Tech talk: Jessica Hinds, Polished by Jess Leeds

By Sophie Nutt | 29 April 2020 | Feature, Tech Talk

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Scratch learns more about the career story of talented nail artist, Jessica Hinds of Polished by Jess Leeds

How did you get into the nail industry?
Stepping into the nail industry for me was, believe it or not, a huge weight off my shoulders. In 2016 I had just had my second child and after maternity leave I went back to my office job in the recruitment/HR sector. I was full of dread at the prospect of having to leave two children each day to drag myself to a job I hated. Instead of enjoying the bliss of a newborn, I was counting down the weeks until my return date with a huge pit in my stomach.

Jessica Hinds

I decided I wanted to learn something new while I had the time away from work and see where it could lead me. I’ve always been creative and studied fine art at university but never really knew how to make much money from a creative outlet. I’ve always had my nails done and was fascinated watching my nail technician working with acrylic beads, patting and pulling, and still finding the time to talk to clients and doubling up as a therapist – so I thought ‘why not‘?!

By the time my daughter was three months old I had found my nearest course with a Young Nails educator called Jessica McNamara, and that was it. I knew if I pushed myself, by the time I had to return to work I could be qualified and have my ticket out of the office. While I was working on my portfolio I created a set of nails on a friend who was a nail technician – she introduced me to INK London and its been a pure love affair ever since!

As soon as I returned to work I handed in my notice and I’ve been working as a self-employed nail tech (and unofficial therapist) in the same salon I was once a client of ever since.

What products do you love working with?
I am an INK London nail technician to the core! I offer gel polish, acrylic and recently trained in INK London’s hard gel system, iJel, with Tracy McGoogan. I love using INK London products because they are a British brand with their own in-house chemist so I can trust their products and the customer service is just perfect. If they don’t have what you are looking for and they can make it to their standard, they will. The fluid rubber base coat, Flubber, took my problematic gel polish clients from three-to-four nails left on at their next appointment to perfectly grown out nails every time – it’s really changed my service.

Who inspires you?
I love a maverick artist. If you’re out there and a little weird and different for your time, I’m a fan.

How would you describe your signature nail style?
I love to sculpt a beautiful almond nail! My nail style is always changing, I try not to follow other techs too much and take a lot of inspiration from mood boards I find, fabric prints and patterns. Ceramics are really catching my attention at the moment, too! I’m happiest when a client wants something I have never done before as I love pushing myself to create new, beautiful designs.

What are your favourite nail looks to create?
I love creating abstract nails with layers and depth, mixing shapes and textures. I absolutely love when a client gives me free reign. I sometimes get a little sideways look but it’s all worth it when they see where it’s going and I get that ‘a-ha!’ moment from them. My clients trust me, allowing me to push them outside of their go-to styles to create beautiful designs they may not have thought of.

What is the highlight of your career so far?
The highlight of my short career so far would be coming out of my shell and seeing a number of my clients become friends. I’m at my best when I’m outside of my comfort zone and I never stand still, my next goal is to become an educator and help others make a new career for themselves like I have.

An abstract step-by-step…

  1. Paint a base layer of INK London Cover Flubber.
  2. Using a short, square nail art brush, paint short strokes around the nail in the same direction leaving space in between. I have used INK London iLAc i-74 Ink&Co.
  3. Top coat with INK London Velvet Matte Top Coat, this will stop the foil from sticking to unwanted areas.
  4. Using INK London Foil Gel, turn the short square brush on its side and paint short strokes in the same pattern as before, making sure to leave sections of the base layer visible. Cure and apply INK London Additions Foil in Sienna. Using a thin liner brush and dotting tool, paint thin lines and small dots over the remaining base layer using INK London iLac i-161 Asgard.
  5. Using a thin liner brush and dotting tool, paint thin lines and small dots over the remaining base layer. Cure and top with INK London Rock + Top Coat.

Follow Jessica’s nail journey on her Instagram page!