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Basic Etiquette in the Nail Art Community

Basic Etiquette in the Nail Art Community


By semick

We all learn from each other – and take ideas from each other. And that isn’t a bad thing. Nails should be collaborative, not competitive. To maintain a good vibe in the tight knit nail art community, use common decency and courtesy – and always give credit where credit is due. Here are the basics of establishing a good place for yourself in the circle.

If you don’t like a set of nails, just “scroll on by,” says Lauren Swindol, creator of indie brand Signet Nails. Helpful criticism has its place, but commenting “ugly” or “you have man hands” on someone’s image isn’t helpful – it’s just mean. Remember that other artists are people too – not just an image!

If you repost someone else’s image – credit them. Tag them correctly in the actual post or caption of the image, not in a comment down below. Not only is tagging someone the nice thing to do, “Instagram Terms and Conditions state that you cannot use another person’s picture without their permission or knowledge,” shares Megan Denman of @snowglobenails.

If you see someone else clearly using another person’s image and not tagging them, you can “make a polite comment on the photo tag the original owner and ask the account to please give credit to the artist,” says @25_sweetpea. Occasionally, people (especially those outside the community) will post images of nails they like without knowing, which can be frustrating for the artist. However, if someone is outright claiming a photo is their own and not backing down, you can certainly report them to @ignailartcredit, and account dedicated solely to giving proper credit. The worst when others crop out or remove your watermark entirely, and on purpose. @Snowglobenails shares that the people at the “Instagram Help Desk are very efficient and will usually remove the property violation within 48 hours.”

If you are inspired by a design enough to recreate it yourself, or use ideas from it in your own work, note that. Nail artist Robin Moses shared the best way to go about this: make sure you add “Inspired by [@insert account name here]” in the caption of the photo, not in the comments.

If the user you are inspired by has a hashtag they use, use it! For example, Sammy over at The Nailasaurus (@thesammersaurus) has her followers use #looknailasaurus in the caption of their photos if they were inspired by her work. Imitation is flattering – and most artists would love to see that they inspired you! Be sure to check their original image and see if they tagged anyone else that they were inspired by for their own rendition. If you know you were inspired by a work, but truly cannot find the original artist, acknowledge that in your post.

Often, you were not the first person to come up with a design. It would be hard to claim you “own” a signature ice cream manicure – and sometimes what you thought was a totally original idea might have thousands of results on Google or Pinterest once you look it up. “People can definitely be inspired by the same thing as someone else and come up with a very similar design,” says @littlemissknotty. While you are welcome to try out these looks and be proud of them, avoid falsely accusing people of stealing your concept.

If you have a new account you want people to check out – don’t go around spamming everyone’s comments. Copying and pasting “f4f” on Instagram images may give you followers short term, but ultimately those people probably won’t be true fans of your work or are just looking for extra followers themselves. And frankly, spammy comments like that are annoying. Establish yourself in the community by making specific points and having real conversations within comment feeds. Show people you are human and worth following!

Be nice! Everyone loves getting a bunch of comments on their photos – especially if those comments are about how good the nails look. Hitting the “like” button is easy, but taking a minute to leave a few nice words goes a long way.

-Sarah Emick