed of the treatment clients may have the time for gel polish and some extra art. Nail art as we know is not always easy and is very time consuming, many nail technicians have told me they can not do art! With the introduction of stamping plates and stamping you can achieve some excellent results in a minimal time. Achieving a design which leave the clients amazed and wanting more.
The answer to this is stamping.
Nail stamping was invented in 2002 by Dae-Tong Choi, president of Konad Company headquartered in South Korea, in response to these very problems. Speed, accuracy and fine detail are what is required and stamping is the answer. Before the revolutionary introduction of nail stamping, consumers had to rely on more traditional methods—such as freehand—to produce quality nail art. With freehand, inconsistent results were often a problem. Since the technique requires a steady hand to paint a near-perfect image, the quality of the design depends on how talented the nail artist is.
Airbrushing is another technique to generate nail art but it has its own disadvantages. It is advertised as quick and easy and with skill, it is. However, if you do not have a double action airgun and the product is left to dry in the gun it can take hours to clean. This is not good if you wish to use it on your next client and all your gun can do is spit product not neatly spray. Although you can blend product with an airbrush this also can be time consuming and messy, most technicians prefer to spray solid colour through a stencil for quick results.
Put simply with nail stamping you have a metal image plate with a variety of designs, you put nail stamping polish onto this plate quickly scrape the polish in the direction of the design, then you transfer the designs from the plate with the stamper to the nails. Simple!
This technique gives fine, delicate, and detailed designs which is very hard to replicate with hand painting. With nail stamping, you can design your nails for any occasion or just for fun and at your disposal, you can buy hundreds of image plates with thousands of different designs to choose from.
There are many brands and retailers of stamping supplies. In most cases, nail stamping systems come in a set or kit which contains all the tools you will need to successfully apply an adorable nail manicure using this technique.
There are a few pointers that I have picked up over the years to make stamping a little easier.
Firstly, pay attention to the length of the nails before you use any plate and match the length of the nail to the plate. This may sound odd, however if you have done your client some very long extensions and you wish to do a full stamp design you may be limited with designs. For best results try to use stamping polish, though you can use any polish for stamping, I have always had the best results achieved easily when I use polishes specifically formulated for stamping. Stamping polish is highly pigmented giving outstanding results, some polishes can be translucent and may not show on the nails, you need to ensure you use opaque polish. When you are stamping natural nails, you need to be very fast, as your design is detailed you are using the polish sparingly it will dry quicker. However stamping polishes are formulated to dry much slower, once you have scraped the product through your design you need to work fast. Stamping polish is easier within your designs also if you make a mistake with stamping polish you can easily remove it with stamping polish cleaner, you may even with to partially remove some of the design to add a simple freehand scroll to enhance the design further. I do this when doing vintage design for my clients. Once you have finished with your stamping you simply need a lint roller to remove the design from the stamp, clean the stamping plate with stamping plate cleaner to ensure you have your plate for many years. Stamping plates can easily be damaged with the wrong cleaners being constantly applied which are harsh, also avoid scrapers with metal blades. These types of scrapers can ruin your metal plates through scratching.
The most critical element during stamping is speed. You have to do the entire image stamping process very quickly to ensure that the polish does not dry which will lead to the image not properly transferring to your nails. Even though you are using stamping polish which dries relatively slowly, speed is still important.
The beauty of nail stamping kits are that they are not necessarily a salon only product, but they are very much a demonstration product. Unless the customer is shown how to use the products they are unlikely to buy them in a retail shop. A clever nail tech will charge to apply a stamp a few times and then sell a stamping kit to the client so that they can do it themselves at home as often as they like, some even like to change the stamp colour and design daily! Making sure that they return every few weeks for a gel base coat.
With the vast array of designs available, they reach almost every female demographic, from teenagers to grandparents. The French design is most popular among the younger set (high school students to women in their thirties and forties), but all age groups gravitate toward the florals and butterflies.
New image plates are introduced on a regular basis to keep up with the trends, as well as encourage repeat buying. Licensed images, such as movie characters, cartoons and people are a recent development being incorporated into nail art.