Caitlin Iley

Nail Tech Talk: Alex Hilton of By Alex

By Callie Iley | 24 June 2023 | Feature, Tech Talk

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York-based nail artist, Alex Hilton of By Alex details what she loves most about the nail industry and shares her plans for the future of By Alex

Alex Hilton

“I’ve always had an interest in the beauty industry,” Alex remembers. “From the young age of about 11 years old, I would ask for nail polishes, brushes and gems for my birthday or Christmas. I soon had a huge collection and would spend hours painting mine, my mum’s, my sisters and my friend’s nails.

“I specifically remember some marble and Converse nails that I was particularly proud of. My love for nail art never stopped, and I finally trained professionally years later.”

“I always dreamt of running my own business,” she shares. “I trained in gel nails in 2019, and was due to start at Ossie Studio in April 2020, but lockdown prevented the studio from opening.

“Since starting at Ossie, I finally plucked up the courage in April 2023 with the support and encouragement of my boyfriend, friends, family and clients, I quit my office job to take on full time self-employment and focus fully on nails.”

“I can honestly say that becoming a nail tech is the best decision I ever could have made.”

“The highlight of my career so far would have to be coming in the Top 10 in the The UK Hair and Beauty Awards 2022 in the gel nails category.

“Another highlight was finally taking the leap to make my passion my focus in 2023 when I made the decision to become self-employed.”

“Greens are very in with my clients at the moment, as well bright contrasting colours with lots of pinks, oranges and reds. Mix and match sets are also very popular at the moment, and using pigments to create ombres and fades. Minimal nails will also always have a place in my heart and this is very popular with my clients, too.

“I’m forever changing my own nails; a long almond shape is my favourite, but not always practical for work, so I’m loving shorter nails currently. I love experimenting with new designs and techniques so I often use Holo Taco Peely Base so I can create multiple looks in one day. I love to treat myself and support other local nail techs too – there’s nothing more relaxing than a nail appointment and it’s always great to speak with others in the industry!”

“I love how supportive and friendly the industry is. I speak with a lot of other nail artists on Instagram and we are always happy to support each other and share tips and tricks.

“The biggest winner would have to be my clients though,” Alex smiles. “I say this all the time – I get to meet so many interesting people and get to learn about their lives.”

Alex has plans to pursue mental health first aid training in the future, noting that she wants her clients to be assured in knowing they’re coming to someone who cares. “Lots can be discussed in a nail appointment, so it’s important to me to do this.

“I would also love to do some brand collaborations – this was a big goal I’ve set for myself in 2023,” she shares. “I would also love to become an educator in the future, passing on my love for the industry to others wanting to start their own journey, but I would say this is a longer term goal.”

Follow By Alex on Instagram, here.