Nailcare Academy Invited to Join INTA Task Force

International Nail Technicians Association® (INTA) Task Force Continues Work on Game-Changing Certification Program

Nailcare Academy Co-Founders, Janet McCormick and Karen Hodges have been asked to join other industry movers and shakers who are working toward a comprehensive certification program that will offer a level learning foundation for nail technicians.

Currently, nail technicians are one of several salon disciplines subject to widely-varying regulations among the states. “Since starting in the industry in the early ‘80s,” notes McCormick, “it has been a goal of mine to raise the various state standards for knowledge and licensure—especially in the area of infection control. My background in dentistry gave me an understanding of how important aseptic techniques are in providing personal services.” McCormick’s trademarked Safe Salon Certification Programs, stemming back to her published works in the 90’s, mesh perfectly with INTA’s imperative.

The INTA Task Force is meeting at various venues—usually in conjunction with tradeshows throughout the U.S.  Paul Dykstra, CEO of America’s Beauty Show and Chicago Cosmetologists, has long been an advocate for the industry. Now heading up the INTA Task Force, his attention is laser-locked on bringing a long-held goal for INTA to fruition. In today’s mobile society, there should be high level industry standards for nail services across state lines, and ultimately across borders.

In widespread industry representation, members of the Task Force are manufacturers, educators, salon owners, consultants and heads of associations:  Jan Arnold, CND; Lorrene Conino, Salon Lorrene and treasurer of Cosmetologists Chicago; Amber Edwards of Mario Tricoci Salons and Day Spas; Athena Elliott, NailTalk Radio; Dasha Minina, Maxus Nails; Sigourney Nunez, NAILS Magazine; Doug Schoon, Schoon Scientific; Lydia Sarfati, Repêchage and CIDESCO; Bob Spalding, Medinail; Nail Care Consultant Tricia Trackman; Jessica Vartoughia of Jessica Cosmetics and Katharin von Gavel of Footlogix; McCormick and Hodges of Nailcare Academy.

“It’s been long-time dream of mine,” adds Hodges, “for nail technicians to get organized and create a self-policing organization with the clout to bring about change in the states that have little or inadequate safety standards in place.”  As an educator of safety precepts throughout her career as a nail technician and esthetician, she has deplored the lack of basic knowledge and training in sanitation, disinfection and sterilization in salons. “We need to create standards of professionalism,” she continued, “that are inclusive of all scenarios in a salon—whether liquid immersion disinfection is the system used or a dry heat or steam autoclave—they should be understood completely and practiced perfectly.” She feels INTA’s mission of unification is perfect for rejuvenating a professional nail industry that has become tarnished by media sensationalism. “We want more stories about clients finding the help they need with their nail care in clean, safe salons,” Hodges concluded.

For more information about Nailcare Academy’s Safe Salon Certification Program, visit or email questions to

The International Nail Technicians Association® (INTA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cosmetologists Chicago® (CC).  CC, owner and producer of America’s Beauty Show®, is an association of more than 14,000 salon professionals.  INTA and CC members include licensed cosmetologists, estheticians and nail technicians, salon owners and cosmetology students.   INTA offers members continuing education, free admission to America’s Beauty Show, legislative representation, technology, networking opportunities, and soon, a certification program.

For more information about INTA, visit 

Steven Frank, DPM, Joins Advisory Board at Nailcare Academy

pic_dr_frank“We are so very pleased to announce that Dr. Steven Frank has joined us at Nailcare Academy to ensure top-notch training for our students,” states Co-Founder Janet McCormick. “We’ve been talking with Dr. Frank for several months and really appreciate his expertise and experience.” Dr. Frank reviews our information to ensure accuracy, as well as contributes new and interesting materials to the modules.

Dr. Frank is certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery. His impressive training includes a BS: Pre-Med, Penn State, 1992,  a DPM: Penn College of Podiatric Medicine, 1996, and Surgical Residency at Germantown Hospital, 1996-1998.

In his own practice in St. Louis, MO, Dr. Frank uses cutting edge technology in the care of his patients.  His specialties include: sports medicine/injuries, corrective surgery of deformities of the foot and ankle, diabetic foot/wound care, pediatric foot ailments and revisional surgery and consultation.

Nailcare Academy is excited to be working with a Podiatrist with such a prestigious background. We welcome Dr. Frank’s input which allows us to provide the best possible programs for our students.

