Acrylic: Understanding Mix Ratio

by Holly Schippers | April 29, 2011

We have covered great cuticle work as an option to help prevent lifting. If you work with liquid-and-powder products another culprit can be the mix ratio. The mix ratio can vary from company to company, so it is important that you know and understand what the mix ratio is or should be like for the product you use. I made a video using CND Retention and Perfect Color Powder. But I’m also including some advice from educators of other companies listed to help non-CND users!


Young Nails

I don’t use a mix ratio because everyone uses a different (size) brush and each nail (size) is different. I dip my brush into the liquid, grabbing the appropriate amount and pick up a pearl of acrylic, generally half the size of the nail plate. Before I place my pearl, I look to make sure that it is smooth in texture and not too dry or wet. If it is too wet I will drain some liquid on my towel. Too wet of a pearl will cause flooding of the cuticle and will affect adhesion as well as unnecessarily over-exposing the skin to product. As for too dry, well, you can’t really work with it much without drowning it with liquid once it’s on the nail, so I just wouldn't try to use that pearl.

Jennifer Halfon

Young Nails Mentor



NSI Attraction liquid-and-powder requires a medium-wet mix ratio (1½ parts monomer to 1 part powder). To achieve this we recommend submerging your brush into the monomer liquid and gently spreading your brush on the bottom of the dappen dish. This will release any air that is trapped in your brush. Then using only the tip of your brush, gently drag and press your brush into the powder. When the bead is formed and removed from the powder, look at it and make sure that all the powder gets absorbed into the liquid. The bead should have a slightly dimpled look and resemble that of frosted glass — not to shiny with no excess powder around the edges of the bead. If the bead looks dry get rid of it and start over. If the bead is too shiny (wet) tap it gently back into the powder to pick up a small amount of powder. Service breakdown could result without the right amount of liquid. When the bead is too dry it will cause lifting, weakness, and bubbles. When the bead is too wet the result is potential lifting, bubbles, excessive shrinking, overexposure, and lengthened set and cure time.


When the correct mix ratio is achieved the following is assured:

Proper adhesion

Excellent retention

Strength and toughness


Prevention of overexposure

Proper set and cure times


— Holly

Read more about

Find out why over 400,000 subscribers love our newsletters

Load More