Caitlin Iley

#NowTrending: Beachy gemstone nail art by Toni Sullivan

By Callie Iley | 09 February 2021 | Feature, Tech Talk

Toni Sullivan Header Pic

Scratch chats with Toni Sullivan of Hands On about her hopes for the future, and how she created this beautiful beachy gemstone nail design.

I qualified in beauty in 2009. It was when I qualified that I found a strong love for nails. I worked in a local beauty salon, Ema’s Nails & Beauty, for 10 years, while setting up my own little business in my mum’s hair salon from 2011. The week before the March 2020 lockdown, I decided to leave the team at Ema’s Salon to put all of my focus into Hands On.

Lockdown gave me a great opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge, allowing me to totally push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve always had a passion for art and design from a young age. You would find me drawing pictures, mainly of wedding dresses, but also I remember drawing around my hand and drawing nails on with funky designs on them.

My signature nail style is really difficult to pin down! I’m all about natural nails and enhancing what I have to work with.

When it comes to nail art, I love trying new things, so I rarely do the same design twice – other than tortoiseshell, which is a firm favourite. I absolutely love using blooming gel.

Creating designs with this means each nail is slightly different, it’s always super exciting to see the end result! My favourite products to use are from The Gel Bottle Inc, Bio Sculpture, Home of Nail Art, Magpie Beauty, and Nail Stamping Queen. This is just a small selection – the list is never ending. There’s so much out there I still want to try.

How to

For this design, I started with The Gel Bottle Inc’s Marshmallow. I applied two coats and cured. Next, using a brush, I applied Cancer Flakes from the incredible zodiac collection, purchased from Home of Nail Art, over the whole nail.

I then applied a layer of matte top coat and cured. I wiped with remover on a lint free pad, then again from Home of Nail Art, I used their Jewel Stickers to create the gemstone effect. I find they stick down much better when applied to a matte surface. I encapsulated these with The Gel Bottle Inc’s Clear Builder in a Bottle, then cured the nail and finished off with the Extreme Shine Top Coat from The Gel Bottle.

To now have a job which gives so much creative freedom, allowing me to create little pieces of art for each client, is a dream. The way that clients trust and confide in you is a huge part of the job which I adore.

Just to feel like you have made a difference to someone’s day for the better… There’s no better feeling!

In the past few years, I have seen an insane amount of support on social media for everyone in this industry. Years ago, you would never approach another tech to ask what they have used, but now all I can say is ‘wow’. It’s a community of the most incredibly inspiring people, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

I’d have to say the highlight of my career was when I was asked to go to Italy for a wedding! Aside from nails, I also do event hair and makeup. This was a huge opportunity for me. They flew me out there a few days beforehand, for a day of manicures and pedicures, then on the day itself, I was doing the wedding party’s hair and makeup. It was probably one of the craziest, most exciting weekends of my life – let alone my career – and I am forever grateful to them for choosing me.

Currently, with two small children, my work hours are limited. I can not wait to get back to full time nails and growing my business further. I would absolutely love to be a brand ambassador for one of the many amazing nail suppliers out there. For now, I’m striving to be the best I can be for my lovely clients, and seeing where it takes me.

Follow Toni’s nail journey on Instagram, here.