Pro Spotlight: Fariha Ali
Meet Fariha Ali, OPI Pro, and nail art queen @nailjob on Instagram! We took the time to speak with Fariha on everything from how she got her start in the nail industry, to how she's loving the new OPI GelColor Stay Shiny Top Coat. Read on below to get the full story to see where she gets her inspiration and how she's navigating COVID-19.
OPI: What inspired you to pursue a career in the nail industry?
FA: I went to school for Art, got a B.A. in Fine arts, and started working as a graphic designer after college. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy graphic designing much but was quickly falling in love with my new hobby, nail art! After a year of doing DIY nail art on myself, I decided to take a leap of faith and go get a manicurist license.
OPI: Where do you go to look for nail art inspiration?
FA: My favorite source of inspiration is actually from the art world. I don’t usually like drawing inspo from pre-existing nail art but I have extensive Pinterest boards full of either paintings or graphic design that I love to pull ideas from. I also have a fascination for natural rocks and marbles and enjoy attempting to recreate them on nails as well!
OPI: Name one nail art trend that you're loving at the moment.
FA: More than any particular nail art trend I think I am really drawn to rich fall colors at the moment. It’s super hot in LA right now so I keep hoping for some nice fall weather. I am actually pretty obsessed with the new OPI Milan collection and the beautiful wine, rusts, and teals it has to offer.
OPI: What does nail self-care mean to you?
FA: To me, nail self-care is pushing back my cuticles in the shower. I know that sounds kind of funny but I personally think that’s the safest and easiest way to get rid of cuticles. I try to stay away from cuticle nippers! Also massaging on cuticle oil 4 times a week seems to work wonders for me and I always recommend it to my clients.
OPI: You have a great audience on Instagram. What tips can you give other techs trying to build their following?
FA: I think being excited about your work is the first step. If you are excited about your work and just keep creating nails you love, your audience and people, in general, can feel it! It is fun to address viral trends now and then but I try to do my own thing and try to stick to nail art that feels true to my personal style. If others like it, I am all for it and definitely encourage it!
OPI: Due to COVID-19, a lot of nail techs are at home. How are you staying connected with clients? Do you have clients requesting new or similar looks, prior to COVID-19?
FA: COVID-19 has been hard on all of us. I am there for moral support for my clients (a lot of whom I have become friends with), however, I am still unable to provide services. My clients are really great! Most of them are very open to looks that I am obsessing over. Sometimes I like doing the same look on every client and most of them are willing to collaborate on different ways to incorporate that look. I think its a mix of new looks and similar looks.
OPI: We recently launched our Stay Shiny gel top coat. What do you think of the formula?
FA: I have only had the chance to use the Stay Shiny Top Coat on myself since I have only had my paws on a bottle since quarantine started but so far I am loving it. It is super shiny and has had no curing issues with it! My two most important must-haves with choosing a topcoat.
OPI: What type of client would you recommend the Stay Shiny Top Coat to?
FA: Honestly, all my clients. A reliable topcoat is hard to find and I have never had clients complaining about topcoats that last too long.
OPI: Nail companies are constantly launching innovative products. Are there any that aren’t currently in the market that you’d love to see? (ex. color, tools, formulas)
FA: Yes, there are many products I want to see, and hard to write about all of them here. A recent one that comes to mind are a set of silicone pushers that are just the right amount of hardness. Silicone tools are really easy to clean and will be gentle on the nails but I don’t know of ones that are semi-hard with a crisp edge (just enough to slough off cuticles) that are currently available on the market.
OPI: What is the number one issue you find techs have when using gel color systems? Any tips?
FA: Curing issues. I think a lot of durability problems like chipping and peeling can be narrowed down to insufficient curing of the different layers of gel. Sometimes its the hand positioning and sometimes its the incompatibility of the product with the LED/UV lamp. That is one of the reasons it's more foolproof to use the same system and lamp from that particular brand throughout the whole service. However, we all know that’s not always possible. In which case I think it is important to do some research on the products you use and see what machine works similar to its recommended lamp.