Nailcare Academy Teams with Salon Gurus

Co-Founders Janet McCormick and Karen Hodges are excited to share their class agendas for the upcoming Premiere Orlando Beauty Show. McCormick states, “We are so thrilled with our class offerings and our team of educators! We’re offering four different topics, and for the first time, we are offering a course for Instructors.”

Salon Gurus is offering Premiere 2016 Event
two classes this year, “Lash Artist Boot Camp” taught by Hodges. “This is an excellent fundamentals class for those who have only had rudimentary or no training, she shares.”

“Nail Tech Burnout: The Fix” taught by McCormick, will offer some excellent “turn your career around” advice and ideas.

Hodges notes, “We are excited to have Denise Baich and Stephanie Allen joining us with classes offered by Nailcare Academy.” Baich is going to be talking about her experience setting up the nation’s first “Foot Spa” and how working with physicians changed her career path.

Allen, an instructor at the prestigious International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy, will be speaking on how she found new inspiration as an Instructor — both for herself and her students.

All classes are free of charge – we look forward to seeing you there!

Tina Porter Named as SSC Instructor

Congratulations to Tina Porter of Riverside, CA, who has become one of Nailcare Academy’s new Certified Safe Salon Instructors.

“We are so thrilled to have an educator of Tina’s caliber join our ranks,” shares Janet McCormick, co-founder of Nailcare Academy. “We have been seeking out excellence and Tina embodies the passion and drive necessary for success in our industry.”

Porter has more than 34 years behind the table and six years as an educator for her local beauty schools. In her years as a nail technology instructor, she embraced a philosophy of “safety and sanitation first.” Her background lead naturally to this emphasis as she is also a Certified Medical Assistant and an Emergency Medical Technician. These roles have prepared her for her next career in the salon: she is also a recent graduate of NA’s Footcare Nail Technology.  This advanced training program provides a broader understanding of the health and condition of the feet and nails for those with chronic illnesses.

Porter is taking her new training on the road — she will be performing on-site routine foot care and cosmetic pedicures for diabetics and others who have chronic health conditions. Her training and background are ideal to support safe, healthful foot care for clients who truly need her services. An example would be someone who is home-bound or in an assisted living facility. Her promise of aseptic practices will assure clients they will be well taken care of.

Not only will she be providing this high-level care for clients in her community, she is an educator and trainer who knows how to pass along her knowledge.  As a Certified Safe Salon Instructor, she will be teaching nail technicians how to work with clients for whom “ordinary” pedicures are not possible.

For example, clients with Peripheral Artery Disease or PAD may not receive massage during foot care appointments. Diabetics may be at risk for a foot soak, due to neuropathy, and the danger of waterborne pathogens with their inability to heal normally. The elderly require specific training for their foot care, as the skin is friable and easily damaged, bruising is a real issue with the common use of blood thinning agents, their joints may be susceptible to injury by someone pulling on them, and so forth.

This niche of foot care clients is growing – approximately 1/4th of the US population has been identified as baby-boomers and many have passed retirement age, with more soon to be doing so. In 2000, the CDC estimated that approximately 12.1 million diagnosed cases of diabetes existed in the U.S. In 2014, that number had nearly doubled at 22 million.(1)  More persons needing foot care provided by trained and aware nail technicians is a growing need, and Tina Porter is ready to step up for her community.

For information about receiving safe foot care in your location, contact Tina Porter, FNT, at (951) 282-0740.

For nail technicians wanting “more” for their clients and their careers, email Tina at

To follow Tina on social media, watch for the tag #nailtechtrainer.



Is Your Nail Salon a Breeding Ground?

Fungus or Infection?

One mani/pedi you don’t want? Uh, one that comes with nail fungus. Or,
like, a super-nasty infection. Or, who knows, maybe even hacking and
coughing because your lungs are suddenly lambasted with toxic fumes
coming from a poorly ventilated nail salon. No one’s trying to ruin your day
at the spa, but you do have to be careful when you go to have your nails
done – if for no other reason than you’re probably doing so way more than
you realize. One survey found that 40 percent of women visit nail salons at
least twice a month, and some as often as five times.

So, you know, it makes sense to know your salon is there to truly pamper
you, not make you horribly ill. And we can help with that! Karen Hodges,
co-owner of Nailcare Academy, which provides online education for nail
care professionals, explained to The Stir just how we can all ensure we’re in, um, good hands.

Get a good first impression. Trying out a new salon? Call first. “If it’s a first appointment, the receptionist [of a safe salon] will say, ‘Please come in …early to fill out a questionnaire,” says Hodges. They’re not trying to shove busywork off on you. This is a sign of conscientiousness, since gathering info about your health might affect what they do.

