Here’s what you really need in your nail tech starter kit & why you shouldn’t buy from just anywhere

By Michelle Brookes | 20 December 2023 | Expert Advice, Feature

Training Nail Desk

There are generally two types of students I see starting out in the nail industry; those who buy everything possible, and those who are on a tight budget and buy inferior products.

Sometimes, I look at the kits of my students and see that they have more stock than me! I understand that starting out in nails is exciting, but you need to consider what you’re buying – and where you’re buying it from.

The core products that those new to nails need are:

  • A quality set of implements: a dual ended cuticle pusher/tool, cuticle nippers, sharp nail scissors and clippers.
  • Brushes: don’t buy too many. Ask your tutor for advice and go with their recommendation.
  • LED lamp: ensure your nail lamp matches the gel system you intend to use.  If you’re unsure, wait and purchase once you know.
  • Gel/acrylic kit: stick to one brand per system, as if you invest in multiple brands, you will need to purchase multiple lamps, which is expensive. I advise buying what you use in college, as this is what you will be practicing with, and using the same brand will help you master the technique sooner. If for any reason you don’t like what is used in college, please contact various brands and purchase small trial kits so that you can try a range of products and find something that works for you.

When & where to buy

I always advise my students to wait, and not buy anything until they start their nail course. I have seen students buy many products and waste lots of money, from over-buying stock or buying inferior products. I do however have a kit available if students want to purchase it and collect on the first day of their course.

When starting a training course, the tutor should inform you about reputable sources for the purchase of nail products. Many companies will only sell to qualified nail technicians and they require their customers to create an account and upload their certificate to see prices. This can scare new nail techs, as they believe they can’t go to these brands. It is the job of an educator to explain this to the students on their first lesson and explain that they can order. Generally, a letter from the college to upload instead of a certificate is enough to be approved.

I teach for Louella Belle and I always advise all my students to join and set up an account, even if they aren’t going to order yet. Having an account with them means that you are on their mailing list and will access their offers and training webinars .

The advice I give my students is not to purchase products from Amazon or eBay, as the products generally aren’t regulated. There are also a lot of fake items branded in the bottles of popular brands. When I first entered the industry I learned the hard way, as I ordered a bottle of EzFlow monomer from Amazon as I had run out and my supplier was out of stock. When it arrived, it was a clear liquid, rather than purple, and it had such a strong odour. I tell little stories like this to my students, as it keeps my lessons personal and lets them know we have all been in that situation at some point in our life.

A reputable product distributor will always provide you with SDS sheets when requested. As a professional, you need access to these and if any brand ignores or refuses, this is a warning that they aren’t reputable or trustworthy. You want to work with a brand who will back you if any problems arise in the future.

It can be daunting when starting out but my advice is to take it steady and buy as you need. Collect your products over time and don’t rush. There’s plenty of time to add to your kit!