In the Spotlight: Manicurist Oli Antunes

Manicurist or Nail Technician are terms used to describe professionals who conduct cosmetic beauty treatments involving a client’s hands and feet. At LUXit, we offer a mobile Nail Technician service to fit all our client’s needs. We’ve researched for you, letting you into the inner workings of a Manicurist. Oli Antunes is LUXit’s valued Partner, who’s an experienced industry professional in this field. The following are her insights into her experience working as a Manicurist for over ten years. If you feel you’re never really dressed without a good set of nails, this one’s for you.

1) What/Who inspired you to become a Manicurist?

I have always been into makeup and nails but never thought I would make a career out of it. Still, I can recall 12 years ago when I assisted Mandi Levanah (once Australia’s No.1 Manicurist) as a makeup assistant working in freelance and editorial fashion. As a makeup assistant, she taught me that you must know how to paint nails perfectly and inspired me to pursue manicuring alongside makeup. It came naturally to me, as I have always had a passion for it since I was young. When I started going out with my best friend, I would recreate looks from magazines, so I guess it all started there. My career initially began with me being a paralegal, and I worked in corporate for many years, but life takes unexpected turns, and I became a manicurist. I honestly love my job, and every day I go to work doing something I am passionate about.

2) What do you believe is an essential quality of being a Manicurist?

I believe it’s imperative to be organised and flexible. You should be able to suggest and cater to the needs of your diverse clientele. Always having the highest quality hygiene is essential. Also, client confidentiality is super important to maintain professionalism and is especially important for our VIPs and celebrity clients.

For fashion and editorial work, you need to understand the brief and what is expected of you. These days, many briefs tend to ask for natural nails, but the result is often more creative than working in a salon. However, you have set lighting and a larger group of people, including the client, photographers, and stylists working with you. Hence, it’s essential to be flexible and work cooperatively around their artistic expertise as well. It’s necessary to be able to interpret those needs when doing an editorial shoot.

3) What do you feel are the positives of working in this industry?

This industry has many positives, and I love my job, which many people can’t say. Meeting new clients and other creatives and assisting each other is a fun part of the job. You get to learn so much but also grow from each other’s knowledge.

4) What kind of challenges have you faced in your work?

All jobs have their challenges, and I wouldn’t say there are no challenges in being a manicurist. Especially during unprecedented times like these, a reduction or loss of work and clients is a significant challenge due to the pandemic. Another challenge is balancing the freelance work and running your salon simultaneously. I cannot establish a routine, especially when I am given little to no notice for some jobs. I’m not always at the front door with my bags packed, waiting for a job to come along. Although, I guess that’s what makes the job exciting as well.   

5) What are the latest trends and styles in the field?

I believe natural and healthy-looking nails are always on-trend. No matter how good your polishing work is, it’s always better when you have a healthy nail base, which never goes out of trend. But trends are ever evolving and changing. For example, the French manicure from the early 80’s nowadays is turned into a modern reverse French manicure. Nudes and pastels are still on-trend this summer, and matte nail polish, especially in wintery colours. Metallic colour nails are the latest trends. Enhancements-wise, I love using the Apres Gel-X Nail System, a pre-shaped clear full tip cured with a soft gel. It’s a much better alternative to acrylics, hard gels, and SNS.

6) What would you like to say to aspiring Nail Technicians?

When I look at the past 12 years of my career, I can confidently say that I’ve put in the hard yards, mainly when I worked as an assistant for little to no money. Even though it was easier to get ahead, I would still encourage aspiring Nail Technicians to assist or find an established manicurist and follow and research their work. You can only learn from that.  These days with the help of social media, you can start building a portfolio instantaneously. Networking with other creatives, testing, and referrals are still crucial and essential to getting your name out there. Always stay current with the latest nail systems and education. Have fun building your portfolio, and don’t be afraid to get artistic.

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