Working as a session nail technician by Natalie Pencille

Working as a session nail technician by Natalie Pencille

Working as a session nail technician by Natalie Pencille

We caught up with one of our AMB nail technicians Natalie (On The Go Ldn) to give us an insight of what it is like to be a session nail artist and some tips on how to get into the industry.

I have been a beauty therapist for 18 years and 6 of those years have been spent as a nail tech. For the last 3 years I have been able to do something I have always wanted to do, work as a session nail tech. I have loved working in salons and within spas but there was a point where I no longer felt I could continue in the basement working in candlelight trying not to fall asleep under the hypnotic sound of spa music.

I wanted to be in a fast-paced environment doing something I love, Nails! 

The fashion industry is the perfect environment as a nail tech to expand your skills outside of the industry norms and I made sure to improve my skills and kit to meet the high standards. It has given me the opportunity to assist on some amazing shoots, including the Elle cover with Stormzy and friends assisting Saffron Goddard for Saint Luke Artists.

If assisting is something you would like to do, here are my 5 top tips to get started.

Keep Your Social Media Professional
Your media platforms are your portfolios, and an interesting, well presented account will give you the opportunity to show case some of your best work.

Have A Website
A website is another great way to present yourself in a professional manner, not just for potential collaborations or industry work, but for potential clients to see you outside of 140 characters or images. Your AMB profile is also amazing to showcase your work!

Develop A Session Kit
A session kit is the type of kit you have ready at the last minute. I tend to keep that kit separate from my client kit so that I know exactly what I need. A lot of the time you are given products by sponsors but I recommend a set of soft 100/180 nail files, buffer blocks and glue never go a miss. I tend to put odd little bits, such as pipettes and wig tape for those shows where we are working with press on nails. 

A See-Through Make Up Bag And Hand Luggage Case
I love working at London Fashion Week as these shows move rapidly, with limited time and lots of models. So a see-through carry case means I do not need to rummage around my bag and everything is easily accessible. I also use a hand luggage suitcase especially for these shows as they are neat and compact.

Contact Your Favourite Nail Tech
If there is a nail tech I want to work with I contact them direct. They receive tons of emails a day so make sure you address them by name and point them in the direction to see your work. It does not always work, but if they know you are free for assisting you may get a last-minute call!

It is important to remember that a high level of expertise is needed for these environments. It is not an easy job and I even watched an interview with long standing professional Marian Newman comment that as a nail tech, you are not always recognised as being valuable on set. That is when you need to reassure yourself that you have worked hard as a nail tech and your skill set is priceless. Money is not usually the driving force since invoicing is a timely exercise and it can take months before they are cleared, but just with many things the passion and drive is what will sustain you!

Once lockdown ends, I cannot wait to get back out there!

Blog Author

On The Go LDN