Saturday, August 29, 2020


 Well guys, I just got an email from the State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology here in California that read in a sing-songy sort of manner that they're so excited to let us know that salons will be able to reopen as of August 31st....


Not us! 

Nope. Tulare County remains in "Tier 1" which basically means people keep getting sick and dying in our county at a higher rate than other counties so nail salons can still only continue to operate outdoors.'s late summer now. You can kinda smell fall creeping in around the edges. Pumpkin Spice is back at Starbucks (All hail the pumpkin spice gods! ...yes, I'm a founding member of that cult, thank you,) the June bugs are long since gone, and the evenings are cooling off enough to be downright pleasant.

It would be entirely feasible to wheel the nail desk out onto the sidewalk after about 6 PM these days. Except for the lacewings-- those things are still a nuisance.

Except now we have the additonal issue of smoke from the entire state being on fire! 

And I'm still unclear on the City's tolerance for salon services being done outdoors on City property? I don't see any other nail techs in town out on the streets. 

The hard truth of the matter is that, for the time being, I have, once again, stepped away from the salon business. 

It was a rough decision that was made after too many sleepless nights worrying about the financial impact of the continued closure, too many frustrating internet searches trying to stay up to date with whether or not we'd be able to reopen, too many concerns about the rising numbers of serious cases of COVID-19 in the county and access to information about how those cases affected local hospitals. 

It was a rough decision that came upon discovering that I am facing some unexpected health concerns that put me in a far higher risk category than I'd suspected.

It was a rough decision that came after heartbreaking evidence that people in my community would rather risk my life than take simple precautions against spreading disease. 

I mean...really

But then, many of you have heard me say for years that the real reason so many people want a zombie apocalypse is that-- deep down-- we really just want to kill our neighbors. I just didn't realize how spot on I was! 

Anyway...I thought I'd just go ahead and slip in a little of that old sarcastic, pot-stirring Maggie I'm famous for. I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone. 😏

Once again, the Art of Nailz site will continue to exist and with luck, I'll be updating it soon with good news and glitter. 

Until then-- stay safe. Don't kill your neighbors. Don't let your neighbors kill you. Be kind. 

And don't get too good at doing your own nails! 

On Working Outside

Let me tell you a story:

I think it was the summer of 2005. I had my own salon in a retail pad-- you might remember, when I was behind the donut shop?
It was July and we were having a record heatwave-- 30+ days in triple digits.

My air conditioning went out in the salon.

Anyone remember that?

Mom was working with me back then and she spent that month making multiple trips back and forth to the neighboring 7-11 to buy bags of ice. 

Which I was using to keep my nail products cool in an ice chest beside my nail desk. 

Every nail I did that month looked like utter crap. Because acrylic cures faster when warm. 

I had to buy different product, a "summer" liquid that's designed to set slower in warmer temperatures. 

It was still setting faster than I could work with it-- and I work fast. 

I did a lot of filing, and I had a lot of lifting-- because the faster acrylic sets, the less time it has to properly bond to the nail plate. (That's the super quick and easy explanation.)

The other problem I faced, was that nearly all salon products need to be stored at temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Once my primers and my monomers get hot-- they're dead. Heat breaks them down and renders them ineffective. 

Solvents evaporate faster, leaving products half-cured and useless in their bottles.

Oh, and let's not forget a discussion on sunlight

Our UV-cured products-- all these fancy gel polishes, hard and soft gels (whatever that even means these days, but don't get me started on that) and, to some extent, our prized protein bonders-- they take heat a little better. 

They still can't be stored at higher temperatures, but they're still reasonably easy to work with in warmer temps. What they can't handle-- is sunlight. Because the "UV" in "UV-cured" stands for "ultra-violet" and ultra violet light is something the sun doles out in far greater quantities than my gel lamp. 

I once worked in a salon where I sat directly in front of a south-facing window-- I lost a lot of gel brushes to that window and a couple pots of gel, just from the sunlight pouring in through the blinds.

Now imagine actually working outside.

Plus-- bugs. I already do most of my services after 5 PM and in the summer heat of the Central Valley, I think we can all agree that sunset appointments would be preferred. But that's when the bugs come out and bugs love UV light. 

Can you imagine?

Yeah, me either. Doing nails outside isn't a viable solution to the issue of reopening the salon. And that's assuming the City of Visalia, the landlord, and the various insurance companies involved with determining liability all agree to let nail techs move their desks outside.

Oh yes, let's not forget the fire codes that abhor an extension cord!

So even though the state may be letting us work outdoors-- the state isn't the one that has to actually do nails outdoors. 

I'm sorry to say, it's not going to happen.