Q&A

How do I transition clients from acrylics to gel-polish when the natural nail is damaged?

Q.

I’ve had several new clients who want to take off their acrylics and get gel-polish instead. I’m seeing damage to their nails from their previous salons. How should I transition them while the damaged areas grow out?

A.

When someone comes to me with acrylics from another salon — and potential damage to the natural nail — I’ve had great success with filing off most, but not all, of the acrylic, using the following process:

> Shorten the nails to fingertip length (before removing any product) by filing, not clipping.

> Thin the existing product down so that it still provides some strength, but is not very thick. Taper the product at the free edge so that it will be thinner and just make sure there is a smooth transition at the cuticle end.

> Continue with the prep and application of gel-polish as usual.

When she comes for the next appointment, I file a bit more acrylic off, and by the third appointment she is typically down to just gel-polish on her nails. The biggest reason I do it this way is that I never want to expose the unhealthy (thin) nail all the way. By leaving some of the old product on, the free edge is far sturdier so clients can go two weeks without chipping. 

— Candice Everest is the owner of Panache Nail Studio (www.panachenailstudio.com) in Camano Island, Wash.

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