a z compendium terms

a - ad
the NAILS encyclopedia
compendium OF
nail industry terms
a z
a - ad
polish remover (except non-acetone types) and
used to soak off acrylic nails
a la carte adj. offering salon services as
standalone services; for example, a salon might
charge one price for an acrylic, but charge for
broken nails separately, or “a la carte”
acrylates n. family of monomers used in
light-curing gel products
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ABBIES n. an awards program originally
developed by the American Beauty Association
(which was merged into the Professional Beauty
Association in 2004) to honor the marketing
and advertising efforts of professional beauty
product manufacturers
abrasive n. a material
used to roughen, shape,
polish, or remove the surface
of artificial and natural
nails; or one component of
a file (the abrasive material
is affixed to a core, which is
usually affixed to a cushion
or center)
acrylic n. any of a group of clear, synthetic
resins used to make plastics, paints, etc. [see
also acrylic nails] [see page 75]
acrylic dip powder n. a nail salon service that
entails an application of adhesive (usually
cyanoacrylate) to the natural nail or to an applied
tip, then dipping the still-wet
nail into an acrylic powder
(polymer); the process is
usually repeated two or three
times to build up a strong
artificial nail, which is then
filed or buffed into shape and
shined [see page 77]
acrylic nails
acrylic nails
enhancements (or artificial
nails) made by combining a
ABS plastic n. a co-polymer
(monomer) with a powdered
(of acrylonitrile-butadieneIn 1934, Maxwell Lappe, a dentist in Chicago,
acrylic product (polymer);
styrene monomers) from
created Nu Nails, an artificial fingernail for nail
the two products form a
which most artificial nail
biters. In the early days of acrylic
enhancements (late 1970s), most of what was
soft ball that can easily be
tips are made
available was coming out of dentists’ offices.
molded into a nail shape
The nails were thick and decidedly fake
that adheres very well to
accelerator n. a substance
looking. Over the years, chemists have
the natural nail or a tip;
added or applied to an
developed new technologies so that today, nail
once applied, the acrylic
adhesive/coating to promote,
and more natural-looking.
hardens into a strong
speed, or control the
artificial nail that can be
curing (hardening) process;
different from catalysts in that accelerators take filed or buffed to a high shine [see inset this page]
part in the chemical reaction
activator n. a chemical used to accelerate a
accreditation n. recognition by an accrediting reaction or increase chemical activity in
organization or agency that a school meets another material
certain acceptable standards in its education
programs, services, and facilities; regional acute effects n. adverse health effects caused by
accreditation usually applies to a school as a sudden or short-term exposure
whole; accreditation of specific types of
schools, such as trade and technical schools, acute exposure n. single or multiple exposures
may also be determined by a national occurring within 24 hours or less
organization (NACCAS is an organization that
accredits cosmetology schools)
add-on services n. services that are added onto
service packages to enhance clients’ enjoyment or
acetone n. a volatile, fragrant, flammable to increase the profitability of the service; paraffin
liquid used chiefly as a solvent, often found in dips and nail art are examples of add-on services
ad - an
adhesive n. a chemical substance capable of
holding together two surfaces; the most common
adhesive in the nail industry is cyanoacrylate
adipose n. a fatty tissue that is part of the
subcutaneous tissue
(AEFM) Association of Electric File
Manufacturers n. a non-profit organization
of professional electric file manufacturers who
are dedicated to ensuring that quality education
is available for users and potential users of
electric files; the organization also advises state
boards on curriculum related to safe electric file
use and has developed
training protocols
allergen n. a substance capable of producing
an exaggerated or adverse reaction such as
sneezing, coughing, rash, or irritation in
sensitive individuals
aloe vera n. any of a variety of plants of the
genus aloe, mostly native to southern Africa,
bearing fleshy spiny-toothed leaves and red or
yellow flowers; used to soothe and moisturize
burns and skin irritations [see inset this page]
alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) n. acid extracts
from natural or synthetic sources that
chemically exfoliate the top layer of skin; there
are five types: citric acid,
tartaric acid, malic acid,
lactic acid, and glycolic
acid; also known as fruit
age spots n. also known
as liver or brown spots,
concentrations of melanin
triggered by unprotected
exposure to the sun over a
long period of time
amino acids n. the building blocks of proteins; only
about 20 amino acids are
used to build the thousands
of kinds of proteins needed
by living cells
agnails n. also known as
hangnails, is a common
condition in which the cuticle
around the nail splits
There are more than 240 different species of
angular brush n. a nail art
brush with an angled head
used to create intricate
designs, bristles are cut at
a 45° angle for control when
drawing a slant
aloe, growing mainly in the dry regions of
air purification n. to
Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. Although
remove impurities from the
aloe vera is a member of the lily family, it is quite
air; two common methods
cactus-like in its characteristics. The aloe leaf
contains more than 75 nutrients and 200 active
are High Efficiency Partcompounds, including 20 minerals, 18 amino
antibacterial adj. of or
iculate Arresting (HEPA) or
acids, and 12 vitamins.
relating to a substance that
electrostatic air filters to
clean the air; HEPA units
counteracts or kills bacteria
effectively remove 99.97% of all pollen, dust,
mold spores, dust mites, bacteria, and animal antifungal adj. of or relating to a substance
or bird dander that pass though the filter; that inhibits the growth of fungi [see page 79]
electrostatic filtration cleans the air with
charged plates and saves the cost of anti-inflammatory adj. something that
replacement filters but requires that the plates decreases inflammation or swelling
be washed
adj. of or relating to a
airbrush v. spraying liquids, as paint, on a substance that controls the growth or spread
surface using an atomizer powered by of microorganisms
compressed air; nail artists use the
airbrushing technique to design on nails or antioxidant n. a substance, such as vitamin
E, vitamin C, or beta carotene, thought to
create custom colors
protect body cells from the damaging effects
of oxidation
alkaline adj. having a pH greater than 7
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aloe vera
an - bb
antiseptic n. a substance used to destroy
bacteria, fungus, and viruses on human skin;
antiseptics will not disinfect or sterilize nail care
instruments such as nippers and scissors
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apprenticeship n. a training method whereby
the trainee learns while working with a
professional already licensed in nail care; not
all states allow nail technicians to earn their
training via an apprenticeship program; some
states allow a combination of school training
and in-salon training [see page 52 for a guide
to the educational requirements of each state
and a listing of the states that have apprentice
arnica n. extracts from
the flowers of this plant
are used to heal wounds
and soothe irritated skin
azulene n. an anti-inflammatory extracted
from chamomile and yarrow flowers
aromatherapy n. the use
of aroma, usually with a
preparation of fragrant
essential oils extracted
from herbs, flowers, and
fruits, to enhance a feeling
of well-being [see page 81]
ASTM (American Society
for Testing and Materials)
n. an organization that
develops standardized test
methods and procedures for
science and industry
While bacteria consist of a single cell, don’t let
their seeming simplicity fool you. They are
amazingly complex and actually get a bad rap
because they can cause human and animal
disease. In truth, bacteria play an important
role in our global ecosystem. The cycling of
nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur
is completed by their ceaseless labor.
autoclave n. a machine
that uses steam pressure to sterilize metal
autonomic nervous system n. the portion of
the nervous system that regulates esential
functions such as heartbeat and breathing;
functions that occur without conscious
ayurveda n. an ancient science of holistic
medicine originating in India; a holistic
approach to health care that is based on
principles of ayurveda and designed to
maintain or improve health through the use of
dietary modification, massage, yoga, herbal
preparations, and other measures
AVAs (Artists & Visionaries Awards) n.
awards program developed by NAILS Magazine
to honor the professional nail industry’s
outstanding salons and nail technicians;
awards are usually submitted to the magazine
in early February and pressented in May
backfill n. the technical
term for replacing the artificial enhancement’s white
tip product during a fill-in
procedure; it is usually done
with an electric file; involves
taking down the surface of
the nail so that the smile line
can be essentially re-created
with pink and white powders
[see page 83]
bacteria n. a single cell,
vegetable-like organism;
some bacteria are capable
of causing disease
trademark applied to a liquid
disinfectant product made
by King Research, Inc.,
formulated for hospital-level
brushes, and manicure implements [see page 85]
base n. a substance with a pH value greater
than 7.0; bases release hydroxide ions (OH)
into water, i.e. baking soda in water
base coat n. a colorless substance applied to
the natural nail before the application of
colored polish; base coat promotes polish
adhesion and reduces staining of the natural
nails; in nail art, used for a background of
entire nail or large areas that will be covered
with another color
BBSI n. an association of beauty distributors
bb - bu
and suppliers formed in the early 20th century;
was merged into the Professional Beauty
Association in 2004 [see Association Directory on
page 130 for listing of all associations]
Beauty Ball n. an annual charity event, hosted
by the Professional Beauty Association and
attended by manufacturers, distributors, salon
media, salons, and others affiliated with the
professional beauty industry; the Beauty Ball
host selects a charity to be the recipient of
its fundraising
beautytech.com (see also nailtech.com) n.
one of the original websites
devoted to salon professionals; debuted in
1994 and offered a chat
room, mailing list, and
professionals on the web
and drilling that is secured in a brace,
bitstock, or drill press
blending v. in nail art, tying two or more polish
or paint colors together, often by overlapping
them; used to create a multi-layered effect
booth rental n. a business structure that is
common in the professional salon industry, booth
rental essentially outlines a landlord-tenant
arrangement between salon professional and
salon owner; a booth renter will typically pay a
flat monthly or weekly rent to a salon owner for
the ability to work in a fixed salon; a booth renter
ordinarily has a contract
that outlines what expenses
she is responsible for and
what the salon owner pays
for; an estimated 32% of
U.S. nail technicians are
booth renters
Beau’s Lines n. linear
depressions that occur
crosswise (transverse) in the
fingernail; they can occur
after illness, trauma to the
nail, and with malnutrition
breathing zone n. the twofoot-square area between a
nail tech’s mouth and work
area; the area wherein
dust, vapors, and particles
can be inhaled if a nail
technician does not wear a
mask or otherwise protect
herself against exposure
and inhalation [see inset
this page]
benzoyl peroxide (BPO) n.
