Guest Column: ‘High Maintenance’: Getting to know me

“High Maintenance” usually refers to men and women who go to outstanding lengths to look and feel great, or those who have others pay for that look and feeling.

Is there something wrong with taking extra measures to take good care of ourselves? Do humans really need all of those beauty services and accessories to look good?

I hope to answer these questions for all of us and to give a better understanding about what draws clientele through the doors of our local beauty product stores and salons.

Let me explain where I fit into all of this. I have been a licensed nail technician in Illinois since 1997. I began working at Digits Professional Nailcare in 2003.

Digits is a progressive salon in the downtown River District that offers massage, custom-blend cosmetics, eyelash extensions, airbrush tattooing, purses, jewelry and, of course, nailcare. Digits’ relaxing atmosphere complements the salon’s beauty and style. I enjoy working downtown and have met many wonderful people.

I have also been fortunate enough in my career to take it one step further and become an educator for Nail Systems International, otherwise known as NSI. NSI is an international nail product manufacturer based outside of Philadelphia.

In 2003, I became NSI’s educator to represent the state of Illinois, working with licensed professionals on how to properly use NSI’s products.

I am also paid to travel around the country to trade shows to represent the company. I am flown to enormous fashion and beauty conventions as a featured nail artist to make presentations in the classroom or on camera. This has taken me from LA to NYC and from Philadelphia to Orlando. All of these conventions overflow with hundreds of companies competing with the latest beauty products, techniques, tools and accessories. Each company aims at fulfilling clients’ need to look and feel gorgeous.

Thousands of beauty professionals of every race, gender, and hair color, (blue and pink included) flock to watch the free demonstrations and save 25-50 percent on products. I have seen some interesting techniques and not so understandable torture that people put themselves through to look desirable. Vanity reflects fun, even the bizarre.

In future columns, take a journey with me into the intriguing world of beauty, health, fashion and especially vanity. If you have a question about a particular product, treatment or possibly a comment about something crazy you might have done to prolong youthfulness, feel free to e-mail me at

From the Feb. 8-14, 2006, issue

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