Troubleshooter Part 1: GelColor Preparation

Flawless application of gel-polish requires proper nail preparation. OPI educator Shannon Rooney provides seven prep steps to take for every GelColor service.

Just as nail techs are trained to cleanse a nail after gel-polish application to remove inhibition layers, nail techs should also incorporate key cleansing steps before product application into their routine. “A good scrub beforehand (excuse the pun), rids the nails of not only dirt and surface oils, but also of bacterial and fungal spores,” says Shannon Rooney, educator for OPI. “Any debris left on a nail will cause lifting in any type of beautification process on nails. Cleansing the nail after before gel-polish application  is as vital as cleansing after you finish. Eighty percent of good adhesion in any nail product application is nail prep! The other 20 percent is good quality products and the proper technique in the application of those products.”

To successfully prep nails for gel-polish application, Rooney recommends skipping the soak and opting for a dry manicure or pedicure. “In traditional manicures and pedicures, the nail will absorb water and swell. The nail (in its altered state) will eventually dry out and shrink from the GelColor. This will cause the GelColor to separate from the nail,” she says.

Follow these steps to maximize nail prep before you even begin OPI GelColor application.

1. Wash your hands with OPI Swiss Blue Antibacterial Hand soap. Ask client to do the same.

2. Once at the table, both you and your client should rub OPI Swiss Guard Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer into your hands.

3. File and shape nails to the desired shape. Using OPI Pusher Plus dipped in OPI Swiss Guard Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer, gently push your client’s cuticles upward, holding the implement at a 45 degree angle. The shape of the OPI Pusher Plus mirrors the shape of a cuticle so this is a gentle procedure.

4. Using OPI Dexterity (a nail plate detailing tool) dipped in OPI Swiss Guard Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer, apply the flat side to the nail plate and gently glide it down the sidewall of the nail to remove any non-living tissue that may still be on the nail plate.

Step 4 is particularly important because even the smallest amount of non-living tissue can cause lifting and leads to service breakdown.

5. Use OPI AccuNip to carefully trim away any non-living tissue from the nail.

6. Spray an OPI Expert Touch Wipe with OPI N.A.S. 99, and use a left-to-right motion to remove any surface oils or debris from the nail plate. Be mindful to clean near the cuticle and under the free edge. Using N.A.S. 99 on an OPI Expert Touch Wipe uses less product and prevents saturation of the nail plate. Allow to dry.

7. Apply OPI BondAid PH Balancer to the natural nail only, using the 1,2,3 nail polishing technique. Allow to dry. Proceed to application of OPI GelColor.

Pro tip: Check with your state or country regulations on the use of products used for the beautification of nails, including antiseptic hand sanitizer and cuticle nippers.

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