Industry safety experts agree that wearing a
mask or protecting yourself against exposure
an antibacterial ingredient
and inhalation, especially while filing acrylic or
commonly used in acne
using an electric file, is working smart. While
treatments; acts as an
acrylic dusts are not particularly hazardous, no
antibacterial agent against
dusts are good to breathe in large amounts for
extended periods. Keep the area around your
brittle nails
n. also
P. acnes, a bacterium that
mouth and nose — your breathing zone — clear.
onyaggravates acne; is most
choshizia, characterized by
effective against inflammatory acne that consists of papules, pustules, brittle, splitting, peeling, or cracking nails; often
caused by dehydration, are sometimes linked to
and cysts
health conditions such as hypothyroidism and
beta-hydroxy acid n. acid extracts that menopause, medications, diuretics, or iron and
chemically exfoliate the top layer of skin; they vitamin A, C, or B6 deficiencies
have the same effect as AHAs, but tend to be less
bruised nails n. a condition in which a clot of
irritating and come from different sources
blood forms under the nail plate; the clot is
bindi n. a reusable, adhesive decoration that caused by injury to the nail bed and can vary
is used by women and placed on the forehead in color from maroon to black
between the eyebrows; originally a traditional
ornament used by women (usually in India) to buffer n. a device used for shining or polishing
nails; a nail buffer is essentially a differently
symbolize that they are married
shaped nail file, albeit one with a much bigger
bit n. a pointed and threaded tool for boring cushion in the center; buffers have all the same
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breathing zone
bu - ch
basic components as a nail file: abrasive,
adhesive to adhere the abrasive, and a cushion
core; the center is usually plastic foam or other
cushioned material [see page 87]
buffing creams n. a cream or paste that is
used with a buffing implement to bring a shine
to natural nails; often used in men’s manicures
for the matte, healthy-looking shine it can create
bunion n. an inflamed swelling of the small
sac on the first joint of the big toe, results in
a protruding lump and is often caused by
prolonged encasement in tight shoes
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bur n. a small bit used in
an electric file
burnout n. a non-medical
condition associated with
career fatigue and disinterest in one’s job
carcinogen n. a substance capable of
causing cancer in humans or other animals
carpal tunnel syndrome n. pain, numbness,
and muscular weakness in the thumb, index,
and middle fingers, caused by compression of
a major sensorimotor nerve at the wrist,
usually due to inflammation, trauma, or injury
caused by repetitive motion; nail technicians
are prone to this condition because of the
repetitive nature of their
work, but it can be
prevented or alleviated
with proper work habits
carpal tunnel
C curve n. the curvature
or arch of a nail as seen
when looking at the nail
from the tip down
cabinet sanitizer n. an
airtight cabinet in which
implements can be sanitized
(may not fulfill many state
board requirements for
implement disinfection)
Carpal Ligament
Median Nerve
Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive
stress disorders can be prevented. The best
possible scenario is never to develop
symptoms, to work intelligently, and to respect
your body’s signals. At the workplace, you can
do on-the-job conditioning, perform stretching
exercises, take frequent rest breaks, wear
splints to keep wrists straight, and use correct
posture and wrist position.
calcium n. a silver-white bivalent metallic element
of the alkaline-earth group; the body’s most
abundant mineral, most of which is stored in the
bones; calcium aids in nerve and muscle function,
building of bones and teeth, and blood-clotting
callus n. an acquired superficial, round, and
thickened patch of epidermis due to pressure
or friction on the hands or feet [see page 89]
carbide n. a very hard metal made of carbon
and one or more heavy metals; usually used
in the manufacture of electric files
capillaries n. tiny, thin-walled blood vessels that
connect the smaller arteries to the veins; through
their walls, the tissues receive nourishment and
eliminate waste products
cartilage n. a tough
elastic substance similar
to bone but has no
mineral content; there is
cartilage in the septum or
the ear lobe, for example
CAS number
registration number for
individual chemical compounds based on a system
developed by the Chemical
Abstract Service (CAS)
catalyst n. a substance
added to an adhesive or
coating to promote, speed,
or control the curing
(hardening) process; different from accelerators
in that catalysts do not take part in the chemical
reaction; almost all nail coating systems utilize
a catalyst
CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) n.
federal guidelines that regulate business and
industry practices
chamois buffer n. a nail buffer made from the
soft leather made from the hide of goats, deer,
or sheep
chemical n. anything that can be seen or
touched, except light and electricity, is a chemical;
ch - co
all substances are either pure chemicals or
combinations of pure chemicals; all matter is
composed of chemicals, i.e. water, milk, and
fingernails are all chemicals
chemistry n. the composition, structure,
properties, and reactions of a substance
Emergency Response Center) n. a term used
on Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS); was
establishd in 1971 by the chemical industry to
obtain information and assistance for emergency
incidents involving chemicals and hazardous
materials; maintains a
high-end MSDS document
system containing millions
produced when light is dispersed by a prism
colored acrylics
acrylic powders
(polymers) that have been tinted with color;
used with regular monomers to create custom
color enhancements or “permanent” nail art
combustible adj. liquids having a flash point
at or greater than 100ºF
commission n. a compensation structure
favored in the salon industry; a commission is
a percentage earned of all revenue from
services brought into the salon by an individual
(for example, if a nail
technician is paid on a
50% commission basis
and she tickets services in
the amount of $200, her
commission is $100)
chlosama n. brown spots
on the skin, especially the
face and hands; they are
also called “liver spots” or
“moth patches”
chronic effects n. adverse
health effects caused by
repeated or prolonged
exposure occurring over a
period of time greater than
three months
chronic exposure
repeated or prolonged
exposure occurring over a
period of time greater than
three months
Nail competition categories vary from show to
show, but you will usually find sculptured nails,
tip with overlay, and nail art. Other categories
include gel nails, salon success, design
acrylics, and French twist. For sculptured nails,
the nail techs must leave one hand unpolished
while polishing the other hand red. Nails are
judged in key areas such as smile line, C
curve, arch, and polish application.
citric acid n. derived from citrus fruits, used
as a preservative, pH-balancer, and astringent
co-polymer n. a polymer made from two or
more different types or monomers; ABS plastic
is a co-polymer, for example
color analysis n. the practice of determining
the most flattering or complementary clothing
or cosmetic colors for a person to wear, based
on their own skin tone and coloring
color spectrum n. the distribution of colors
competition n. the practice
of nail technicians testing
their skills in an organized
skill contest; competitions
usually allow several hours
for “competitors” to create a
perfect nail that is judged by
a team of judges in key areas
(for example, evenness of
smile line, smoothness of C
curve, naturalness of arch,
flawlessness of polish);
competitions are generally
held at tradeshows [see inset
this page]
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contact dermatitis n. skin inflammation caused
by touching certain substances to the skin
Contessa Awards n. an awards program for salon
professionals in Canada, honoring technical
innovation, style, and photographic representation
continuing education n. the practice of
pursuing one’s professional education after the
required or formal curriculum has been
completed; some state boards of cosmetology
require nail professionals to take “continuing
education units” in order to renew their
licensing; these CEUs are usually in the areas
of health, safety, or technology
co - cu
corn n. a local hardening and thickening of
epidermis on top of the toe, often caused by toes
rubbing against shoes that are too tight
corrosive adj. capable of causing rapid and
sometimes irreversible damage to human tissue
and/or other surfaces (for example, bleach is
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cosmetic drugs n. products that are cosmetics,
but are also intended to treat or prevent disease,
or affect the structure or function of the human
body; are also considered drugs and must
comply with both drug and cosmetic provisions
of the law
intended to be applied to
the human body for
cleaning, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or
altering the appearance
without affecting the body’s
structure or functions;
included in this definition
are products such as skin
creams, lotions, perfumes,
lipsticks, and nail polish
crystallization n. an undesirable but preventable
formation of tiny crystals in the uncured nail
coating, often resulting from unusually cold
temperatures or drafts while a nail technician is
working with wet acrylic product
CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance
Association) n. the national trade association
representing manufacturers and distributors of
personal care products
The word “cuticle” is often used when referring
to the eponychium — which leads to much
confusion. To clarify, true cuticle is dead skin
clinging to the nail plate, acting as a plug to keep
bacteria from finding its way underneath the
living border of skin called the eponychium.
While some cuticle is necessary to keep the nail
healthy, most of it can be safely removed during
a manicure. The eponychium, however, must
never be cut.
