“What are Beauty Workshops?”

You know my co-techs, over the years I’m sure you have seen that our poor clients are bombarded with ads for so many fashion trends/tools/products on a regular basis from sites like Pinterest and tv ads that it can be hard to tell what’s a gimmick versus what is fact. You know, just like us with our professional stuff.

I find myself empathetic to their level of confusion when it comes to explaining the stuff we use to help them look their personal best. We as beauty pros are also mentally drowned in “The next best thing” to help us do our job safer, cleaner, quicker, cheaper, and overall better.

Clients, some of us pros get so frustrated with products and techniques that let us down serving you.  Just because it’s pro-level, doesn’t mean it’s going to fit into what our clients need, so oftentimes we just stick with what we know.

We’ll plug our fingers into our ears and do the same techniques and products we learned about in our first 5 years out of beauty school, thinking it’s the only proven method, or we’ll get more wild and crazy in our technique and products we decide to use after competing in beauty competition shows without deeply knowing the product or how to use it.

We’ll also try to learn a new product deeply by watching people try to hack it on YouTube and hurt themselves/clients through trial and error.

I used to think Pinterest and YouTube were cool for ideas of how to do new things, until I saw that there was more rumor mill/photoshop crap going on than actual information.

So What do We do to Actually Learn Stuff, to Prove What We Know in Our Products and How to Apply Them?

Product Workshops are a Good Start.

To help you determine what goes on in product workshops, and to save you some time and money in figuring out which type of workshop is the best fit for your professional needs, I bought a ticket to and attended a Light Elegance 8 hour workshop to show you what it’s like.

Just like everything else in the world, there are pros and cons to them.

Clients, I would like to first give you the lowdown on product and technique workshops so you can see what it’s about, and to assess if you would benefit from doing your homework on your nail tech to see if they have attended them.

Techs, stay tuned because we’re going to also investigate more into the details about a Light Elegance workshop than the website lists so you can determine if you should consider attending one.

I want to talk about why I chose this company to purchase a workshop ticket from as opposed to others at Premiere the weekend of the show. The first reason I selected this brand to attend is because of the company background.

What’s the Company Background Story for Light Elegance?

Light Elegance was created and still owned by a husband and wife team Jim and Lezlie McConnell. Jim is a widely respected polymer chemist and is the science behind the product. Lezlie was a salon owner/manager and is the voice for clients and nail techs regarding product performance. Their company operates out of Oregon.

Light Elegance is not owned by any other company, and the owners are very hands on with their clients. Their products are formulated, developed, and manufactured in the United States.

They have workshops you can pay to attend, or lots of online courses through their website. I found this comforting as a new tech in her first year of licensure. Multiple other companies are like ‘hey buy our kit for hundreds of dollars, but good luck figuring it out and you can’t get a refund’. Thanks asshole.

Ok, so now that you know more about the background of this company, let’s get into some client detail questions about beauty workshops and why they matter.

As a Client, How Would a Nail Tech that Attends Workshops help you Achieve your Nail Goals?

Beauty school teaches you FOUR basic things for a nail tech license: Manicures, pedicures, pink and white acrylics, regular clear acrylics. That’s it.

My instructor was exceptional in that she taught us everything once we mastered the four, did our hours of services for state requirements, and whatever else was mandatory first. She taught us encapsulation, filing, efiling, gels (we had to buy our own supplies of course), nail art, nail trends…she was great.

Beauty school has you read a Milady book about technique, styles, and sanitation of tools…aaaand most schools are not up to date AT ALL. Mine had me read from a book dated in the 1990’s and I only graduated in 2015. Things have changed exponentially since then in the real beauty world *lulz*.

Most of the time you practice on a plastic hand, or on other students. It didn’t really prepare you how to put sets on people that had poor quality nails, since everyone in class was obviously interested in nails so they took care of their hands.

If you want styles/colors/patterns/products that are not from the 90’s (seriously, the setup for an acrylic appointment reminded me of a surgeon’s operating tool table!), then you will want to have someone taking care of your nails/hair/skin that attends workshops.

Did you know that the first nail drills were actually bits screwed onto hardware drills? That’s why they’re called Dremels/drills in discount salons. They suck. Beauty school doesn’t teach you how to use them, at least the typical ones. So if you don’t want your nails to smell like burnt hair and hurt from that kind of filing, you will want to go to someone that has a certification for efile work. That is taught at the out of pocket expense of your nail tech too, unless they’re going to be awesome like me and have enough brains in their head to pay for their employees to be certified in using their intended equipment.

Those red rings of fire = your tech doesn’t know how to use an e-file. RUN. RUN AWAY AND SAAAAAVE YOURSELF! Ugh. Honestly, if your tech is putting THAT much product on you where they would need an efile THAT MUCH to take it all back off, they’re not good at putting product on either. Just like makeup, a little goes a long way. More is not better in this industry. E-filing is like the finishing touch on extension work, not the workhorse.


 Nail Techs, Here are Your Answers to : What Happens at a Beauty Workshop? Why Does it Cost so Much?

  1. Workshops are  usually broken into two big sections: Technique of product, and then “learn this trendy thing so you will be enticed to buy more stuff”. I really don’t like doing nail art. Ugh.
  2. You’ll will be able to try out a lot of different products that the company producing the workshop sells, instead of them having to buy it and hope that it works.
  3. If you’ve been using the product, you can ask specific troubleshooting questions during your application to get the one on one help that is not available on periscope, instagram, snapchat, ect. I love social media as much as the next person, but I would get stumped more times than not on parts that I couldn’t get any answers to from any FAQ page that I got answered here.
  4. You get to take a substantial amount of product home as part of the fee you’ve paid.
  5. You get discounts usually at the workshop if they do not man a booth at the accompanying show.
  6. The workshop is usually taught by an educator that knows their product line very well.
  7. Most people are too chicken to ask questions, so if you come prepared with some you’ll have the floor to yourself for questioning *lulz like I did, I’m so rude*.

You get info on the chemical makeup of the product to be able to explain to clients how the process works or why it costs more than that burning garbage the discount salon slapped onto their nails before they came to you.

I liked Light Elegance’s hard gels, and since they have so many it was nice to be able to test them out with my own lamp to know which ones I may want to carry in my salon.

I didn’t really like that all of their color gels were hard gels too though, a lot of clients get skiddish when it comes to having to file the color off and hurting their nailbed by inexperienced or uncertified e-file using technicians. Their P+ line is not their pride and joy either; it seemed more like a submission from industry customer pressure to push out a gel polish.

Their color gels are nice and opaque; two coats really cover nails nicely. Their forte seems to be pigment, shine, and opaqueness without wrinkling. I learned I like to put the cool gel on first, then fiber (the natural color one looks like natural free edge – the clear one will be cloudy because of the fiberglass in it), then color, then extreme, then topcoat if you really want it, although it goes on like polish.

It was also nice that the owners were there in person to answer any question that our educator, World renowned nail technician and Next Top Nail Artist finalist Celina Ryden, could not answer. Celina uses Light Elegance for her work in Sweden, so it was fun to see her do her magic right in front of you. Her personality was very engaging, entertaining, and authentic.

Depending on if the product meets the different criteria I have set for my salon, I will also attend other workshops to let you know how they go.

Are there workshops for products or techniques you have attended that you have liked, or would avoid if offered to take it again? Share in the comments below so we can learn from each other!