Use a modified three-ball technique to add a natural C-curve and arch to flat nails beds.
Clients with flat nail beds who want artificial nails present a challenge to nail technicians because these clients’ natural nails have neither an arch nor a C-curve. If you sculpt an acrylic extension without an arch, the nail will look flat and unnatural, especially if it has any length. A nails without C-curves are weak and likely to crack or break when the client dials a phone or types a letter. Therefore, sculpting both arches and C-curves on clients natural-looking nails, but it provides ones that will last.
Veteran nail technician and NAILS Magazine Shows manager Vicki Peters recommends using a modified three-ball technique for clients with flat nails beds. To create a C-curve you need to make the acrylic thicker down the center of the nail, which you can check by looking down the barrel of the nail, from the tip to the cuticle, says Peters.
To build an arch you need to build up the center of the nail, which you check by looking at the side view of the nail. “The nail will look like a humpback at the thickest area when it’s sculpted right, “she says. Peters reminds technicians to use only as much acrylic as necessary to build high spots in the appropriate areas. Acrylic at the free edge, cuticle area, and sidewalls should still be kept as thin as possible. “Fix the problems, but not at the sacrifice of a natural-looking nail,“ she says.
Step 1. Place a dry ball of white powder at the center of the free edge and pat it from side to side. Use the side of your brush to push the acrylic toward the center of the nail, forming a ridge.
“Make the center of the tip thicker than the sides, but don’t take that thickness up to the edge; take it almost to it,” says Peters.
Step 2. Put a medium-size, medium-wet ball of clear or pink acrylic in the center of the nail, behind the free edge. Form the acrylic by patting from side to side, all the while pushing excess product to the center of the nail to continue the ridge.
Step 3. Place a small, wet ball of acrylic in the cuticle area. While you don’t have to continue the ridge in the cuticle area; make the sculpted nail gradually thinner toward the cuticle.
Step 4. Pick up a medium-size, wet ball of acrylic and place it over the center of the nail (where the second ball was placed) to build the arch. Work the ball from side to side and from top to bottom. Continuously check the side view of the nail to ensure the arch looks natural.
“You’re building a cross of thickness over the stress area. You’re trying to fool Mother Nature, so be sure to look at the nail from all angels as you sculpt,” says Peters.
Step 5. As the acrylic dries, push the product to the center of the nail with the belly of your brush so that the acrylic doesn’t level out, flattening your arch or C-curve.
Step 6. File as you normally would, rocking the file from north to south, then east to west so you don’t file away the thickness over the stress area. The acrylic should be thin at the free edge, cuticle, and sidewalls.