Ask questions. Be curious: How are their instruments cleaned and cared
for between clients? How are the foot basins disinfected? (Because if
they’re not? Uh, no.)

Don’t be embarrassed to ask lots of Qs, and they shouldn’t make you feel
guilty for doing so either. “A salon that’s concerned for your health and
safety, and that of their workers, will be happy to answer your questions,”
Hodges says.

Look for a clean, uncluttered space. Okay, you’re in! But while that stack
of celeb mags might be calling your name, don’t relax just yet. Is every area
of the salon tidy? Are all surfaces clean and disinfected? “Clutter and dust
attract fungus and harbor infectious disease microbes,” explains Hodges.

Go ahead. Be critical.

Check that technicians are following safety guidelines. That means
disposable materials like files and toe separators are used; technicians’
hands are sanitized and gloves are changed between clients; and every
person there has a license displayed. And don’t forget: “Metal implements
should be removed from a SEALED pouch, which has clearly been
autoclaved,” says Hodges.

Make sure they’re asking you questions. Like, “Did you shave before you
came in?” Because who knew, you’re really not supposed to do that right
before a pedicure because it can leave teeny-tiny nicks in your skin that can
get infected.

Or here’s another good one: “Um, what’s that wound/injury you have on
your hand/foot?” Because if you do have one, the technician should look
out for your best interests and send you to the doctor, not to a shelf of polish to pick out your fave shade. True, gorgeous hands and nails are nice to have, but your health is far, far more important.

The Stir will give you everything from personal stories to parenting advice to decorating tips to the news of the day. We will make sure you are in-the-know at the next after school activity or cocktail party! Our goal is to bring you honest, energetic, fun, thoughtful content — all in one place — to help you stay connected to the world around you.

Concierge Manicuring: Taking Mobile Care Up a Notch

NAILS_146-149 1NAILS_146-149 2 (1)NAILS_146-149 3

NAILS Magazine, May 2016 – Used with permission.

The topic of “mobile” nail services has been around forever–I want to introduce you to a new way of looking at this market segment.  “Concierge Services” requested by higher-end clients demand higher-end service tickets. This may just be the way to reinvigorate your career!

Services outside the salon are not legal in all states. After extensive research with state Boards nationwide, the following chart will give you some basic information, but you will need to contact your state Board for the details.
[dt_sc_box type=”info-box” title=”Download” bgcolor=”#1e73be” variation=”blue”]Click here to download the State Board Chart for Mobile/Off-Site Services[/dt_sc_box]

Foot Care for the Transient, Homeless by a Nail Technician with a Special Touch


Monique “Moe” Moss, ANT

Monique “Moe” Moss of Columbia, SC, is a licensed nail technician with a different approach to taking care of her clients’ feet. “As a former Licensed Massage Therapist, I view foot work and pedicures as more than just a pampering experience—for some it’s vital to their health.” Moss began searching for advanced training and came across the Advanced Nail Technician Certification Program written by salon industry guru Janet McCormick. “The Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) training program was written to teach nail technicians how to safely provide cosmetic nail and foot care for those who have special health needs,” McCormick states. This program provided Moss with exactly the training she needed to assist her clients by providing them with safe, healthful pedicures.

“Times have changed,” says McCormick. “In 2000, the CDC estimated approximately 5.8% of Americans over 20 have been diagnosed as diabetic. In 2012, that had more than doubled at 12.8%. ( Diabetics simply cannot risk a pedicure by an untrained technician.”  In addition, the demographic of older Americans is growing as the Boomers come of age and more than half of all adult Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition. “These persons are at risk for injury or infection and must have aseptic foot care,” she adds.

Moss has embraced the safety training in her ANT certification: “I incorporate the ANT training from the client consultation I do prior to their service, through the examination of their toes and skin, by wearing gloves throughout the service, by recommending products that will achieve their goals, all the way through to referring them to a medical professional when necessary.”  Moss has been trained to “recognize and refer” diseases, disorders and conditions of the feet and lower legs and this training allows her to adjust her services appropriately.

A big part of this attention to detail is Moss’s high-level disinfection and infection control practices. “I make sure that the client sees the disposal of my one-time use items, and when I have new clients, I go over my methods of sanitation and disinfection on implements and the pedicure basin. I even keep a brochure at my desk that highlights my infection control protocols.” I always tell my clients “You will not walk out with anything that you didn’t walk in with…except a great looking set of toes. Polish optional!”


