As shorter nails trend, many nail techs are using nail wraps as a way to give their clients stability while still maintaining that natural look. And as nail wraps make their way back into the limelight, other creative product uses are emerging as well.
Developed in the early ‘80s, nail wraps are thin products made from paper, silk, linen, fiberglass, mesh, or other fabrics applied to the nail for extra reinforcement. They can be embedded within acrylics and gels or used as a natural nail coating or extension and sealed with resin.
“Nail wraps, in a way, are the redheaded stepchild of the nail industry because of how popular acrylics became around the same time,” says Elaine Watson, VP of marketing and sales for Star Nail. “But they’re coming back as we continue to realize exactly what the product can do. Techs started doing overlay services, and resin and silk wraps can go well under polish. Fiberglass, also, has the same end result as dip acrylics: a stronger natural nail with longer-lasting polish.”
According to Watson, tip sales have been decreasing recently and the rise of soak-off gels has changed the general feeling about how nails should look and should be shaped. Many clients are generally moving toward a more natural nail and the trend is short, says Watson. “A lot of clients seem to be looking for a service just to keep their short nails strong and colored for longer.” Nail wraps fit the bill.
WHO’S THE IDEAL CLIENT?
The most common customer will most likely be a client who’s looking for a natural nail overlay. Nail wraps can also be used to create a bit of a tip as well, if the client’s nails are too short. “Fiberglass or silk gives it a nice natural overlay without being thick and bulky,” says Watson.
Master nail technician Vicki Peters says, if they haven’t already, nail techs should revisit nail wraps because of how undamaging they are to the nails. “If a client needs some help growing out her natural nails, wraps are the perfect service.”
Michael Megna, Backscratchers’ founder and CEO, recommends nail wraps for clients who are allergic to acrylic or primer, or the elderly. As well, he says it’s a common service for clients looking to extend damaged toenails during the pedicure season.
Nail wraps are also great for “transitioners,” or clients who’re giving up acrylics and want to grow out their nails. Transitioners have weaker nails and are subjected to a higher chance of breakage along the road to recovery.
“When you have acrylics, you don’t have to be too careful with your hands,” says Watson. “If you reach for something and bang your nail, it probably won’t break. But when you’re going back to natural nails, this can be shocking. When wearing nails with an overlay, you’re going to tend to adjust to them better as they’re growing out.”
Additionally, anyone with naturally weak nails or someone prone to stress cracks is a prime client for this service since nail wraps work so well on the natural nail.
HOW SHOULD WRAPS BE PRICED IN THE SALON?
Megna says he’s seen a wide range of pricing, but the most common tends to be $5 to $10 more than that salon’s acrylic pricing. “Once you get the education and perfect your skills, you can do a set in 30 to 35 minutes, but keep in mind if the system takes longer, you need to charge for it,” says Megna.
Watson suggests calculating the cost per usage on the product by weighing the product before and after a service. How much of your wrap are you using per service? “All businesses know exactly how much they’re getting out of their product. Consider cost per usage, how long the service takes, and then determine a value on the service per hour,” says Watson. “You want to make your cost back and then a profit — that’s the most important aspect of paying yourself.”
CREATIVE USE TODAY
More and more nail techs have been experimenting with nail wraps for 3-D nail art. You can lay rhinestones and other embellishments directly on the finished wrapped nail and then encase it with another layer of resin. According to Megna, you can put anything on top of fiberglass.
Linen or silk wraps can be used as nail art decals. Paint or airbrush on a design, cut it out, and remove the backing. A simple layer of top coat will make the fabric transparent. This is a great activity to do in advance so you can have it ready for your client if your books are full. Paint on animal print or herringbone for a full nail decal. Nail wrap decals, especially made with fiberglass, work with regular polish as well.
Michelle Aab, technical advisor with Nubar Cosmetics, creates floral nail art for her clients using silk wraps.
NAIL WRAP SERVICE FOR ‘TRANSITIONERS’
A perfect way to transition an acrylic client to growing her own natural nails is by performing what master nail tech Vicki Peters calls the “magic manicure.” A traditional fiberglass or silk wrap sandwiched in a few layers of base/top gel provides the client protection and flexible support while she grows out her nails. Maintenance is easy with a quick buff and a layer or two of the base/top gel every two to three weeks until the nails are healthy enough to go alone.
1. Apply one coat of sticky primer to the nails.
2. Apply one thin, even coat of base gel, making sure you have good coverage over the entire nail. Cap the tip’s edge and cure.
3. Measure the pre-cut wrap to fit the whole nail and cut it to size, leaving a small overlap on the tip’s edge.
4. Dry wipe the sticky layer of the base gel with a lint-free pad (don’t use cleanser) and remove the sticky layer, leaving a small amount of the sticky surface. Place the wrap on the nail with tweezers so you don’t actually touch the nail with your fingers and deposit any oils.
5. Apply one coat of the top gel on the wrap so it becomes evenly transparent and cure the nail. Repeat this step if you feel your client needs more strength.
6. Remove the sticky layer with a lint-free pad.
7. File down the excess wrap with a 180-grit file.
8. Shape the excess wrap down to the natural nail’s free edge shape. As an option, buff the surface and apply one more layer of the top gel and cap the edges to seal in the tip’s edge after filing.