Freehand nail artist makes nails festive

Style / December 15, 2016

Cherish Nuckols’ talent for freehand nail art is not work for her, but her passion.

Originally starting her career in cosmetology as a hair stylist in 2013, Nuckols soon realized within a few months that her calling was not hair, but nails. Once she started coating customer’s nails with multiple designs, her customer base rose to 300 clients in her hometown of Murfreesboro.

“Every nail had to have something different. When I realized that I could draw onto a nail, it wasn’t a job anymore. It was just amazing,” Nuckols said.

The demand for her freehand nail art led her to being scheduled even on late nights all the way through Christmas Eve. With the ability to book an appointment with Nuckols online, several clients would book early in the year to ensure they would have their spot with her nail polish brushes.

Nuckols, who recently moved to Hot Springs, said some of her clientele from

Cherish Nuckols, Clay Roots

Cherish Nuckols, Clay Roots

Murfreesboro make the drive about every two weeks to have her do their nails. Nukcols has relocated to Clay Roots Beauty & Facial Boutique, 241 Cornerstone Blvd.

“My cousin actually referred this place as one of the top salons in Hot Springs. They actually only had hair and no nail stuff. They have gone out of their way to have me in here,” Nuckols said.

“Here (Hot Springs) there is a nail salon on every corner. What I have to do is let them know what I can do. What sets me apart from them. You are not going to get the same treatment in their nail salons.”

Freehand art is Nuckols favorite part of doing nails, otherwise, she said doing plain nails all day would become boring. For the holidays, candy canes and Christmas trees are a big hit. However, snowflakes are transitional into January and February.

“I’ve actually made some (nails) that look like broken Christmas ornaments with a foil. Snowflakes can go through January and February and are beautiful,” Nuckols said.

Due to the damaging affects acrylic nails have, Nuckols is not a fan of the style. She wants her clients to have healthy, strong nails.

“I want you to make sure when you come in you are happy that those (nails) are yours,” Nuckols said.

Using Gelish, a gel polish, she says the product is a more perfected version of gel/Shellac polish. Compared to Shellac, Nuckols says Gelish is shinier, lasts longer and is not as damaging to nails.

“The colors … I think that is one thing. Shellac only had about 90 colors. Gelish has over 200 nail colors and I have half of them. It is amazing stuff,” Nuckols said.

CHERISH NUCKOLSEnsuring her customers get nothing short of the best product, Nuckols has personally tested the products from wearing them the recommended time, watching how well it goes on the nail, how long it cures, the benefits and the color.

“I put in a lot of research into what I am going to invest my money into if I was going to do this. It was the winner. You don’t see this brand as much. You will see Shellac, but you don’t see the Gelish brand. It is more expensive and that is why they don’t carry it in a lot of places,” Nuckols said.

Unlike a lot of nail salons, the odor of nail chemicals does not float in the air at Clay Roots Beauty & Facial Boutique. Also, to keep tools sanitary, Nuckols avoids using nail files, buffer

blocks and scrub brushes between clients. Instead, Nuckols keeps all the brushes and files used on a client in a separate box with the client’s name on it. Those tools will only be used on the client that is listed on the box.

Nuckols said that most salons will throw these tools in the back and “sanitize” them, but there is not really a way to sanitize these tools. Once it is time, Nuckols will throw away the tools and replace them with fresh ones to use on the client’s next visit.

WRITER’S NOTE: After regular activities with Gelish nails over the course of a week, the finish was fully intact, with no chipping.

Photos by Mara Kuhn






Colbie McCloud




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December 15, 2016