Q&A

How can I lay acrylic on a nail without it going onto my client’s cuticle?

Q.

I’m a newbie. How can I lay acrylic on a nail without it going onto my client’s cuticle?

A.

Practice is the key. Use a practice finger with a tip on it to perfect the art of applying the acrylic ball at the cuticle. Usually the suggested ration of this ball makes it a little wetter (check you particular manufacturer’s instructions) and the ball should be smaller if you are sculpting or tipping with a three-ball method. It is important that you lay the acrylic down at the cuticle—not on the cuticle—as this will cause overexposure and lifting—not to mention discomfort for your client while you remove the excess product from her skin.

Using the tip of your brush, lightly touch the back edge of the acrylic ball at the center at approximately a 45-degree angle. Press, pull, or pat (again depending on your manufacturer’s instructions) through the center of the ball. Then, repeat this action on the left and right side of the acrylic ball. This will ensure a thin application at the cuticle to establish a tight yet flexible bond to the nail. It will also create a softer-looking outgrowth between the natural nail and acrylic product, which will please your client between appointments.

First, be sure to read your manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as every company has its own directions and recommends different liquid-to-powder ratios. The ball you place at the cuticle area should be much smaller than the balls you place on the stress and nail bed areas. Until you get your technique down, I suggest that you use an orangewood stick to lightly swipe around the cuticle area immediately after placing the product. This will give you the right amount of distance between the product and the cuticle. Check with your local distributors to see if it offers classes, or call the company that makes the product you’re using to see if it offers a video on the application.

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