Moe Moss, ANT, performing “foot washing” for the homeless

Not only do the clients at Moss’s pedicure station inside Vista Tanning and Nail Salon appreciate her training, she has taken her skills to the street. “I put my knowledge and experience to use every year by volunteering my time providing foot care services for the homeless.”  Click here to watch a short video of one example of her volunteer service. “I have seen extreme cases of callus buildup, mycotic nails, ingrown, etc. that I may not experience in the salon on a daily basis, but the ANT program has given me the confidence to work safely with the transient and elderly.” This service to others personifies Moss’s caring attitude about her clients’ health and well-being.

For more information about the Advanced Nail Technician Certification Program, please visit or call Janet McCormick at (863) 273-9134. To speak with Moe Moss or book an appointment, call (803) 200‐2676



Times have changed and nail salon patrons are more aware of the need for safe, healthful nail and foot care and are searching for providers in new places.

Mia - crop

Mia Pertilla, ANT

Mia Pertilla of Atlanta, Georgia, currently works for XpresSpa in Hartsfield Jackson Airport. Even though her work there is very transient and meant to be swiftly executed, Mia applies her training as an Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) on a daily basis. “I implement universal safety precautions by wearing gloves for EVERY service I do now,” she shares. Pertilla’s clients are reassured and happy with her level of commitment to their safety.

Licensed in December, 2015, Pertilla is new to the nail industry, but her drive and passion is apparent. She was actually hired while still in school, and once she completed her State Board requirements and acquired her license, she started right to work. “That made me confident in pursuing a career in this field because I hadn’t had that experience with my previous education!” She gained her training in nail technology at International School of Skin, Nailcare and Massage Therapy, Atlanta, who exclusively carries the Advanced Nail Technician Certification program as an adjunct to their nail technology program. “Adding Nailcare Academy’s ANT program to our school was a great decision! Once our students get into this course, they can’t wait to start their new career,” states Stephanie Allen, ISSNMT’s Nailcare Program Director.

Part of the reason for Pertilla’s confidence is the extensive training she received as an ANT. She states, “There was a lot of information included in the modules. The parts that were most enjoyable and informative to me were the modules focusing on the various diseases we should be aware of when dealing with clients, and the modules about caring for elderly clients since this is an area of interest for me in my career.”  ANT students are extensively trained in important knowledge of conditions, diseases and disorders of the lower legs and feet. They learn to “recognize and refer” the clients to the appropriate medical provider when they observe any condition “out of normal” on the foot. They also learn the implications of chronic illnesses such as diabetes or peripheral artery disease on pedicure services, and they adjust their actions accordingly. Pertilla adds, “I am more aware of the signs of abnormal conditions, especially in the foot. I take the health of my clients—and my health—more seriously.”

Pertilla enjoys her work so much she hopes to begin adding to her current schedule. “I enjoy working at the spa and hope to begin venturing out shortly and traveling to a nearby nursing home on my days off to provide services.” At some point in the future, she hopes to focus on this aspect of her training. “Someday I hope to open a salon geared towards providing services for senior clients.” Atlanta needs her vision and the founders of Nailcare Academy are excited to see their graduates dream of filling this growing niche in foot care.

For information on Nailcare Academy and the Advanced Nail Technician Certification program visit or call (863) 273-9134. For information about International School of Skin, Nailcare and Massage Therapy, visit www. or call (404) 843-1005. To book an appointment with Mia Pertilla, contact XpresSpa at (407) 766-4353.

Gel Those Toes!

Keep your clients’ pedicures vibrant all summer long with color gels! They can last for at least three weeks on toenails, so your clients won’t have to touch up their pedicures while on vacation. Here are the steps for application:

Do Your Prep Work

To begin the service on healthy, clean, dry feet, use one of the following methods: Perform a quick dip and foot wash; spray the feet thoroughly with warm, soapy water; or, if your client just bathed, wet her feet with an antiseptic spray recommended for use on the skin.

Don’t perform a long soak or service  a client after her prolonged exposure to water because the toenails are somewhat porous and will expand with too much water, thereby affecting the durability of the gel application.

Darlene Sammons, licensed massage therapist and nail tech at Head to Toe Salon & Spa in Chattanooga, Tennessee, shares her prep technique: “I never soak the feet before applying gels. I sanitize with soap and water and use a sanitizing gel when I massage. Then I do a mini-pedicure along with this service, the same way I would do a mini-manicure when applying a full set of gels on fingers.”

Work with only healthy toes; no “I” should be present: injury, inflammation, infection or indication that anything is abnormal!

