Pro Spotlight: Letty
This month, we spoke with nail queen Letty, also known as @lettslooks on Instagram! We got the chance to speak with Letty on manicure on natural nails, tips for stronger nails, and how she's coped with the lockdowns from COVID-19.
OPI: We see on your IG that you only do natural nails. Can you tell us why?
L: Well before nails were my career, they were my hobby. I did my own nails and as I started working in the industry and experimenting with friends and family, natural nails were just what I knew most so that’s what I focused on. Natural nail care can be a journey (and sometimes a lengthy one) but always so worth it! Seeing someone proud of how long or strong their nails have become with regular maintenance appointments and proper at-home care is so rewarding. I love the “I can’t believe these are MY nails” moments!
OPI: Your manicures are full of color! What are your favorite OPI shades and why?
L: Hands down: ‘Toucan Do It If You Try’ is my all-time favorite OPI shade. I love how soft of an orange it is and how much it pops against my skin tone. Aside from the occasional switch up here and there, it’s the only color I wear on my toes too. I can spot it on the shelf at salons in no time! Some other fave colors are Rich Girl & Po-Boys, Mimosas for Mr. and Mrs., Gelato on My Mind and Lincoln Park After Dark.
OPI: The nail art on your page is amazing: abstract, jewels, ombre, negative space, etc. Where do you get inspiration for these looks?
L: I love doing seasonal nail art, so I usually consider what holidays or events are taking place and draw inspo for nails to match. I also turn to the outdoors, fashion, home décor, graphic designers and digital artists to find eye catching color combos, textures and patterns.
OPI: With 2021 just beginning what nail trends/colors do you think will be popular?
L: As much as I’ve seen neutrals trending, I’ve also seen clients trying out more vibrant shades now that they’ve shifted to working from home versus being in office. I love getting clients to try colors out of their norm, so it’s been a pleasant surprise! I do expect for negative space, abstract and neutrals to remain strong into 2021 though since the grow out is less noticeable and quarantine is still going strong.
OPI: How did you start your career as a nail tech?
L: Doing nails was a hobby of mine long before I made it a career. I started to get an itch for more but only day-dreamed about making it a job. I spoke about it so often and when I struggled to find a path in a traditional college, I had a breakthrough moment. I stopped taking my traditional classes, toured the local nail schools in my area, chose one and enrolled just a few days later. I completed school and got my license. Shortly after I started working at a salon and the rest is history!
OPI: How has COVID-19 affected your work?
L: I was out of the salon for about 4 months. Two of those were government-mandated and two of those were a personal choice based on my comfort level. Protocols have increased and there’s been a learning curve with adjusting to some new elements such as plexiglass shields. Since I’ve returned, I’ve seen many familiar faces and many new ones. I’m enjoying the variety, but my books aren’t looking the same as prior to covid. Scheduling is sporadic and reflective of how my local rates are showing. I know we as nail techs and society in general are all just navigating these unprecedented times as best we can.
OPI: What advice can you share with other nail techs/ salons that are struggling at the moment?
L: Don’t be afraid to pivot your business or your mindset. Step out of your comfort zone but stay true to what you offer and run with it. I haven’t done press-ons before, so it was new and scary to think about switching gears, but I found out I actually have a ton of fun with them! I’m able to take my time and do more intricate art than I might normally try on a whim with a client. It’s a win for them and for me!
OPI: New year, better nails! What do you recommend to clients trying to get healthier/ stronger nails?
L: I say it like a broken record but use your cuticle oil! When your nails are hydrated, they’re more flexible and not as prone to breakage. The moisture helps the skin too which in turn reduces hang nails & prevents clients from picking or tearing. Always wear something to give a protective layer even if it’s just a clear coat. Finally, be mindful of how you use your nails (remember the classic phrase: your nails are jewels not tools!)
OPI: How do you take care of your nails at work and home?
L: In the salon I wear gloves when performing services, cleaning my station, handling implements and just about everything in between. Keeping my hands and nails away from water and products helps a lot. At home, I’m careful when cleaning, cooking, doing laundry or anything that can be rough. Some nights I’ll put on a thick hand cream, apply cuticle oil and wear a pair of cotton-knit gloves to sleep and in the morning my hands are SO soft and moisturized!
OPI: Any advice on how another nail tech can grow their social accounts and work with nail brands?
L: My advice for growing social accounts is engaging with your followers so they continue to engage with you. Respond to comments, reply to DM’s and post consistently. Don’t be afraid to try new features like IGTV and Reels. The best part is they’re new to everyone so just have fun with it! Post things that ask your audience to engage such as using the Polls or Q&A features in your stories. As for working with brands, as long as you use their products because you love and trust them, then it’s a bonus to work with them and not the goal. Tag them and showcase the products you use in different settings such as swatch & nail art photos, story highlights, tutorial videos, unboxing videos, etc. When you work with brands you already know and love it's authentic and shows in your posts.