Cosmoprof n. originally a
very large international
tradeshow held in Bologna,
Italy, and serving the
professional beauty industry
from around the world;
now Cosmoprof holds
several shows around the
world, including a major U.S. show each
summer in Las Vegas (called Cosmoprof
North America)
cure v. the change in
physical state by chemical
reaction of an adhesive or
coating to form a solid
substance, accomplished
with heat or light and
usually a catalyst or
accelerator; to dry or harden
curing agent
polymerize all adhesives,
acrylics, and UV light gels;
all types of systems require
a curing agent
custom blending n. the
practice of combining either
different nail polishes,
paints, or acrylic powders to
create a unique color or
unique look for a client
Cps or centipoise n. the standard unit of
measure for the thickness (viscosity) of liquids;
one Cps is equivalent to the viscosity of water
customer service n. although it entails any
service of customers, this is usually meant to be
a higher level of service; in the realm of the nail
salon, customer service refers to such actions as
how a customer is treated when she arrives in the
salon, how quickly and professionally she is
serviced, the level of pampering she enjoys in the
salon, and whether she is contacted after her
salon experience
cross-linked polymer n. a polymer with net-like
chemical linkages between individual chains;
results in improved physical properties, i.e.
increased strength and durability
cuticle n. layer of colorless skin that is
constantly shed from the underside of the
proximal nail fold and attaches to the nail surface
as it grows out [see inset this page]
covalent bond n. a chemical bond formed by
the sharing of one or more electrons
cross-linkers n. chemicals used to link together
two or more polymer chains
cu - de
cutis n. the deep layer of the skin; also called
the “true skin”
cyanoacrylate n. an adhesive or coating that
hardens quickly in the presence of moisture (the
curing agent) and may be hardened faster by
using a catalyst or accelerator
the elimination of
pathogens or other substances from a contaminated implement or surface; there are at
least three levels of decontamination, the most
effective being sterilization, then disinfection, and
the lowest level, sanitization
defatting v. dissolving the fat from human
tissue, i.e. some solvents are defatting and can
cause drying or cracking of the skin
dappen dish n. a glass or plastic container used
to hold small amounts of acrylic liquids and
powders (separately) during nail procedures
dehydrate v. to remove water from the
surface of the natural nail in order to promote
adhesion of polishes or enhancement
products, and to prevent
fungal infections
day spa n. The Day Spa
Association defines a “true
day spa” as having the
following characteristics: a
dehydrator n. a substance
clean, safe, calming, and
capable of absorbing water
from the natural nail
private treatment rooms for
each client receiving a
personal service; showering
separation of two or more
and changing facilities; spa
layers because of adhesive
robes and shoes for all
failure, i.e. the cured acrylic
sizes; business licenses;
polymer separating from the
nail plate, cyanoacrylate
estheticians and therapists
peeling away from wrap
on staff; professional spa
fabrics, or the natural nail
separating from the nail bed
estheticians and therapists
According to ISPA, the day spa industry is a
have received training in
depilatory n. a cream or
$11.1 billion industry, and there are 8,700 day
their use; offer several
liquid made of calcium,
20% since 2002. In 2001, clients made 105.9
massage types (Swedish,
sodium thioglycolate, or
million day spa visits.
sulfates used to remove
reflexology and as optional:
unwanted body hair
shiatsu, polarity, sports, deep tissue, and deep
muscle); body treatments (one or more on the dermatitis n. an inflammation of the skin
menu): body packs and wraps, exfoliation, characterized by redness, rash, swelling,
cellulite, body toning/contouring, waxing, cracking, itching, pain, etc.
homecare program; face cleansing facial,
homecare program; aromatherapy: personalized dermis n. the inner layer of skin
for body and/or face
desairology n. the practice of arranging the hair
deal sheet n. a usually bimonthly sales flyer put or makeup, or caring for the nails of bodies being
out by distributors with specials and discounts prepared for burial; requires special certification
being offered to salon professionals
design acrylics n. another term for colored
decal n. a decorative image printed on special acrylics; refers to the powder component
paper for transfer to another surface; often used (polymers) of the acrylic system [see also
in nail art [see page 91]
colored acrylics]
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day spa
the NAILS encyclopedia
de - dr
destination spa n. the original type of spa, which
involved overnight or extended stay, comprehensive therapies, including water therapy, weight
or nutrition counseling, wellness programs,
exercise and recuperation; popular in Europe
and now becoming more popular in the U.S.; not
to be confused with resort spa, which is a luxury
spa associated with a hotel or resort, but which
doesn’t necessarily offer the same treatment or
be cleaned to the degree defined by “disinfection”
[see page 93]
detailer brush n. a pointed brush used for
intricate nail art, especially suited for painting
disinfection n. the second (or middle) level
of decontamination; controls microorganisms
on non-living surfaces (the other methods
being sanitization at the
lowest and sterilization at
the highest)
diamond bit n.
abrasive tool that consists
of a steel shank with a
diamond abrasive as the
grinding material on the
head; normally used with
an electric file; used to
shape and prep artificial
dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
n. the active ingredient in
disinfectant n. a substance or procedure used to
control microorganisms on non-living surfaces,
such as instruments, implements, and
environmental surfaces; all disinfectants must be
approved by and registered with the federal EPA
and in each individual state; disinfectants are not
for use on human skin or nails [see page 95]
double load
disposable adj. designed
to be disposed of after use
distal nail plate n. a nail’s
free edge
double loaded
double loaded
distributor n. a company that
is in the business of marketing or selling merchandise
diversion n. the practice of
reselling (or “diverting”)
When double loading (a nail art technique),
products intended for sale
make sure both colors of paint are the same
to salon professionals only
creamy consistency. Use the right amount of
discolored nail
n. a
to other outlets, such as
moisture in your brush — too much water will
cause a flood on your brush and in your work,
condition in which the nail
open-to-the-public beauty
too little will prevent the colors from blending
turns a variety of colors
distributors, grocery stores,
nicely in the middle.
including yellow, blue-gray,
or drugstores; the practice
green, red, and purple;
is rampant in the prodiscoloration can be caused by poor blood fessional beauty industry and is a threat to the
circulation, a heart condition, or topical or oral retailing potential of professional salons
medications, and can be indicative of any number
of disorders
double load v. in nail art, to load two separate
colors on a brush to create a multidimensional
discount salons n. originally defined by NAILS look; the goal is usually to have a nice blend of the
Magazine as a nail salon whose service prices are two colors where they meet [see inset this page]
less than one-half the national average service
prices; it does not refer to any other business or drill n. another term for electric file; most nail
service aspect except for pricing
professionals (and clients) prefer the term
“electric file” as that is more succinctly how the
disinfectable™ adj. the ability of a non-living tool should be used
surface (such as an implement) to be disinfected,
or cleaned of microorganisms; all hard metal dryer n. sometimes used incorrectly to
implements in the salon, which means they can describe spray catalyst for wrap adhesives
dip powder n. [see acrylic
dip powder]
ds - ed
(cyanoacrylates); these products do not “dry”;
rather they harden by a chemical reaction
called polymerization
DSC (distributor’s sales consultant) n. a
salesperson who works for a full-service
distributor and calls on salons in person for the
purpose of order-taking, new product
announcements, and customer service
duck nails n. nail enhancement style, made of
either gel or acrylic, that fan out dramatically at
the free edge (like a duck’s foot)
electric file n. the preferred term for a nail drill;
a tool used by nail technicians to speed up,
streamline, or make easier some nail services; the
electric file allows nail technicians to file or finish
areas of the nail that are hard to reach (for
example, under the free edge of a newly created
sculpted nail) [see also drill] [see page 101]
electrolysis n. the only permanent form of hair
removal; the process in
which electric current is
used to kill hair at its root
embedded acrylic
embedded acrylic n. the
practice of encasing something decorative, like a
flower or a rhinestone,
between layers of acrylic;
usually the item is set
into not-yet-cured acrylic,
allowed to dry, then capped
with a clear layer of acrylic
that can be buffed to a
seethrough shine [see inset
this page]
ear coning n. a technique
that originated in ancient
times and now employed by
salon professionals and
involves putting a hollow
candle that tapers at one
end and fits into the ear;
the opposite end is lighted,
creating a vacuum that
cleanses residues out of the
ear; also called ear candling
The possibilities are endless for what a nail
technician can “embed” in acrylic nails. Dried
flowers, fabric, feathers, rhinestones, and
colored acrylic designs can all be capped with
a clear layer of acrylic to create an interesting
looking 3-D nail.
ear piercing v. creating
a hole in the earlobe into which an earring is
affixed; the process is a relatively painless
cosmetic procedure favored by men and
women alike
eczema n. an inflammatory condition of the skin
characterized by redness, itching, and oozing
vesicular lesions which become scaly, crusted, or
edema n. a swelling of the tissues due to a
localized accumulation of water or fluid
effervescent adj. bubbly, sparkling gas, usually
due to gas in water [see page 99]
emery board n. a nail file
consisting of a strip of
cardboard or wood with a
coating of powdered emery
(an abrasive)
the NAILS encyclopedia
DuraFlow™ n. a patented
formula by Be! Products for
nail lacquers that provides
durability, self-leveling application, and a fast drying
time [see page 97]
eggshell nails n. nails that are thin, white, and
curved over the free edge; the condition is caused by
improper diet, internal disease, medication, or
nervous disorders
employee/employer n. an employee is a worker
who is on payroll, for whom payroll taxes and
insurances are paid (among other expenses), and
who is subject to certain legal obligations and
privileges (in contrast to a booth renter, who is
technically a “tenant” of the salon owner)
enamel n. any coating that flows to a smooth
coat when applied and dries with a glossy
appearance; nail polishes that contain higher
levels of film formers are considered enamels
enhancement n. a term for artificial nails preerred by many nail professionals; can refer to nails
of acrylic, gel, wraps, or tips
en - fl
enzyme n. any of numerous complex proteins
that are produced by living cells and caralyze
specific biochemical reactions at body
temperature; often used as exfoliants and derived
from fruits like papaya or pineapple
exfoliation n. the removal of dead skin cells
from the skin’s surface
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) n. a
federal organization responsible for regulating
disinfectants and other chemical substances
fan brush n. a brush with fanned hairs, used
to create an airbrushed effect in nail art
EPA registration number n. a number assigned
to all disinfectants registered by the EPA
fast dry n. a term for a chemical product that
dries polish; can be brush-on, spray-on, or
droplet format
fast set adj. a type of acrylic that is chemically
configured to cure/harden
(“set”) faster than traditional systems; fast set
systems are favored by
experienced nail techdistal edge of plate
nicians or others who don’t
need time to “work” with the
the NAILS encyclopedia
epidermis n. also called the cuticle or scarf skin,
is the outermost protection
covering the skin
eponychium n. the thin
line of skin at the base of
the nail that extends from
the nail wall to the nail
ergonomics n. the applied
science of equipment design
in order to reduce operator
fatigue and discomfort
essential oil n. essences
extracted from plants that
contain the scent and other
therapeutic properties of
that plant
lateral nail fold
nail plate
proximal nail fold
fiber n. a solid particle
whose length is at least
three times its width
The fingernail is a complex unit. Most people’s
fingernails take three to six months to
completely grow out.
