How does salon temperature or body temperature affect the acrylic application process? Does it cause lifting or cracks?
Janeen Jesse: Acrylic polymers contain initiators, the keys to starting the chemical reaction with the monomer that creates polymerization or “curing” of the acrylic product. In the presence of heat, the initiator molecules mixed into the polymer trigger the curing process. Many monomers cure at 68°-74°F, normal room temperature. You client’s body temperature will not impede the curing process, even if she has cold hands. It’s the salon temperature and product temperature that matter most.
In my experience, lifting and cracks, as well as the crystallization often attributed to cold temperatures during application, are usually caused by an improper ratio of liquid to powder—not by temperature-related factors. Most manufacturers recommend a medium-wet bead consistency, but you should check with your product’s manufacturer for specific recommendations.
If you were mixing cement, you can imagine that too much water would make the cement weak. Too much cement mix would make it brittle. It’s the same with acrylic. A mix ratio that is too dry will create acrylic prone to breakage. Too much liquid is a common cause of lifting.
As the acrylic cures and shrinks over several days, an overly wet mix will shrink too much, forcing the apex of the acrylic nail to detach from the nail plate—a phenomenon called center lifting.
So although other factors such as nail preparation and the client’s lifestyle can contribute to lifting and cracking, avoiding drafts and maintaining a proper mix ratio will help to avert these problems.