Senior shares passion for nails

Lewis+models+her+hands+which+she+painted+for+her+eighteenth+birthday.

Lewis models her hands which she painted for her eighteenth birthday.

Maria Silvidi, Editor

Getting nails done can be relaxing. Choosing the color and watching the nail artist do their magic can be mesmerizing. Ellie Lewis has taken this hobby to give herself and others decorated nails. This could be for a special event or casual wear. People go to Ellie Lewis for her fun designs and satisfying experience.

Senior Ellie Lewis has many creative hobbies including theatre, choir and show choir. She recently got interested in painting nails and now spends time doing other people’s nails to practice her skill.

Lewis explained how her hobby started during quarantine. 

“I had acrylics over quarantine, and I looked up videos to soak them off. I used to always have nails on all the time, so I didn’t want them to be bare. I went to Sally Hansen, and they had a bunch of press on nails, and I bought some premade ones and just did those for a while,” Lewis said.

A friend of Lewis’s suggested she start adding her own color to the nails since she already had the materials to do so.

“Then my friend [said], ‘oh, you should file off the color and use your own paint’ because I had gel at home. I started painting my own [nails,] and I would post them [online] once in a while once I started doing designs. People [thought], ‘oh, this looks really cool, could I get you to do mine’ and it just grew from there,” Lewis said. 

Lewis explained her process when doing someone’s nails. The start of the process consists of prepping the nail and the skin around the nail.

“Firstly, I file the sides to round them and cut them if [the person] wants them a little shorter. Then I push back the cuticle with a cuticle pusher; that just gives more traction for the nail bed in the tips because I use full length gel tips; I don’t do acrylic. It’s like a gel overlay that is more healthy for the nail and popular. I drill some of the cuticles lightly with this one drill I have. I usually cut the dry skin and tissue [if needed],” Lewis said. 

Then Lewis starts to apply the plastic tips and add color. 

“I then size the top to the nail, file the inside of the tip and apply them with glue. I put on the base coat and put any color or designs they want with the top coat. I then file it again to make sure the shape is crisp, and then I put some cuticle oil on [their hands],” Lewis said. 

Lewis has been practicing doing designs that people ask to have on their nails. This could range from stars, flowers, dots and lines to add something special to the nail. Lewis explains how she does the detailed work on the nail.

“I have this fake geo slab. It’s kind of like a painter’s palette that I use for nails. I put little swatches on them and little lumps of polish. I use a small designing brush and dotting tools if they are getting dots or flowers. I just put any dots of polish I want for the design, and I dip all sides of the brush and wipe off the excess [because] it has to be a pretty solid base of [paint] or it’ll just come out really unsmooth and patchy. I cure the paint slab after so I can stack it on top and not have to clean [the palette] every time,” Lewis said. 

Lewis explained how long the process takes overall to get a nail set done from her.

“If it’s just a basic set, I would say 45 minutes to an hour. If it’s more of a complicated design, depending on the length [and] shape they are wanting; If they are wanting more of a round shape, it takes me a  [bit longer]. I have to make sure they are uniform because the coffin [shape] is easier to make uniform. [For] round you have to have them the same width. Usually when it’s complex like that, I would say an hour fifteen to an hour thirty,” Lewis said. 

Lewis takes photos after every session since her first client to look back at her work and her progress. She puts them on social media to see if anyone else is interested in getting nails done.

“I just made a reel story on Instagram to advertise [my hobby] but also show my progress because I’ve definitely improved within the past year. In just prep, cleanliness, design work and keeping in the lines of the cuticle,” Lewis said.

Lewis talked about how often she has to stock up on products to continue applying nails. “I restock every two to three weeks just depending on how many tips I have [and] how many nails I’ve been doing that week. I only have to restock on nail bits because I try to change them between people. I have to buy cuticle clippers every month because I use a UV light to clean all my stuff, but obviously at the end of the day, you’ll need to buy new equipment eventually,” Lewis said.

Lewis explained that she uses mostly products from Sally Hansen or Amazon. As she has been practicing her skill, she has found that certain nail polish works for her best.

“On Amazon, they have a lot of gel Beetle polish. They are pretty good. They are really opaque, and I don’t have to use too much of it. They do get a little thick, so I try to buy a certain type of them. You can tell by the bottle, so I buy the miniature bottle because they tend to have more of a liquidity consistency. I like working with that better than a thicker polish so it doesn’t get clumpy,” Lewis said.

Since Lewis has been doing nails, she has her favorite and least favorite nails to do.  Her favorite consists of a nude nail with some fun designs. Her least favorite has to do mostly with difficulty of application with that kind of product you have to do to achieve the look.

“Anything that has to do with the base of black polish is always harder for me just because black gel polish is so hard to not flood the cuticle. You have to be so careful and [everything] matters. I like my matte top coat, but it’s hard to work with. If you miss the tiniest section or it’s not even, you will notice when it turns matte. [It] basically has to be a perfect application,” Lewis said. 

Lewis is considering continuing her skill after high school.

“I’m definitely going to bring it to college. I have a couple of friends that will be seniors when I’m a freshman and they’re like, ‘oh, you have to come, I really want you to do my nails.’ All the people I’m talking to for roommates [said] ‘oh, I saw you do nails. That’d be so cool if we were roommates.’ So I’m going to keep it,” Lewis said. 

Lewis’s mother Margie Lewis talked about her thoughts on her daughter’s hobby.

“I think it’s great she enjoys it a lot . . . . It caught me by surprise that she wanted to [paint nails],” Mrs. Lewis said. 

Junior Izzy Gardner was one of the first people to get her nails done by Lewis. 

“I got my nails done originally for prom, and [the salon I went to] didn’t do a good job.  Ellie and I were talking about [nails] when she had just started her nail [hobby]. She offered to fix them up a little bit [before prom],” Gardner said.

Gardner was happy with her result and would go to Lewis again if she wanted to get her nails done.

“I don’t get my nails done often, but if I did, I would go to her,” Gardner said.

Lewis continues to work on her skill throughout the year and give people quality nails. She is happy that people enjoy nails, having the hobby come from something small she did during quarantine to booking appointments for people to come over and do people’s nails regularly. Lewis is excited to take her skill outside of high school and expand on her abilities.