esters n. a general term
used to refer to the liquid
monomers used in acrylic
liquid formulation; the product formed when an
organic acid reacts with an alcohol; all nail coating
polymers, except for polishes, contain esters
esthetics n. the practice of skin care; a
practitioner of esthetics is known as an esthetician
ethyl methacrylate n. a type of acrylic monomer
(liquid) that is generally used in most acrylic
systems (in contrast with MMA, which has been
deemed unsafe for use in nail products)
ferrule n. a metal ring or
cap placed around a
brush’s shaft to reinforce
and hold its hairs
eucalyptus n. a native Australian tree with
aromatic leaves that yield an oil used
fiberglass n. a composite
material of glass fibers in
resin; used in nail wrap
natural nails or artificial tips
fill or fill-in n. a regular service required to
maintain artificial nails [see also backfill]
fingernail n. a thin, horny, transparent plate
covering the dorsal surface of the tip of each
finger; comprised of dead keratin cells [see inset
this page]
flammable liquids n. generally, those liquids
with flash points below 100 degrees F; means the
same as inflammable
floated color n. in nail art, when a brush is
fo - fu
loaded with more water than paint to create a soft
folloculitis n. an inflammation of the hair follicle
that looks like a rash, usually found in areas of
the body that have been shaved or waxed
foot care n. the practice of caring for feet, from
a cosmetic and maintenance standpoint; usually
encompasses pedicure services, nail trim, callus
removal, massage and moisturizing; can
encompass all services related to the feet
foot spa n. generally used to describe the
pedicure whirlpool units,
regardless of size, that a
pedicure client soaks in
during the pedicure service;
tends to apply to units that
have whirlpool or jet action,
though not necessarily
with nail polish, airbrushing, nail art paints,
specialty tips, or colored acrylics; there are many
variations of this look, but generally a “French”
manicure incorporates one color on the nail tip
and another, usually contrasting color, on the
nail bed [see page 103]
French tip n. a tip that fits on the nail and is
used to create a French manicure look; is usually
white and can be any shape [see inset this page]
full-service distributor n. a supplier of
professional beauty products; full-service usually
refers to the fact that a supplier has the following
characteristics: employs insalon sales representatives
who service salon professionals and take product
orders, often operates a
professional and technical
education; can also offer
mail order or Internet
buying for products, consulting services, and design
colorless, gaseous compound used in making
phelonic resins, dyes, and in
preservative and disinfectant
forms n. what is used to
sculpt a nail shape with
acrylic; forms are sticky on
one side so they adhere to
the finger; forms are
attached under the natural
nail’s free edge and the
acrylic system is used to
form (sculpt) a nail
French tips are a good way to quickly create
the French manicure look with either acrylic
or gel systems because they serve as tip
guides. Most nail technicians follow the
French tip application with pink or clear acrylic
on the nail bed. (Photo courtesy of OPI.)
franchise n. an agreement between a firm and
another party in which the firm provides the other
party with the right to use the firm’s name and
to sell or rent its products; selling franchise rights
is a method of expanding a business quickly with
a minimum of capital
free edge n. the end of the nail that extends
beyond the fingertip; also called the distal nail
French manicure n. a nail style that includes
a white tip and a pink nail bed; can be achieved
full-service salon
generally thought to be a
salon that offers more than
specialized services; usually
a salon that offers hair care
and at least one other major
service area (such as nails,
skin care, or tanning)
the NAILS encyclopedia
French tip
fumes n. very small, fine
solid particles suspended in the air; they are
formed when solid substances are vaporized by
very high temperatures; fumes do not occur in the
nail industry and are incorrectly confused with
fungicide n. an agent capable of destroying
fungus n. microscopic plants such as mold,
dermatophyte, and yeast; only two members of this
family can form colonies in or under the natural
nail and under artificial nails; one of these is a
yeast called candida albicans and the other is a
dematophyte called trichophyton rubrum; if
fu - he
improperly treated, they may lead to serious
medical problems; the technical term for fungus
is onychomycosis [see page 105]
furrows n. also known as corrugations, long
ridges that run either lengthwise or across the
nail; some lengthwise ridges are normal in adult
nails, and they increase with age; lengthwise
ridges can also be caused by conditions such as
psoriasis, poor circulation, and frostbite; ridges
that run across the nail can be caused by
conditions such as high fever, pregnancy, measles
in childhood, and a zinc deficiency in the body
the NAILS encyclopedia
ganglion cyst n. cystic
swellings under the skin,
generally in the wrist or the
upper surface of the foot; a
ganglion develops when a jellylike substance accumulates in
one of two places — a joint
capsule or a tendon sheath —
and causes it to balloon out;
harmless, they can be
surgically treated by draining
them with a needle, applying
pressure after puncturing it,
or surgically removing it
gas n. individual molecules
of a substance dispensed in
air; one of the three states
(solid, liquid, and gas) of
grass comb n. a nail art brush with separated
bristles used for detailed dry brush techniques
greenies n. the informal term used by many nail
technicians to describe a nail that has become
infected with pseudomonas; usually occurs as a
result of water or other moisture becoming
trapped between an artificial nail and the natural
nail; treatment does not always require removing
the artificial nail
grit n. a term used in defining the coarseness
or texture of abrasives
Gel nails first became big business in Europe
in the early 1980s, partly due to the fact that
European nail technicians were originally
trained in gel application. In the U.S., gel nails
have gone through a renaissance of sorts, as
manufacturers have tweaked, reworked, and
refined their formulations.
gel n. pre-mixed monomers that are hardened
or cured to polymers by either UV or visible light,
the exception being “no light” gels, which are
thickened cyanoacrylates, high viscosity, or
thixotroic liquids [see inset this page]
hammer toe n. a deformed, claw-shaped toe,
usually the second toe, that
results from permanent
angular flexion between one
or both phalangeal joints
hangnails n. also known
as agnails; a common
condition in which the skin
around the nail splits;
hangnails are caused by
dry skin or eponychium
that has been cut
harden v. the solidification
of liquid adhesives or
hazardous ingredient n. any substance that
may be capable of causing physical or other
health-related injury to an exposed individual,
i.e. cuts, burns, falls, rashes, fire, explosion, toxic
effects, ingestion or inhalation risk, skin
absorption, danger to the eyes, rapid
polymerization, harmful decomposition byproducts, acute and chronic health risks, etc.
germicide n. a germ-killing agent
glue n. through general usage, this term has
come to describe, incorrectly, all adhesives,
including cyanoacrylates; true glues are proteinbased adhesives obtained from the hides, tendons,
cartilage, bones, etc. of animals
heat-cured adj. the process of hardening
(curing) by heat, rather than by air, UV light, or
hemp seed oil n. a rich emollient that contains
fatty acids and is good for dry, aging skin
hi - ke
HMIS (Hazardous Materials Identification
System) n. a rating system for hazardous
substances; this system rates flammability,
reactivity, and health risks on a 0-4 scale with 4
being the most hazardous; see the product’s MSDS
for specific ratings
HVAC n. an abbreviation for a system that
provides heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
impulse buy n. a purchase made at the last
minute, usually with little thought (“on impulse”);
items placed at the reception desk or in another
area where a client might linger are often
designed to make a client make a quick purchase
independent contractor n. a self-employed
worker, who is not subject to the same rules and
regulations as an employee, and who has none of
the same rights or privileges as an employee; an
independent contractor makes her own hours, pays
her own taxes, and handles client payment directly
(among other factors); the IRS determines whether
a worker is an employee or independent contractor
hydration n. the addition
of water
substance that has an
affinity or attraction to
ingrown hair n. hairs that
point in instead of outward
and get trapped beneath
the skin
ingrown nail n. having the
free edge embedded in the
adj. a
substance that completely
or partially repels water
inorganic adj. a substance
that does not contain carbon
as a part of its chemical
substance that absorbs
water vapors from the air,
i.e. anhydrous salts
Jojoba is a liquid wax that is highly penetrating
and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
qualities. A high iodine concentration (81.7%),
gives jojoba oil a great power to heal. It can
help heal acne, athlete’s foot, cuts, mouth
sores, pimples, and warts. The oil also helps
to remove buildup around hair follicles.
hypoallergenic adj. a term
suggesting that the product
contains less or fewer
allergy-causing substances
equivalent products on the
market; there are no federal
guidelines for defining or limiting the use of this
hyponychium n. the part of the skin under the
free edge of the nail
IBS (International Beauty Show)
n. a
tradeshow of long-standing, held in New York,
usually in early spring
implement n. a tool, utensil, or instrument for
doing a task [see page 107]
irritant n. a substance
capable of causing inflammation of the skin, eyes,
nose, throat, or lungs
the NAILS encyclopedia
highlight n. in nail art, the lightest color used
on the painted area; used to show where the light
source is and to give an object dimension
jojoba n. an emollient for skin and hair that is
obtained from the nut of the jojoba shrub [see
inset this page]
Juliette wrap n. a technique of wrapping the
nails with paper or a paper-like material and
sealing with adhesive, which was used by some
nail technicians before the advent of acrylics
keratin n. a tough, insoluble protein that is the
main constituent of hair and nails, and of the
ko - li
outermost layer of the skin
(gels) with visible or ultraviolet light
kolinsky n. any of several Asian minks, the fur
is often used for the bristles of a brush
light-activated acrylics, UV-cured acrylics n.
