Acrylic Nails

What's Your Problem?

Whether you’re a beginner struggling to reduce thickness at the cuticle or a veteran whose C-curve is looking flat, this troubleshooting guide, put together by nail technician Shari Finger can help. Here are her tips to combat common acrylic woes.


Marbleisation: When using white tip powder; a variation appears, giving the white a marble-like appearance. 

Solution: Try using a slower-setting monomer A faster-setting monomer can act so quickly it can stop the pigment from evenly dispersing Another possibility is that your product is too wet Try a slightly drier mix.

Pitting: After you file out the nail, pits or small holes appear in the white tips.

Solution:  Use more monomer with tip powder to create a wetter consistency (You’ll have to experiment since different ratios apply to different products) Also patting or overworking the acrylic can cause air bubbles that create pits.

Wiggly smile line

Solution: One of the secrets to a smooth smile line is to apply the acrylic wet enough that you are able to manipulate it, yet not so wet that it flows across the nail or that marbleisation occurs. A brush with stiffer bristles also helps form a firmer smile shape.

Muted smile line: There’s no “pop” between the white tip and pink nail bed.


Solution: This happens because pink gets pulled over white in finishing. To fix the problem, apply the “acrylic on the free edge thicker than the pink used to do the nail bed When you file away the extra thickness, the smile line will be crisp because there will be no pink cohering it.

Inconsistent smile line: You apply the smile line perfectly and then apply the rest of the acrylic. When you go to file out the nail, you realize the smile line is misshapen.

Solution: Try sculpting all your white tips first. Then go back and apply the acrylic to the rest of each of the nails. This will give the white time to set, so it doesn’t smear when you brush back to blend the nail and hail bed areas.

Smile line shadow: A shadow-like effect appears on the cuticle side of the smile line.

Solution: Apply the smile line into the nail bed area. The shadow effect is coming from the natural smile with the acrylic smile fine shown.

Variations of white When using some white tip powders, a variation of the white can occur with each ball applied.

Solution: Some whites blend better others. If you’re working white a white powder whose coloration varies and you need to us more than one ball, try using multiple balls always covering the old area and new, like a painter blending paint Or consider experimenting with other white powders to find one this doesn’t happen with.

Cloudy pink or clear acrylic

Solution: When using either pink or clear acrylic, the product should be as clear as glass. Cloudiness can be related to an improper liquid-to-powder ratio, so try using a wetter application. For a beginner it may be as simple as making sure your monomer is not contaminated with residue from the white tip powder. Use a. separate dappen dish of monomer for the white ‘tip powder application and for your pink or clear product application.

Bubbles in pink or dear acrylic

Solution: There are several different solutions First try submerging your brush completely in the monomer and press the side of it down on the bottom of the dappen dish, then lightly tap off the extra liquid on the side of the dappen dish Another method ft to set the ball of acrylic on the nail bed and use the belly of your brush to press the acrylic fiat. For beginners, try; submerging your brush, tapping the excess off and forming a smaller ball Other possible causes are patting instead of pulling product and overworking the acrylic.

Lifting: After the nail is filed out the acrylic lifts around the cuticle area.

Solution: “The most important step in successful acrylic application is proper preparation of the natural nail. Lifting that occurs immediately after application is usually caused by secondary skin or oil on the nail plate or by under-priming.

Crystallization: A frosty look appears on the nail, usually around the cuticle area.

Solution: Crystallization can be caused by cold temperatures in the salon, or because the monomer is cold or the client’s hands are cold. Have your client wash in warm water to warm up her hands. Keep the salon temperature between 68°-72° and keep the monomer at room, temperature. Once crystallization occurs you can’t reverse it. You Will have to file off the; Crystallized area and re-apply the acrylic. Chances are that it will leave a line of demarcation, so you may need to take the whole hail off.

Acrylic sets fester than normal

Solution: Heat will cause your product to set quickly Beware of spotlights (such as in a competition hall), faulty air conditioning, drafts, or other heat sources including table lamps with bulbs over 40 watts, If the client’s hands are hot, wash them in cool water.

Product in cuticle area

Applying acrylic too close to the cuticle area makes it hard to file out and may cause an allergic reaction with skin contact.

Solution: Placement of acrylic around the cuticle and sidewalls is important because acrylic pouching the skin will lift. Carefully apply acrylic around the cuticle area by using several small balls, then swipe around the cuticle area with the tip of your brush to create a perfect half circle (never touch the skin with your brush). An changewood stick can be used to remove product from deep sidewalls.

Nails do not look consistent

Acrylic is higher on the inside, making the nail look wider.

Solution: Break the nail into zones Apply the acrylic to each zone Learn to apply each nail the; same way for the rest of your career. This will develop consistent-shaped nails. Aid this same procedure should be used when filing File each nail out exactly the same way. This also will increase your speed.

Poor C-Curve: The nail has a flat appearance.

Solution: Place both or your thumbs ore on each side of the nail at the sidewall apply even pressure to both sides as the acrylic sets (right before it becomes matte-looking). Hold it until the product sets. A metal form can be used to create a deeper C-curve without losing its shape.

Thick or lumpy product at the cuticle area: There is a “ledge” where the acrylic meets the natural nail at the cuticle.

Solution: For beginners this is a real problem Use several small balls around the cuticle area. By using a smaller ball, you will have less product to manipulate before it starts to set.

Slow application: Applying acrylic takes too long.

Solution: Your goal for applying a full set of acrylics or doing a fill should be one hour The secret to, speed is very simple and, if practiced, can change your career The secret is in the use of the brush; Make your brush, not your file, do the work. Use the belly of the brush to release monomer to make the acrylic apply smooth Place acrylic only where you want it and at the thinness that you would have filed it to. The key is to eliminate most of the filing. You should only need to file to shape and bevel and buff. It takes lots of practice and learning how to work with the product.

Product control: Difficulty controlling the liquid-to-powder ratio and manipulating the acrylic.

Solution: Mix together the powder and liquid with the tip of your brush. The ability to control this’ ratio will give you control of the application Practice making a wet ball, setting each down on a piece of laminated paper or on sculpting forms so you can see the variation in wetness as you practice your technique Do the same with a medium-wet ball, then make a very dry ball Also concentrate on making the size consistent. By being able to control the size of the bail and the liquid-to-powder ratio, you gain control of the product.

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