So, it has been awhile since I did any work with gels on a regular basis. I admit that I am a die hard acrylic users. I know there are pro’s and con’s to both products.
The reality is that I find doing acrylic on myself so much easier than doing gel. But hey, let’s face it, times have changed and products have improved.
This posts is about learning some new techniques. I am impressed with how Elizabeth Morris from The Nail Hub and Va Va Varnish showed how to get a perfect C Curve while using gel!
Plus, I wanted to share with one of my followers, Muriel, who lives here in Las Vegas and is going to take Elizabeth’s class in San Diego in December, the high quality training she is going to receive.
Here is the C Curve I created after watching Elizabeth’s video. I realized that the gel is hard to capture on film, so I added the white lines so you can really get the idea of how it is curved so nicely.
The view from above, you can really see how I pinched it in. I have not filed this nail at all! Such a great technique.
And here is the video that Elizabeth created so you can learn from it as well.
If you are interested in learning more from Elizabeth here is the link for the class Dec 7th in San Diego!
I can’t tel you how many times in my career as a nail technician when I have plead with my clients to NOT bite their nail enhancements!
“Please, Mrs. Jones, if your bust your nail, just file it and call me! I will squeeze you in for the repair!”
Too, too many times to count!
The reason that we ask you not to rip your enhancement off is that the more you rip/bite/pull off your nail enhancements, the harder it is for the product to adhere!
Simply put, our nails are made of mamy layers of cells including the protien keratin. (Just like our skin and hair, but in a harder form).
When we continually rip/bit/pull our artificial nails off, we take off layers of the protective keratin protein that our body naturally builds for us to protect our fingertips! Our nails.
Once that happens, the enhancements have a harder time making a good connection with our natural nail. The part that is left behind from where we ripped/bit/pulled off is now the weak link in the marriage of our nails and the enhancement.
This will continue to cause the artificial to lift. This is for some folks where the whole thing starts all over again.
They see a lift and they can’t help but ripping/biting/pulling off the nail enhancement.
Another problem can arise from this self defeating behavior. At a certain point the natural nail becomes so weak that it will actually lift off the natural nail bed.
NOT a good thing. Once there is a separation of the natural nail bed and the natural nail, it is like opening a door for bacteria to enter our system. Just like a cut.
And the problem can be accentuated when the customer wears dark polish and works with chemical or does a lot of hand washing.
Bacteria loves to live in dark, warm and moist places. Just like under your natural nails, under dark polish and with some moisture.
This of course is a extreme example (although one I have seen before) but it is in your best interest to leave your artificial nails to the care of your professional nail technician.
Do yourself a favor! If it is broken, either file it down, or call your technician. Let them fix it properly! It will maintain the health of your natural nail so that you can enjoy your lovely enhancements for years to come.
Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore, or inflamed after direct contact with a substance. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: irritant or allergic. Some are quick to disappear and some can become quite serious if not treated correctly.
This is the definition of a condition that can sometimes be found from visiting nail salons.
A professional nail technician will have all the proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place. And use them. That is the first step in preventing the spread of disease and infections.
Proper use of the chemicals that are used during manicure/pedicure and enhancement services is essential as well.
It is the nail technicians duty to make sure that your service experience is pleasant and that you are not exposed to things that may harm you. And to understand the chemistry of the products they use.
Paracelsus, a sixteenth century physician was the first to talk about toxins in scientific terms. His communications about poisons and toxins make it easy to understand that even things that we may think are safe aren’t always. And that things we feel are dangerous may not be at all.
He stated “All substances are poisons; there is none that is not a poison. Only the dose differentiates a poison and a remedy”
He was the first person to recognize that everything on earth is toxic to some degree. It only depends on how we use them.
The Overexposure Principle is that overexposure determines toxicity.
As a example of this, consider salt water. Salt water is highly toxic if we drink enough of it. Yet, we swim in it without fear of poisoning!
Picture courtesy of: www.picstopin.com
Toxicity doesn’t make a substance automatically unsafe, it is the improper use of substances that does that.
Knowledge of the chemicals used in salons is imperative. As I have said in earlier posts, if your nail technician can’t tell you what products they are using, it may be better to move on!
Contact dermatitis occurs when substances touching your skin cause irritation or an allergic reaction. The resulting red, itchy rash isn’t contagious or life-threatening, but it can be very uncomfortable.
If your skin is sensitive to anything, please do yourself and your technician a favor and let them know. This way they can take steps to ensure that they are extra careful and use the proper products.
Also, nail technicians (hairdresser and others who experience prolonged use of certain products) need to take care not to overexpose themselves to products.
Always make sure you are visiting a salon where professionally licensed nail technicians are working.
And contact your health professional if you have concerns.
This may seem like a blog post written quite late for the changing landscape of nail services and nail technology.
I do, however, believe that it is something that needs to be keep in the forefront of the beauty industry. Even if it is only quietly sitting behind all the new and wonderful technology.
When I first trained to be a nail technician in 1989, the use of MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) in liquid monomer for acrylic nails had already been prohibited for use in the nail industry since the late 70’s.
While I was in school the largest concern was that we were using product that did not contain MMA. There wasn’t much discussion, or concern about the primers that we were using on clients natural nails to allow good acrylic nail adhesion.
Most companies used a acid base primer and it worked amazingly well! Which it would of course! It was etching the natural nail plate and making it so it would accept almost any type of liquid monomer/powder formulation.
When acrylic nails first became “the trend”, there were two distinct problems that came to the forefront. The first was MMA in the liquid monomer and the second was the use of the acid base primers.