a liquid-and-powder acrylic system that requires
UV light to cure or harden, rather than simple
exposure to air
lacquer n. another word for nail polish, used to
add color and gloss to the nail
the NAILS encyclopedia
lactic acid n. alpha-hydroxy acid derived from
laminate n. a product
made by bonding together
two or more layers of
material(s); v. to unite layers
of material with adhesive
line work n. in nail art, any kind of lines painted
on the area; technique of painting detailed lines,
usually in black to give definition to an object
liquid-topowder ratio
lavender n. the leaves,
flowers, and oil from this
plant are used in many
beauty products for its
soothing properties
LD50 n. an abbreviation
of “lethal dose at 50%” a
measure of toxicity; the
dosage which kills 50% of
the animal test subject
used in study; a term used
on the MSDS
too wet
too dry
The correct ratio of liquid monomer and acrylic
powder (polymer) is vital to produce strong,
flexible, durable, and non-lifting enhancements.
The wrong liquid-to-powder ratio can result in
premature lifting or breakage. Most acrylic
systems require a medium-wet bead. (Photo
courtesy of NSI.)
leuconychia n. complete
or partial whitening (spots)
of the natural nail plate;
usually caused by external physical damage, but
other medical conditions may be responsible
licensing n. the act of granting permission by a
competent authority to engage in a business or
occupation; a license is required to do nails in
nearly every U.S. state
lifting n. separation of the artificial nail coating
from the natural nail, usually at or near the
cuticle, but also may be seen in other locations;
lifting of the natural nail plate (onycholysis) from
the nail bed should be referred to a physician
liner brush n. a nail art brush with a finely
tapered cylindrical head, excellent for short
strokes and to draw small lines and details
light cure v. curing or hardening monomers
lipids n. one of numerous
fats and fatlike materials
that, together with carbohydrates and proteins,
constitute the principle
structural material of living
liquid n. one of the three
physical states in which all
matter exists: solid, liquid,
and gas; a term that
typically refers to the
monomers used to create
liquid resins n. organic
polymer liquids that when
converted into their final
state for use become a
resin; refers to uncross-
linked polymers
liquid wrap n. a nail polish, base coat, or top
coat that contains fibers for reinforcement of the
natural nail
liquid-to-powder ratio n. the balance of liquid
monomer to acrylic powder (polymer); it is
recommended correct ratio be achieved in order
for the hardening processes to take place;
incorrect or out-of-balance liquid-to-powder
ratios can cause a variety of problems with
acrylic, including yellowing, bubbling, or
crystallization [see inset this page]
lo - me
mask n. a skin care treatment that helps seal and
retain moisture in the skin; can be used as part of a
manicure or pedicure as well
lunula n. the light-colored half-moon shape at
the base of the nail; where the matrix connects
with the nail bed
massage n. manipulation of the tissues (by
rubbing, kneading, or tapping) with the hand or
instrument for therapeutic purposes
matrix n. small area of living tissue directly
below the proximal nail fold; contains nerves
together with lymph and blood vessels that
produce nail cells and control the rate of growth
of the nail; a very sensitive
part of the nail that if
injured will produce nails
with irregular growth and
Madge the Manicurist n. a fictional character
television commercial in the
1970s for Palmolive dishwashing liquid; the character, played for years by
actress Jan Miner, symbolized an old-fashioned
notion of nail care professionals; sometimes a
derisive term for a manicurist who does not see
herself as a true professional
colors together in free, uneven patterns in nail art
manicure n. a cosmetic
treatment for the hands and
fingernails that involves
fingernails, trimming and
shaping nails, and usually
polishing [see page 109]
medical spa [see medispa]
medispa n. any facility
that presents a merger of
medical practice and spa
a body
decoration process that is
thousands of years old; a
way of creating temporary
ink artwork or “tattoos” on
the skin; the use of henna is
traditional, although synthetic dyes have been
brought to market; in this
process, the body is painted
with henna, which is left on
the skin to dry, and as it dries it stains the skin
with a natural-looking and long-lasting color
[see inset this page]
Mehndi is the Hindi word used to describe the
art form of painting henna designs on the body.
Mehndi is practiced in many parts of the world.
Henna powder is usually mixed with coffee or
black tea and lemon juice. After sitting for
several hours, it is mixed with a pure essential
oil. The paste is then applied to clean, dry skin
in a pattern using a stencil or freehand. The
longer the henna paste is left on, the deeper
and darker the design will be on the body.
manicurist n. a licensed
individual who performs
nail services, more often referred to as a “nail
technician” today
mantle n. also called nail fold; the deep fold of
skin at the base of the nail where the nail root is
the NAILS encyclopedia
local exhaust n. ventilation systems that collect
vapors and dust at the source of emission or
generation and remove them from the workplace
before they can move into breathing air zones; a
term found on the MSDS
menthol n. the main element in the essential oil
of peppermint, used in beauty products for its
cooling qualities
manufacturer’s educator n. a nail technician
who works directly for a product manufacturer,
usually as an independent contractor; duties
include demonstrating products at shows,
conducting classes and educational events, or
doing sales programs
metatarsals n. of or relating to the part of the
human foot
marbler brush n. a brush used to mix and blend
methacrylates n. a family of monomers used in
metacarpals n. the bones of the palm of the
me - mu
several types of nail enhancement systems
methyl methacrylate (MMA) n. an acrylic
monomer found by the FDA in 1978 to be unsafe
for use in nail products because of the serious
health risk posed to manicurists by its use
methylene chloride n. a solvent banned by the
FDA for use in all cosmetic aerosols and nail
products because of the serious heath risk;
currently listed as a probable human cancercausing agent
mica n. any of various colored or transparent
mineral silicates crystallizing
in monoclinic forms that
readily separate into very
thin leaves; used in polish to
add shimmer
mildew n. a superficial, usually whitish growth
produced especially on organic matter or living
plants by fungi
mission statement n. the explication of a salon’s
purpose for business; can be simple or elaborate,
but it communicates to salon staff and clientele
why the business exists
mist n. fine liquid particles of various sizes that
are produced by spraying
mobile salon n. legal in some states, a nail salon
that travels to clients’ homes or offices to offer
the NAILS encyclopedia
micro buffer n. a type of
finishing file with a very
high grit (over 800) used to
polish or shine acrylic or
natural nails
moisture n. liquid diffused
or condensed in relatively
small quantity
mold n. a fungus infection
of the nail that is usually
caused when moisture
seeps between an artificial
nail and the free edge of the
nail; mold starts with a
yellow-green color and
darkens to black if not
treated by a doctor; clients
with mold should be
referred to a doctor [see also
microdermabrasion n. a
skin-freshening technique
that helps repair skin;
involves a device likened to
a fine sandblaster that
Monomer, the liquid component of traditional
sprays tiny crystals across
liquid and powder acrylic systems, can come
monomer n. an individual,
the face, mixing gentle
in different colors. Blue tinted liquids give the
white powder extra brightness; pinks help
reactive chemical unit that
abrasion with suction to
create a natural looking nail bed color.
may be linked to one
remove the dead, outer
another to form a polymer;
layer of skin; “personal
the liquid component in
utilizes a more gentle device that works with acrylic systems
vibration and a cream-based crystal solution;
has been incorporated into hand and foot care MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) n. forms
services by many nail technicians to provide a that provide safety guidelines for use of
service to clients concerned about aging skin professional products; MSDS are required by
state and federal law to be distributed by all
on the hands
manufacturers and distributors under the OSHA
microorganism n. a living microscopic system, Hazard Communication Standard 29 CFR
1910.1200; nail technicians should have MSDS
i.e. bacteria, virus, fungus, and protozoa
for each product they use in the salon, filed and
Midwest Beauty Show n. one of the largest and easily accessed
longest-running shows in the professional beauty
industry; usually held in the late winter in mutagen n. a substance that can chemically or
Rosemont, Ill., and run by the association known physically alter the genetic material in cells; this
term may appear on the MSDS
as Cosmetologists Chicago
na - na
nail grooves n. slits or tracks in the nail bed at
the sides of the nail on which the nail grows
nail art n. turning nails into small canvases that
you can create designs on; can be created with
polish, paints, colored acrylics or gels, and
embellishments [see page 111]
nail lacquer n. a term used to describe fingernail
nail bed n. a thick growth of
epidermal cells that supports
the natural nail plate
nail biter n. a person who
habitually chews his nails,
often down to an unhealthy
length; nail biting is generally
understood to be not merely
a bad habit but a hard-tochange
psychological roots; there are
a variety of treatments and
services nail professionals
can offer to break the habit
nail care n. the art and
science of treating and
caring for nails (including
toes and fingers)
nail bar
Popular for some time in Europe and Japan,
nail bars are gaining in popularity in the U.S.
