A current trend is to add glitter, mylar, and other embellishments to nail enhancements, but how can nail techs be sure they aren’t compromising the strength of the enhancement and causing premature service breakdown by adding too much? Sometimes the glitter tips I’ve sculpted break off at the free edge, causing clients to doubt my abilities. (This occurs more often in gels than acrylics.)
Most manufacturers will say that adding any embellishment to acrylic or gel — be it pigments, glitters, mylars, clays, etc. — compromises the integrity of the product. The reason is that it interferes with the polymerization, or hardening of the product, which can cause bubbles, stress cracks, and lifting.
In gels, the culprit is often under-curing, meaning the light does not permeate the product because of the added embellishment. Under-cured nails are difficult to detect because they look and feel fine when removed from the light, but they easily lead to service breakdown and may even cause your client to have an allergic reaction.
But as nail artists, we always want to give our clients the latest looks. If you are having a lot of service breakdown, here are a few things you can try.
> Whenever using colored, glitter, or embellished product, always use that product as thin as possible and then add a layer of clear acrylic or gel over the top of the art and stress area.
> The additives you choose to mix with your product should never make up more than 30% of your mixture.
> Be sure to create a balanced nail, as thin on the free edge as near the cuticle, and make the stress area or apex the central and thickest part of the nail.
> Try a different manufacturer’s product. There are lots of great ones out there with newer technology that can handle the stress of the latest trends.
> Talk to other nail artists and find out which product lines they are using, how they are using them, and what works and what doesn’t.
> And finally, don’t doubt yourself. Let your clients know that you are creating a masterpiece and that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sometimes when we try new things it takes a few times to get it just right.
— Jennifer Lambert is an educator for Entity.