Prepare the nail plates of the toes just as you would prep fingernails: Gently push back cuticles, being sure not to break the seal, remove any excess tissue from the nail plates, gently remove the shine, and trim and shape the free edges to your client’s preferred shape. Follow your gel system’s recommendations for dehydrating and priming. Spread a thin coat of clear base gel on the nails—the layer should be about the same thickness as a layer of top coat. This layer performs two functions:

• It provides a foundation layer that bonds with the natural nails; most pigmented gels don’t bond as well to the natural nail.

• It provides a safety layer. This allows you to file away the color layer when changing gel colors without the risk of abrading the natural nail.

Fully cure the gel base coat (the UV light will not be able to penetrate through most systems’ color gel layers once they are applied).

You may need to sculpt or apply tips to toenails to achieve the desired shape and length. In this case, Sammons uses clear acrylic as her base and applies layers of gel polish on top.

Picture-perfect Application

Next, apply one or two coats of color gel, depending on the color intensity your client wants. You need to work quickly with color gels to obtain a perfect application; then you need to get the toes under the UV lamp as soon as possible. The color gels’ pigments may cause the product to shrink, bead up or pull away from the nail plate if too much time elapses before curing.

Avoid touching the skin or cuticle with the gel, and before curing, use alcohol to wipe away any gel that has come in contact with the skin. Unlike working with polish, where you can use acetone on cotton and remove your mistakes, when working with gel, you cannot correct the cuticle area after you cure the gel.

One effect that livens up gel toenails: Lightly tap the nails’ free edges with the sides of a brush coated in a different color of gel to leave a border of contrasting color along the edge. Use either white or a complementary color for a fun French-style treatment.

High-shine Finish

Depending on the gel system, color gels may or may not have a shiny finish when cured. Test on a practice tip so you’ll know whether or not you will need to apply a high-shine gloss coat or sealant coat over the color gel. Carefully cap the free edges of the nails with the final coat of gel that you apply.

Keeping It Up

Generally, toenails grow more slowly than fingernails, so plan on filling gel toenail enhancements every three to six weeks, depending on the individual. To fill the toes, begin with clean, dry feet and, using either a hand file or an electric file, gently buff away the color, shape the free edges and prep the regrowth areas just as you would for a fingernail enhancement fill. Sammons’ clients go as long as eight weeks between gel fills, but Sammons schedules traditional pedicures with skin care, massage, cuticle work and callus reduction in the middle of that time span.

What to Charge?

Sammons charges the same rates for the gel work she does on toes that she does on fingernails. Gail Booth, a booth renter at Fingerprints Nail Salon in Billings, Montana, charges $35 for the toes to be enhanced, and $20 more if she performs a pedicure. For fills, Booth charges $15 plus $20 for a pedicure.

– Karen Hodges

Nailcare Academy Partners with ANP – members save!

Nailcare Academy Partners with Associated Nail Professionals

“Nailcare Academy’s emphasis on Safe Salon throughout their courses is a perfect partner for the Associated Nail Professionals (ANP) membership program,” states Katie Armitage. “Along with our many benefits to our member, such as excellent webinars and free website hosting, we provide insurance for our members.”

Nailcare Academy Co-Founder Janet McCormick shared that she has been happy to be able to recommend Armitage’s program to her Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) students for many years, and is thrilled with the partnership.  “We want our nail technicians to be protected as they work, and are so glad to find a nail-specific insurance program with so many benefits as a bonus.”

Both industry gurus believe that ANTs, with their advanced safety training are much more likely to avoid health related issues or injuries in the salon. An excellent match.

For Nailcare Academy followers, take advantage of a special discount for those who join the Associated Nail Professionals (ANP) at their website  To receive $20 off the membership fee, use the Vendor Code 1105166.

For ANP Members, Nailcare Academy has two special discounts available exclusively to ANP Members who purchase these courses through their ANP membership page:

  • Take $20 off of the Advanced Nail Technician (ANT) Certification Program + receive the Safe Salon Concept Certification course FREE of charge. This $77 value is exclusive to ANP members
  • Take $50 off the Medical Nail Tech (MNT) Certification Program + receive the Safe Salon Concept Certification course FREE. This discount is a $107 savings just for ANP members

What does this mean for you?  Go join the Associated Nail Professionals and take advantage of all their benefits. Use NA’s Vendor Code to save $20.  Then access your Member Discounts, and use the links to purchase the ANT (and save $77) or the MNT program  (and save $107.) A double win!