The typical nail bar resembles an actual bar,
with a long table and a row of chairs on both
sides. Nail techs sit side-by-side instead of
having their own stations. The term nail bar is
also used to refer to a nails-only salon.
nail charm n. a piece of
jewelry used on the fingernails, often a dangling
piece of jewelry; affixed either with adhesive or
through a hole created in an artificial nail
nail disorder n. a condition caused by injury to
the nail or disease or imbalance in the body
nail file n. any of several tools with hardened
ridged surfaces, used in smoothing, polishing, or
grinding down nails [see page 113]
nail fold n. the deep fold of skin at the base of
the nail where the nail root is embedded; also
called the mantle
nail plate n. the main part
or plate of the nail that is
attached to the skin at the
tip of the finger; although
the nail plate appears to be
one piece, it is actually
constructed of layers
nail prep n. the portion of
a nail service, usually an
acrylic service, that focuses
on reducing the moisture
and oils on the natural nail
so that a tip or sculpt will
problems with acrylic nails
are the result of incomplete
nail prep
nail root n. where the nail
embedded underneath the
skin at the base of the nail
the NAILS encyclopedia
nail bar n. a term used to refer to a nails-only
salon (informal); sometimes refers to a salon that
seats clients together along a high bar table; made
popular originally in Japan, where a counter type
table would serve as a nail station to nailists in a
department store providing nail care services [see
inset this page]
Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC) n. a
professional association of nail manufacturers
formed in the early 1990s to promote the interests
and causes of the professional nail industry and
originally under the umbrella organization
American Beauty Association, which was merged
into the Professional Beauty Association in 2004
nail strengthener n. also called a hardener;
applied to the natural nail before the base coat
nail technician (nail tech) n. a professional
who practices nail care; in most U.S. states,
there are educational and licensing requirements to become a nail technician; the term
came into favor in the late 1980s as the
products being used in the salon required
greater skill than before, when practitioners
were called “manicurists”
nail walls n. the skin on the sides of the nail
above the grooves
na - no
nail wrap n. paper, silk, linen, fiberglass, or
other fabrics that are applied in combination with
cyanoacrylate as a natural nail coating, nail
extension, or over a tip
NFPA hazard classification n. 0-4 rating
system for hazardous chemicals in four classifications: health, flammability, reactivity, and
other; this system may be used on the MSDS
nailist n. another term to describe a nail care
professional; often used by Japanese nail techs
NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health) n. the federal organization
that researches industrial safety and makes
recommendations to OSHA
the NAILS encyclopedia
national licensing n. the concept that all U.S.
states might adopt a single curriculum and
standards for licensing, so that a nail
professional in any state is required to have the
same schooling, testing, and training
natural adj. occurs in
nature; this term is not a
measure of safety; many
potentially dangerous substances are naturally occurring; there are no federal
guidelines for defining or
limiting the use of this term
nail wrap
natural nail n. refers to
the naturally occuring
fingernail (as opposed to
nail enhancements)
natural nail care n. the
treatment and care of nails
(including toenails and
fingernails) only as it
relates to services and
treatments that leave the
natural nails intact (without artificial extensions,
etc.) [see page 115]
nitrocellulose n. a polymer
used in the production of
many nail polishes and top
no-light gel n. a thickened
cyanoacrylate coating that
is sometimes used over tips
strengthen or reinforce
Nail technicians who have been around more
than 20 years like to tell stories about how they
used cigarette papers and teabags as nail
wraps before fiberglass and precut fingers
came along. Today, a host of professionally
manufactured items replace the catch-ascatch-can approach.
networking v. the practice of sharing advice and
ideas with other like professionals; can be done
in person, online, at tradeshows, or by phone
nevus n. a brown or black stain on the nail caused
by a pigmented mole that occurs on the nail
newbie n. a recently graduated or newly
employed nail professional; someone with very
little professional salon experience
nippers n. implement used for clipping or
trimming cuticles or acrylic nails; usually made of
stainless steel, they can be disinfected between
clients for use on multiple clients [see page 117]
NFPA n. an abbreviation for the National Fire
Protection Agency
remover n. a remover
usually containing the
solvents ethyl acetate or
methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
instead of acetone
non-acid primer n. a
substance that increases
the adhesion of artificial
nail products to the natural
nail without the use of methacrylic acid; also
called non-etching primer
for a substance to be
considered “non-toxic” it must have an LD50
rating of >15g/Kg; for the average adult, this is
equal to the ingestion of more than one quart
of the non-toxic substance without it causing
harmful effects; any substance with an LD50
rating of <15g/Kg is considered toxic to some
no-show n. the term for a client who does not
show up for her appointment as scheduled or
od - ov
by a fungus (vegetable parasite); a common form
is whitish patches that can be scraped off the
surface [see inset this page]
odorless acrylics n. a term used to describe
acrylic liquids that are not easily detected by the
human sense of smell; not necessarily indicative
of low evaporation rate or safety
onychophagy n. the medical term for nails that
have been bitten enough to become deformed
onychauxis (or hypertrophy) n. shows the
opposite symptoms of onychatrophia; onychauxis
is the overgrowth of nails;
nails with this disorder are
abnormally thick
onychia n. an inflammation
somewhere in the nail; the
tissue at the base of the nail
may be red and swollen and
pus may form; it is often
caused by improperly disinfected manicuring implements
ingrown nails n. a familiar
condition of the fingers and
toes in which the nail grows
into the sides of the tissue
around the nail; improper
filing of the nail and poorfitting shoes are causes of
this disorder
onychorrhexis n. refers to
split or brittle nails that
also have a series of
lengthwise ridges; can be
caused by injury to the
fingers, excessive use of
cuticle solvents, nail polish
removers, and careless,
rough filling
onyx n. the technical term
for nail
Onyx is the prefix that means “nail” and it is the
root of many of the terms defining nail diseases
and disorders.
onychogryphosis n. a
condition in which the nail curvature is increased
and enlarged; the nail becomes thicker and
curves, sometimes extending over the tip of the
finger or toe; this condition results in
inflammation and pain if the nail grows into the
skin; the cause of this disorder is unknown
orangewood stick
disposable wood stick with
slanted ends used to loosen
cuticle around the base of a
nail or to clean under the
free edge
the NAILS encyclopedia
onychatrophia n. also known as atrophy;
describes the wasting away of the nail; the nail
loses its shine, shrinks, and falls off
onychoptosis n. a condition in which part or all
of the nail sheds periodically and falls off the finger;
it can affect one or more nails; it can occur during
or after certain diseases of the body, such as
syphilis, as a result of fever and system upsets, as
a reaction to prescription drugs, or as a result of
substance that contains the
element carbon; nearly every product sold to nail
technicians is organic; this term does not imply
any degree of safety
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health
Administration) n. a federal organization whose
responsibility it is to ensure safe working
conditions for employees
onycholysis n. a condition in which the nail
loosens from the nail bed, beginning usually at the
free edge and continuing to the lunula, but does
not come off; it is caused by an internal disorder,
trauma, infection, or certain drug treatments [see
inset this page]
OTC (over the counter) adj. refers to products
that can be purchased without a professional
license or prescription; also refers to a store or
supplier that sells products to non-professionals
onychomycosis n. an infectious disease caused
overlay n. any coating created by fashioning
ox - pi
acrylic, fiber wraps, or gels over the underlying
nail or artificial nail tip
oxygen n. colorless, odorless gas that makes up
about 20% of the air we breathe; it is essential to
life because it is used for the chemical reactions
that occur in the cells of the body
the NAILS encyclopedia
paronychia n. a bacterial
inflammation of the tissue
around the nail; the
symptoms are redness,
swelling, and tenderness
surrounding the nail
PEL (permissible exposure limit) n. OSHAestablished inhalation exposure limits, usually
expressed in parts per
concentration of a substance
in the air that can be
breathed in a normal 40hour work week by most
people without suffering
adverse effects
pH n. the measure or level of
hydrogen ions (H+) in waterbased solutions; used to
determine the acidity (pH1-6)
or alkalinity (pH 8-14) of
water-based solutions; pure
water has a pH of 7
There are three basic classes of pigments that
are the basis of all colors — Chlorophylls
(green), Carotenoids (red, orange, or yellow),
and Phycobilins, which are water-soluble
pigments. Photo courtesy of Ovolin AB.
paronychium n. the part of the skin that
surrounds the entire nail area
patent n. a document granting an inventor sole
rights to an invention
pathogen n. a microorganism that is capable of
causing disease
pedicare n. a term coined by Belvedere USA
Corp. to describe the complete service that is the
contemporary pedicure [see page 121]
pedicure n. care and service of the feet, toes,
and toenails
papain n. an enzyme derived from papaya that
is used to exfoliate the skin
a waxy
crystalline substance that
is obtained from distillates
of carbons and is used
chiefly in coating and
sealing; used in salon
services whereby a client
dips her hand or foot into
melted paraffin a few times
(called a “paraffin dip”),
creating a shell that will
harden while it helps
hardened paraffin is easily
peeled off the skin and
disposed of, leaving skin
gently and therapeutically
moisturized [see page 119]
a whirlpool tub that a client soaks her feet in, and
can have many amenities attached to the chair
(such as music, massage rollers, headrest);
sometimes called “pedicure thrones” [see page 123]
pedi spa n. the term used to describe the piece
of salon equipment used for a luxurious pedicure
service; although not always, it usually involves
phalanges n. any of the
bones in the fingers or toes;
there is one in each finger,
two in each thumb, totaling
14 bones
phthalates n. a family of chemicals, produced
from phthalic anhydride and alcohols, frequently
used as plasticizers in plastics and cosmetics,
including nail polish
pigment n. substances that give paint color,
derived from natural or synthetic materials that
have been ground into fine powders [see inset
this page]
pink-and-white n. an acrylic service, usually
with acrylics, incorporating both white and pink
powders so a nail technician can create a
realistic-looking acrylic nail; the process uses
white powder on the tip and pink on the nail bed
pi - pr
plastic n. a generic term that refers to any solid
substance that will bend, yield, or flow under
force or stress; common usage generally limits
the term to organic polymers that display “plastic”
plasticizer n. a substance
added to adhesives, coatings,
or polymers that increases
the flexibility or workability
of the final product
polish remover n. a solvent
blend that dissolves nail
polishes and removes them
from the nail; usually
acetone or non-acetone
porcelain n. a mixture of inorganic substances
that have been fused together at extremely high
temperatures; used in dentistry for artificial teeth;
sometimes incorrectly used to describe artificial
fingernail extensions made from acrylic liquid
monomers and polymers
porous adj. containing pores or openings that
will cause lower strength; polymers used in the
nail industry are all classified as non-porous
powder n. materials that have been finely ground
or pulverized into very
small, individual particles;
the term typically refers to
the polymer powders used
to create acrylic (liquid/
powder) systems; these
substances are usually
blends of finely ground
methacrylate polymers [see
inset this page]
polish n. a solvent-based
coating containing pigments
and/or dyes used to create
fingernails or toenails
polish dryer
mechanical device, brushon liquid, or spray used to
quickly dry nail polish
converts monomers to polymers
Acrylic powder was already in use in dentistry
before it was ever applied to nails. Nail
technicians began experimenting with these
powders, but those who tried the dental
powder-and-liquid combination often found
the granules were too coarse and the
resulting nails were too dense and yellowed
easily. Some of the first acrylic formulas
developed for nails contained MMA, which
the FDA deemed unsafe for use in nail
products in 1978.
