Can you offer any advice on how to keep my pink-and-white sculpts from turning out too thick?
Most acrylic manufacturers recommend a medium-wet mix ratio to produce nails that are durable without being overly thick.
I suggest you concentrate on the correct mix ratio, which is most commonly medium-wet. Most nail techs find sculpting hard to master because you are building the enhancement to emulate the natural nail without the guidance of a tip. When liquid-and- powder systems are used with the correct mix ratio, the enhancement is strong enough without having to build an overly thick nail. Also, apply only one ball in each zone, which will prevent you from “patchworking” the enhancement.
However, you may add one tiny compact ball for each “dogear” to build a deep smile line when sculpting the free edge.When doing a backfill, be sure to rebalance each zone, not just the cuticle area.
Pam Karousis: First, check the type of brush you are using. Does it pick up too much liquid and powder, thereby creating a thick nail? You might try using a slightly smaller brush or a different shaped brush to see if that makes a difference. Is your white tip too thick? If this is the case, chances are you are trying to add enough pink to build up against the white tip. Ideally, you would sculpt a thin white tip and allow it to set before adding the pink. If it’s still too thick, you could wait until it sets up completely then gently thin it with a file to get the desired thickness before you add the pink. The finished nail structure should appear slightly thinner at the free edge, then ever so slightly thicker at the stress area, then gradually thin out around the cuticle area.
After you are done sculpting and filing, you should be able to take a cuticle pusher and push the cuticle back without any resistance from the edge of the acrylic around the cuticle. It should be that well blended.You don’t want any “ledges” or “cliffs” around the cuticle.
To isolate the problem, try sculpting one entire nail from start to finish — even buffing it out — and see if you think there is something you could improve upon when you sculpt the next nail from start to finish. If you can find a guinea pig to practice this on, it would help you refine your technique immensely.