In thevery early early days of artificial acrylic nails, a nail technician would file off most of the customers natural nail (#1 mistake), then they would apply between 1 and 5 coats of acid based primer (#2 mistake). Then they would sculpt acrylic nails using liquid that contained MMA (#3 mistake).
As stated earlier, the primer would etch the nail plate. Making it more porous which would allow the acrylic to bond TIGHTLY to it. MMA liquid has a very small molecular structure and would bond deeply and tightly to the acid etched natural nail plate.
And because the MMA liquid had such a small molecular structure, the finished acrylic enhancement was “hard as nails” (sorry for the pun)
So hard in fact that they hardly ever broke….But if there was a situation where the acrylic nail was put in a hard spot, like accidentally jammed into a table or caught in a cupboard, the first thing that would break would be the completely compromised natural nail. And since the natural nail was so weakened, it could be damaged quite deeply.
There is a web site that shows a very badly damage nail with MMA liquid acrylic nail on it. If you feel you can handle graphic nail injuries, you can visit it at http://www.acrylicenhancements.com/MMA.html. Again be warned that it is VERY graphic. It also has some clues to be on the look out for regarding MMA being used in salons.
I’m not sure if you have every snapped off a nail (either natural or artificial) but they hurt like heck and it can take awhile to heal. You have to be very careful when you have a nail break deep in the nail bed. This is a open wound that can get infected quite easily. Just think of all the work our hands do in one day. And all the places they get into!
It is imperative that if you have a deep break like this that you keep it clean and dry until it heals completely.
My best advice is to shorten the nail (being careful to keep your clients discomfort at a minimum), clean it well with antiseptic and allow it to heal completely before re-applying any type of enhancement.
It is a professional nail technicians duty to work only on healthy intact nails and skin….but hey, you all know that.
The advancement of low acid, no acid primers, and primer-less acrylic systems have made these early problems easily avoidable.
As well as the ban on MMA liquid monomers.
Some companies such as OPI have a bonding system where they use ph balancers (Bondaide) and a acrylo-keratin bonding agent (Bondex).
Bondaid, which is applied to prepped and cleaned nails, balances the PH level in the natural nails so that when the Bondex is applied, it will form a tight bond.
With Bondex, the keratin in the bonding agent attaches to the keratin in the natural nail and the “acrylo” in the bonding agent waits for the acrylic to be placed on the natural nail. This works like double sided tape! Much more gentle on your natural nails.
In today’s time, there is no reason to use harsh chemicals to have beautiful nails!
Although, unfortunately, some unscrupulous nail salons still do. But that is another blog post for sure.
For now, be aware of what your salon is using. (If they can’t tell you and show you the product they are using, it is better to move on. They need to know what they are using for acrylic, gel and wraps. NOT just the brand of polish they use)
A quick hint. If there is a very acidic odor in the salon that you are interested in, go ahead and ask them what they use. And while your at it, ask them what their sanitization practices are.
Any reputable salon will quite happily tell you what they use for both of these things.
If I have made things more confusing for you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would be happy to help make this clearer for you and the safety of your nails and health.
I met a lovely lady the other day and in our conversation, we started talking about nails.
She was wearing a very pretty french manicure with a coppery bronze twist. It was coppery bronze sparkle at her free edge and then a pretty clear to complete the look.
She asked me, why sometimes, when she is getting her gels done and she puts her hand into cure, that there is a “burning” sensation on her nail bed.
I told her that there could be many different reasons. I thought I would share them with you as well.
To begin with she was wearing a structured nail. This is different from the newest craze in nail care, gel polish. Although they both require a uv source to cure them, the chemical make up is different.
One of the reasons for her burning sensation could be that her nail technician accidentally applied too much product at one time. Once you put your hands into the light source to cure, it starts a chemical reaction. UV Cured systems (either structured or gel polish) require a UV light source in conjunction with photo-initiators in the gel that lets them start to cure.
If there is too much product on a nail, then, basically, there is too much action in one spot. This causes the “burning” sensation.
One more reason is if your nail technician is using a new light source or has new bulbs in her existing UV light source. Its kinda like when you put additives in your fuel. It ups the octane level to make your engine run better. New lights=better performance which can equal quicker initiation of curing in gels.
Another reason is if you have sensitive nails. Either naturally sensitive nails, or from some type of internal (health issues) or external damage to your nail bed. If your natural nail has been compromised, then using any type of enhancement may have some level of discomfort. Please don’t be afraid of using enhancements just because of this statement.
If you are going to a licensed nail technician, then they should know if your nails are compromised past the point of being able to enhance them. Make sure your “tech” is licensed in your state or province (where applicable) and up to date on current health, safety and most importantly sanitization standards.
As a professional nail technician, I always welcomed clients inquiries into my sanitization policies, as well and what products I used. If you aren’t getting a straight answer from your prospective nail ‘tech’, MOVE ON!
On this point, please do not continue using any type of treatment on your nails (or hair or skin for that matter) if you are experiencing pain. Especially if you or your nail technician notice changes in your natural nail or the surrounding areas.
Now that I have cloaked this blog in doom and gloom, I want to point out that nail care in general and artificial nail enhancements are a wonderful things.
They can make you feel dressed to the “nines” even when you are in your PJ’s.
They can show a different side of you. Whether you are a closet ” rocker” or just love classically, neat, tidy and well groomed nails.
Or whether it is a mad dash into the salon to get a quick fix up for that important meeting that makes you feel that “Yes, I am ready for this!”
They can make us feel polished and completely put together!
Besides, who doesn’t like spending a hour with someone who is holding your hand and giving you some undivided attention?