polish thinner n. a volatile solvent added to polish
to restore the product to its original consistency or
viscosity; also called polish solvent
polymer n. the chemical bonding of many
smaller individual organic monomers into a large
structure, i.e. hair is a polymer of thousands of
amino acids connected into chains; the powder
part of an acrylic system
polymerization n. the process of forming a
polymer; reaction of many small monomers into
larger, more complex structures
polymerize v. to cause a chemical reaction that
PPM n. the abbreviation
for parts per million; parts
of vapor or gas per million
parts of air
press-on nails n. plastic
nail tips that are applied
with adhesive and that
cover the entire nail (fullwell tips); press-on nails
were made popular in the
Pharmaceuticals and were the precursors to
today’s tips and professional nail enhancements
the NAILS encyclopedia
pipeless adj. the mechanism to create the
whirlpool action used in pedicure spas; the term
“pipeless” is owned by SaniJet; these systems
have traditional piped plumbing that brings water
from its source into the tub, but the water is not
“circulated” in the traditional piped sense; also
known as “pipe-free” [see page 125]
primary allergen n. a substance that can cause
acute or immediate allergic reactions, i.e. poison ivy
primary irritant n. a substance that causes acute
or immediate irritation to skin and/or soft tissue
primer n. a substance used to improve adhesion
between the artificial nail and natural nail
private labeling n. the practice of putting one’s
salon or one’s own name on a generic product;
private label companies will create cosmetic
pr - re
products and allow salons to use their own label
on the bottles and market the products as their
own creation
pumice n. a porous, lightweight volcanic rock
used in solid form as an abrasive and in powdered
form as a polish and abrasive
professional-only products n. supplies that
are intended for use by trained nail technicians
(or other salon professionals), generally for
reasons of safety
pusher n. used to push back excess cuticle
growth; the spoon end is used to push back
profit and loss (P&L) statement n. a financial
document that is produced by a business (or an
individual) that shows how much money the
business has made based on the amount of money
left over after expenses have been deducted; in a
profit and loss statement, the
revenue is listed on the top
line, the expenses then are
subtracted, leaving the profit
on the bottom line (hence, the
term, “bottom line”)
quick dry n. a chemical product that dries nail
polish fast (can be brush-on, spray on, droplets);
a drying aid
the NAILS encyclopedia
profit margin
percentage of earnings that
are retained from all
revenues after all costs and
expenses are subtracted; for
example, a nail salon that
earns $1,000 and has $600
in expenses has a profit
margin of 40% (to figure
profit margin, first determine
net earnings, which is total
earnings minus expenses,
then divide net earnings into
total earnings)
Reflexology is a natural healing art based on
the principle that there are reflex points on the
feet, outer ears, and hands that are actually
“reflections” of body parts. Their location and
relationships follow a logical anatomical pattern
that closely resembles that of the body itself.
This ancient healing technique involves a
steady pressure on the reflex points, which
correspond to areas throughout the body.
profitability n. the ability
of a business to earn profits (to be profitable)
R & D (research and
practical application of
knowledge for discovering
products, processes, and
services, and then applying
that knowledge to create
new and improved products,
processes, and services that
fill market needs
radiation n. the process
of emitting light, sound,
heat, particles, or energy;
both UV and visible light
are forms of radiation; each
radiates light of a particular
rebalance n. another term for fill
protective eyewear n. eyeglasses that have been
specifically designed to prevent chemical splashes
or foreign bodies from entering the eye
protein n. chemical substances made from long
chains of amino acids
reciprocity n. from the word “reciprocal,” this
is the practice of U.S. states allowing nail
professionals educated and licensed in one state
to practice in another; usually involves passing
the exam of the host state
proximal nail fold n. the skin folded over the
part of the nail plate attached to the finger
red sable n. hair from the soft-furred animal,
which is used in nail care brushes
pterygium n. the inward advance of skin over
the nail plate, usually the result of trauma to the
reflexology n. a science that applies pressure to the
feet or hands to stimulate reflexes that correspond
to specific areas of the body [see inset this page]
re - se
retailing n. all activities involved in selling
goods or services directly to the salon customer
Raynaud’s Syndrome n. a condition characterized
by blood vessels in the hands
and feet that spasm and
temporarily cut off blood flow
to the digits, most commonly
found among otherwise
healthy women ages 20-40;
people with Raynaud’s have
a higher risk for infection due
to poor circulation in their
extremities during a spasm
salt glow n. a treatment done in salons that
involves rubbing the skin with an exfoliating
product made with salt or other gritty substance,
usually in an oil base; when done gently it
smoothes the skin and takes a layer of dead cells
off the skin
the killing or significant
reduction of the number of disease-causing
microorganisms to levels that are considered
safe by public health standards; sanitation is
the lowest of three levels of decontamination
sea salt
ridge fillers n. products
that are opaque and have a
thicker viscosity that are
used to even out nails that
are ridged; some ridge
fillers are multipurpose and
can also act as base coats
or nail treatments
Sea salt is harvested by channeling ocean
water into large clay trays and allowing the sun
and wind to evaporate the water naturally.
Manufacturers of sea salt typically do not refine
sea salt as much as other kinds of salt, so it still
contains traces of other minerals, including iron,
magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese,
zinc and iodine. Sea salt is combined with oils
and fragrances to create the very popular salt
scrubs used in salons and spas.
RPM (rotations per minute)
n. a term that describes how
fast an electric file rotates;
the higher the number, the faster the drill bit is
rotating; most responsible electric file users
recommend using low RPM on natural nails or when
finishing near the cuticle area, and using a higher
RPM for taking down product bulk (as in acrylic)
Russian sable n. the fine fur of an animal found
in northern Russia; used in nail care brushes
salicylic acid n. a main ingredient in betahydroxy acids; a mild acid used to remove the top
layer of skin
an agent capable of killing or
significantly reducing the
number of disease-causing
solutions and soaps
sculpt v. the technique
used to create a nail
extension without the use
of a tip; sculpting requires
a form to be attached
underneath the natural
nail’s free edge, then
product is applied in nail
shape to extend the length;
called sculpting because it
literally starts with a ball of
product that is molded or
“sculpted” into the shape of
a natural nail
the NAILS encyclopedia
resin n. a solid or semi-solid organic material that
has an indefinite and often very high molecular
weight, exhibits a tendency to flow when subjected
to stress or force, and will usually soften or melt
when heated; usually, uncross-linked polymers;
often inaccurately used to describe liquid acrylic
monomers and liquid cyanoacrylate (wrap)
monomers; the more appropriate term to use for
such materials is “liquid resin”
sculptured nails
artificial nails created by
fashioning or “sculpting” acrylic over the
underlying natural nail or on a nail form without
an artificial tip
sea salt n. salt that is obtained by evaporation
of sea water [see inset this page]
self-adhesive adj. refers to products that have
an adhesive already applied; usually refers to
wrap mesh that has been treated with an
adhesive for quick application
self-leveling adj. the property, usually used to
describe gel products or some acrylic products,
that allows it to even out on its own, without being
se - sp
pulled or patted or sculpted into form; products
that are self-leveling usually require less filing
than those that are not
sensitization n. the biological process of
becoming sensitive to a particular substance;
adverse reactions to a chemical resulting from
previous exposure to that chemical or one of a
similar type or structure
the NAILS encyclopedia
sensitizer n. a chemical that causes a
substantial proportion of exposed people or
animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal
tissue after repeated (or prolonged) exposure to
the chemical
shader brush
versatile brush with a
slightly tapered rectangular
head, good for backgrounds
and drawing larger images
treating and caring of the skin; estheticians are
licensed to treat the top layer of the skin
smile line n. the lengthwise point on a nail where
the nail bed ends and the free edge starts, it is a
half-circle that somewhat resembles a smile; also
used to describe the artificial creation of the same
line with acrylics, gels, or other enhancements [see
inset this page]
Solingen n. a city in Germany renowned for its
finely crafted metal implements [see page 127]
solvent n. a substance capable of dissolving
other solids or liquids, i.e.
