Salons are saying they can’t hire manicurists fast enough to keep up with demand for their services. Julie Kandalec, a manicurist and nail artist in New York, has designed nails on magazine covers, the Red Carpet and the runway. Kandalec offers these “what I wish I had known in beauty school” tips:

Nail Pointers: What I Wish I Had Known in Beauty School

  •  “People come out of cosmetology school either loving or hating doing nails and I think if you hate it, it’s because you weren’t given the best tools or products to use and your work suffered. I suggest you learn how to physically do the manicure and then go home and invest a little into your own tools and product.  It’s like when you learn how to drive in a Ford Focus but then you get a chance to drive a Cadillac and you think, “Wow, this handles so much better.”
  • “I wish I took pictures of my first set of pink and white nails I sculpted on myself. They took five hours. I would have loved to look back and see how far I have come.”




  • “Establish clear guidelines about your services and pricing. If you start off by going to someone’s home or offering a discount, they will always expect it.”
  • “Always do your own nails. I can’t say how many jobs I have gotten because people loved my own nails.”
  • “Practice, practice, practice with tools and products you love and are confident using.”
  • “In cosmetology school, they will only teach what you need to pass your test so invest in higher education training. Learn how to do gel nails, especially—everyone is going to gels.Become familiar with different systems and brands. 
  • “Take business classes because if you booth rent you are self-employed.”

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