Caitlin Iley

TECH TALK: Rachel Willis of Rachel Willis Nails & Education

By Callie Iley | 12 December 2020 | Feature, Tech Talk

Rachel Willis Header Pic

Scratch catches up with Rachel Willis of Rachel Willis Nails & Education about her journey through the nail world and her passion for teaching & learning…

I have over 30 nail training certificates; including beginners’ manicure, to extreme nail shapes and nail art.

My first course was an online L&P acrylic course, which took me over a year to complete, and my most current course is an airbrush nail art course with airflow systems. I have travelled to many different countries to advance my skills and knowledge, learning with some of the best nail artists from around the world.

My favourite courses to advance in are extreme shapes, Russian manicure, and advanced nail art techniques. I believe that you can never do enough training, and doing the same course more than once also gives me more in-depth knowledge. There is always something new to learn!

I like to create a variety of designs, from simple gel polish work, to 4D acrylic characters. In the salon I cover a vast number of mediums and techniques, but I do love to complete box art entries for competitions, as I love the challenge of combining many techniques to create a whole art piece. The level of satisfaction it provides me is second to none.

I wholeheartedly believe in great products and tools. If you don’t have these, then your work will not be the best it can be. I only use the best products and tools for all my work.

One of my favourite brands to use is Color Club. My favourite products from the ranges are definitely the gel polishes. They are very pigmented and contain the highest quality of ingredients. That being said, my ultimate product from the entire range is the One And Done Top Gel Top Coat. It cures to an extremely high shine, and stays that way until my clients next appointment. I also use this to add a little bit of an apex for added strength when needed on a natural nail.

As for my go-to Color Club gel polish shade, it would have to be Take It Or Leaf It. I think the title makes you think it would be a green colour, but it’s an absolutely stunning lilac hue, and the coverage is amazing.



One bit of advice that’s stuck with me for years now was given to me by Anita Podoba. She said to me, ‘you always try to be the same, but be you. Use the skill taught in your own way.

I always wanted to be perfect and create everything to the perfection I saw in others, to the point where I now feel that it held me back. This advice changed my mindset completely.

Over the years I’ve created my own styles and perfected my techniques, but it’s still always a work in progress.

This really helped me to discover myself as well as helping me see what I can offer to others. Now I’m not so judgmental of myself and try not to compare with other nail artists. We are all great, and are all on a constant journey!


One of my most memorable and fun evenings nights was the Scratch Stars Awards party, when I was there for the second time. I had got through to the finals for One Stroke Nail Artist of the Year and also Gel Polish Stylist of the Year.

I went with my husband and we had such a great evening with all the other nail techs. I met Rylan Clark-Neal, and got him to record a video for my mother as she loves him, and was really jealous of us going without her – sorry mam! We ended up going around London afterwards, and eventually found ourselves in a casino. The whole night was just so much fun. Hopefully I get to do it again one year.

Follow Rachel’s nail journey on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.