water is called the “universal
smile line
spa n. there are different
kinds of spas and there is no
absolute definition; generally speaking it is a salontype environment where
shading v. in nail art, to
patrons partake in services
use a darker color to create
and therapies such as
shadow and depth in an
facials, massage, water
treatments, and nail care; it
is distinguished from a fullshelf life n. the amount of
service salon by its private
time a product will remain
For many nail technicians, achieving the
perfect smile line can be tricky. Generally, a
fresh after it is opened
smile line should mirror the shape of the
cuticle, so if you were to bend the nails in half
originally a spa was a place
side load v. in nail art, to
they should match. The sides should be just
someone would go for
load a brush with more
as high on each side and the center of the
several days for treatment
paint than water
center of the nail. The shape should be
(usually called a “destincentered, as the tip of a round nail should be.
ation spa”) where
sidewall n. the skin on
either side of the nail plate,
also known as the lateral nail fold, acts as a toward the corner-stones of a spa experience:
mind and body fitness, healthy eating, relaxation,
barrier against bacteria, fungi, and viruses
and treatments
silk n. a fiber made of protein derived from
splinter hemorrhage n. small areas of
bleeding under fingernails or toenails that take
ski jump nails n. nails that slope upward at the the shape of straight lines and may be caused
by microembolic damage to the vessels; appear
free edge
as narrow red to reddish brown hemorrhages
skin absorption n. the ability of certain beneath the nails that run in the direction of nail
chemicals to pass through the epidermis into the growth and are named splinter hemorrhage
dermis, where it may be transported into the because they have the appearance of a splinter
beneath the fingernail; may be caused by
microscopic clots that damage the small
skin care n. the art and science of cosmetic capillaries under the nails
st - ti
state board n. the governing and oversight body
for the cosmetology industries in each state; the
composition of state boards vary by state, and
authority varies widely [for a complete list of state
boards see page 52]
sterilization n. a multi-step process that achieves
the complete destruction of all living organisms on
an object or surface; sterilization is the highest of
three levels of decontamin-ation; this level is
virtually impossible to achieve in the salon
sterilizer n. a device or method used as
steps necessary in the
sterilization process
absorption, or flow of a liquid on a solid surface
tamboret n. a small cabinet, usually on rollers,
that salon professionals use to store supplies
tanning v. process in which skin pigmentation
darkens as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light
tea tree oil n. also known as melaleuca, it is
extracted from the leaves of the Australian tea
tree for its antiseptic and
antibacterial uses [see inset
this page]
stippling v. in nail art,
marks made by dabbing a
loaded brush against a
teratogen n. a substance
that may cause abnormal
fetal development or birth
striper brush n. a brush
with a few long hairs;
efficient for elongated
vertical or horizontal lines
thixotropic n. the ability
of a liquid to become
thinner (lower viscosity)
when mixed or stirred, but
that will return to its
original viscosity when the
mixing action is halted
stripette brush n. a
shorter version of the
striper brush, creates
vertical and horizontal lines
but in shorter strokes
stylus dots n. in nail art,
paint dots made using the
tip of a pointed instrument
sunscreen n.
ultraviolet light
Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic ingredient
with broad-spectrum antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties, as well as excellent
solvency and dermal penetration. Its antifungal
properties have been known to reduce fungusrelated ailments such as athlete’s foot and
cracked heels. As a preventative, it can
combat foot odor and sweaty feet. There are a
multitude of professional nail and skin care
products that include tea tree oil as an active
any substance that absorbs
sunsetting n. the practice of reviewing and
evaluating the need for a state’s licensing
regulations, which occurs every few years in
most U.S. states; most states periodically review
the need for regulating certain industries (not
just cosmetology) and may decide to change the
oversight of the industry, deregulate the
industry, or keep all regulations in place
surfactant n. an acronym for Surface Active
Agent; surfactants improve the wetting,
thymol n. a white, crystalline,
aromatic com-pound derived
from thyme oil and other oils
or made synthetically and
used as an antiseptic,
a fungicide, and a preservative
the NAILS encyclopedia
tea tree oil
tips n. a broad term describing pre-molded
artificial fingernails that are adhered to the
natural nail to create an extension; typically
made from ABS plastic or tinite acetate; (2) the
extra monies given to a service worker on top of
the service price
TLV (threshold limit value) n. NIOSHestablished inhalation exposure limits; usually
expressed in parts per million; it is the
concentration of a substance in the air
that can be breathed in a normal 40-hour
work week by most people without suffering
adverse effects
to - vi
toluene n. a colorless flammable liquid used as
a solvent in lacquers
top coat n. a colorless polish that is applied over
colored polish to prevent chipping and add shine
to the finished nail
Top 25 Competitors n. a ranking or listing in
order of the 25 nail competitors who have won the
most contests; devised by NAILS Magazine in 1993
to track the top competitors
the NAILS encyclopedia
toxic adj. poisonous; ability (or property) of
a substance to produce a
harmful or lethal effect on
humans and for the
toxicity n. the quality or
degree of being poisonous or
harmful to plant or animal life
tradeshow n. an event
where manufacturers and
salon professionals gather
to buy and sell products,
educational events, and
meet and network with
other professionals
ultraviolet (UV) light n. usually refers to the
safer, long-wave UV-A
(350-400 nm) portion of
the spectrum and should
not include the more
UV-B light (250-275 nm);
responsible for yellowing
of artificial nail coatings
[see inset this page]
When all the wavelengths of the visible light
spectrum strike your eye at the same time,
white is perceived. That is why visible light is
sometimes referred to as white light.
Technically speaking, white is not a color at all,
but rather the combination of all the colors of
the visible light spectrum. Ultraviolet light is a
form of radiation that is not visible to the human
eye. It’s in an invisible part of the
“electromagnetic spectrum.” Though some
ultraviolet waves from the sun penetrate Earth’s
atmosphere, most of them are blocked from
entering by various gases like ozone.
triclosan n. an antibacterial ingredient found
in antibacterial soaps
ultrasonic adj. having frequencies above
those of audible sound
UV light
visible light
treatment n. a salon
service, generally considered
cosmetic but done to tend
to a specific concern; another word for a
product that “treats” the nail (used
interchangeably with “strengthener”)
tuberculocidal adj.
bacterium tuberculosis
UL listed adj. a product adhering to standards
of Underwriters Laboratories, an independent,
non-profit testing laboratory organized for the
purpose of investigating products and materials
with respect to hazards affecting life and
able to kill myco-
tweezers n. small pincers, usually metal,
used for plucking or handling small objects;
nail artists often use tweezers to pick up
rhinestones or other small adornments for
precise placement on the nail
Pharmacopeia) n. an
organization that develops
and recommends proper
procedures for the accurate
testing for foods and drugs
UV absorber
substance that absorbs
damaging ultraviolet light
vapor n. the gas formed by the evaporation
of liquids, i.e. solvents; this term is often
incorrectly confused with “fumes”
ventilation systems n. systems that collect
dust and vapors and then discharge them from
the building or workplace; does not include
systems that attempt to remove contaminants
from the breathing air or improve circulation of
the air about the workplace
virucide n. an agent (physical or chemical) that
inactivates or destroys viruses
vi - yl
viscosity n. the measure of a liquid’s ability
to flow; closely related to the apparent thickness
(or thinness) of the liquid; viscosity is usually
measured in units called Cps
visible light n. wavelengths of light that are
visible to the eye; the color spectrum; violet
(400 nm) to red (780 nm)
vitamin E n. an important
antioxidant that neutralizes
free radicals in the body
which can absorb water; cleaning is done with
implements and solutions rather than by soaking
waxing v. a method of removing unwanted
body hair using hot or cold wax
wellness n. an overall philosophy associated
with an individual’s lifestyle which, through a
combination of exercise, diet, and mental wellbeing can reduce health care utilization and costs
wetting n. the ability or ease of a liquid to
spread out and uniformly cover a surface
volatile adj. a measure of
how quickly or easily a
liquid will form vapors at
room temperature; the
volatility), the faster the
substance will evaporate
volatile organic compounds
(VOC) n. compounds that
contain carbon, oxygen,
hydrogen, chlorine, and
other atoms that can
evaporate easily into the
atmosphere; found in
nature as well as in some
glues, solvents, and paints
white block n. a type of
nail file, shaped like a small
rectangular block, which is
used to buff the nail to
either remove oils or ridges
as part of nail prep, also
used to finish and buff nails
to a shine
word of mouth
advertising generated by
satisfied or interested
clients who tell others
about a salon
Many salons and spas are capitalizing on the
growing popularity of wellness and taking care of
one’s body by offering services that help nurture
both mind and body. Take a look at any salon
service menu and you’re likely to find services
that incorporate all-natural ingredients, massage,
and aromatherapy, among other extras.
wrap system n. see nail wrap
walk-in n. clients who visit the salon without
an appointment
wash v. in nail art, to thin paint with water,
making it transparent; used to create a
translucent image
waterless manicure n. a manicure service that
does not require the client to soak her hands in
water at any point; thought by some to enhance
adhesion of nail polish and to be better for nails,
worker’s compensation
system established
under state law that
provides payments, without regard to fault, to
employees injured in the
course and scope of their
the NAILS encyclopedia
virus n. any of a large group of submicroscopic,
infective agents that are regarded as either very
simple microorganisms or as complex
molecules; viruses can only reproduce in living
cells, causing a wide variety of diseases in man,
lower animals, and plants
yeast n. a type of fungus that infects human
yellowing n. the discoloration and breakdown
of artificial nail coatings by ultraviolet light,
excessive heat, or chemical contaminants
ylang-ylang n. an oil or perfume obtained
from the flowers of the ylang-ylang tree ■
Originally published in NAILS 2004 - 2005 The Big Book. © 2004 The Big Book