Acrylic, if applied correctly, can disguise most nail deformities, and ski-jump nails (nails that curve upward at the free edge) are no exception.
Acrylic, if applied correctly, can disguise most nail deformities, and ski-jump nails (nails that curve upward at the free edge) are no exception. Disguising the upward slope that gives these nails their name requires only a slight modification to the traditional acrylic technique. You can sculpt with forms, apply tips with overlays, or even do natural nail overlays. Just follow these steps:
SCULPTING WITH FORMS
Step 1. File the free edge of the natural nail as short as possible. This will remove much of the upward curve and allow you to sculpt a flatter nail using less acrylic. Don’t file away all of the free edge, however, or the form will be difficult to fit.
Step 2. Apply the form snugly to the nail. Contour the form as closely as possible to the slope of the nail to avoid creating a gap between the free edge and the form. Vicki Peters, veteran nail technician and NAILS Magazine Shows manager, recommends using foil forms because they are the most flexible and therefore the easiest to contour.
Step 3. Look at the profile of the nail and drop a ball of acrylic on the lowest spot, right before the nail curves upward. Pat the ball with the belly of your acrylic brush to fill the low spot and make the acrylic flush with the rest of the nail.
Step 4. Place another ball of acrylic in front of the first and brush it toward the free edge, simulating the arch of a normal nail. Because ski-jump nails curve upward at the free edge, the acrylic will need to be applied very thinly at the stress area. So reinforce the sidewalls with extra acrylic.
Step 5. Continue sculpting as you would a normal nail, shaping the free edge and filling in the cuticle area.
Step 6. Instead of filing from the cuticle to the free edge, file from side to side with a rocking motion to shape the nail and reduce thickness. Look down the “barrel” of the nail from the free egde to make sure the nail has a consistent, smooth C-curve.
Natural nail overlays can be done on nails without an extreme upward slant if they will be worn short. To do a natural nail overlay, follow steps 2-6.
TIPS WITH OVERLAYS
Step 1. Select a tip with an extreme arch because it will follow the upward slope of the nail and then slope down again, making the finished nail look normal. If you use a tip with a mild curve, it will exaggerate the upward slope of the nail.
Choose a tip with a small well area. A tip with a large well area will have a larger contact area on the nail, and will accentuate the upward curve.
Step 2. Apply the tip over the stress area and blend it with the natural nail.
Step 3. Fill the low spot on the nail with a ball of acrylic, then sculpt the overlay as you normaly would, paying special attention to the arch of the nail. Be sure the sidewalls at the stress area are smooth and reinforced with acrylic.
Step 4. File from side to side with a rocking motion. Examine the nail from the side and down the barrel to make sure the arch and C-curve are smooth.
Whichever technique you use, discourage clients with ski-jump nails from wearing their nails long. Acrylics will only disguise the problem, not correct it. The natural nail will still grow with an upward curve and separate from the product if the nails get too long, making these client’s nails more prone to lifting. Schedule maintenance appointments for clients with ski-slope nails no more than 10 days apart.