So on my last client of the day, I finish her fill, buff her nails, apply gel top coat to one of the hands and it turns out fine. But on the next hand, I do everything like I usually do, but when I put the hand in the light to cure the gel top coat, disaster happens. One finger looks like it has a hole in it (in the top coat) and the others look like the gel has literally shrunk, and they’re bumpy too. I file it all off and start again, but the same thing happens. I try one more time, and it’s still the same. I do it all one more time and even use a different lamp, but get the same results. My bulbs in both lamps are about four months old, so they shouldn’t need replacing yet. What could be causing this shrinking?
The first thing I notice is that you buff the nails. You actually get much better results with gels if you do not buff. Trust me, I know it’s a hard habit to break, but buffing takes up to an extra 10 minutes, and it doesn’t help the gels at all, so it’s better not to do it. The other thing is your client might be washing her hands before you apply the gel top coat. Most soap has oils or some type of conditioning agent to help with dry hands, but this can work against the gel and explain the separation or “hole” you’re seeing. Also, be careful about using a quick acetone swipe to prep the nail before the gel top coat. It can eat away at the acrylic underneath and cause little air bubbles or heat spikes. — Amanda Dodge is an educator and mentor for Young Nails.