A nail tech for 13 years, Thao Nguyen has spent the last four years working with the Gelish team, currently as a regional education manager. She teaches classes in both English and Vietnamese. “The market and culture are different, so by understanding this idea, I can deliver the techniques and methods differently, but the product knowledge is still the same,” says Nguyen.

Originally setting her sights on learning how to do hair at the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, Calif., the then North Carolina-based tech decided to get her nail license until she could save money to go out to Los Angeles. But the more she did nails and the more she got involved in the nail industry, the more she began to love everything about it. “I think my career found me just like that,” says Nguyen, who, coincidentally, now lives in Santa Monica. “I prefer nails much more than hair. And I’m head over heels in love with this industry.”

When she’s not teaching, she also spends time working in the lab at Gelish. “A typical day there includes checking on quality control, testing new products, helping with R&D, and answering nail techs’ technical questions,” says Nguyen, who also does some PR in the Asian community for Gelish. She has a few nail clients but can’t accommodate many because of her travel schedule. She also keeps busy with celebrity and editorial work in Hollywood.

Her favorite part of her position at Gelish is being able to work side-byside with her nail icons, Danny Haile and Alisha Rimando Botero. “The Gelish educators feel like a family,” she says. “We share the love of nail knowledge with each other and our classes every day.”



Here’s how you can do these nails:

1. After removing the shine from the natural nail plate, apply Gelish Cleanser to a lint-free nail wipe. Then apply Gelish pH Bond to the natural nail plate.

2. Apply a thin coat of Gelish Foundation from the eponychium to the free edge. Remember to seal the edge of the nail. Cure the nails under the LED 18G light for five seconds or a UV light for one minute. Use a clean gel brush or a lint-free nail wipe to remove the excess Foundation on the nail plate.

3. Apply a thin coat of Gelish A Touch of Sass from the Fall 2013 collection to the entire nail. Don’t forget to cap the free edge. Cure the nails under the LED 18G light for 30 seconds or a UV light for two minutes.

4. Repeat step 3 to get more color coverage.

5. Apply a thin coat of Gelish Top It Off Gel Sealer from the eponychium to the free edge on the nail. (Remember to seal the edge of the nail.) Cure the nails under the LED 18G light for 30 seconds or a UV light for two minutes.

6. Remove the tacky residue on nails with Gelish Cleanser.

Gelish regional education manager  Thao Nguyen teaches classes in both  English and Vietnamese. For this  month’s cover shoot, we also asked  her to create a look for our sister  publication VietSALON.

Gelish regional education manager Thao Nguyen teaches classes in both English and Vietnamese. For this month’s cover shoot, we also asked her to create a look for our sister publication VietSALON.