Getting the right mix of acrylic liquid and powder is crucial to creating long-lasting nails, according to NAILS’ FingerNailFixer blogger and CND educator Holly Schippers. “Too wet can lead to lifting, peeling, and over-exposure, while too dry can cause chipping and cracking,” she says. “Working with a good mix ratio gives us easier application, less filing, and more product control.” A good mix ratio combined with proper prep will make service breakdown much less likely. Here are Schippers’ top tips for achieving the perfect mix ratio.

• Know the anatomy of your brush. The metal part that holds the bristles is called the ferrule, the middle of the brush is called the belly, and the tip, which is a darker color, is called the flags.
• The size of an acrylic bead depends on how much of the brush you wipe on the side of your dish. Wiping both sides of the brush from ferrule to flags will leave less liquid on the brush, while wiping from ferrule to flags on one side and belly to flags on the other will leave more liquid. Wiping from belly to flag on both sides will leave enough liquid to create a large bead.
• Before picking up a bead of acrylic, tap your powder jar so the surface is flat. This makes it easier to pull your brush through the powder.
• Only place the tip of your brush into the powder. This will help create a round dome that will come off the brush easily without leaving residue.
• Recognize a good mix ratio. A good mix ratio of clear acrylic looks like frosted glass. A solid-colored acrylic bead will have a surface like an orange peel: pitted, but smooth and glossy.
• If your acrylic bead is dripping, it’s too wet. The bead will be too smooth, may have a marbled purple appearance, and will flatten too quickly, flooding the cuticle and sides of the nail.
• If you can see speckles of powder on the surface of your bead, it’s too dry. A too-dry bead will be difficult to get off the brush, and the acrylic will be clumpy.
• Know when to correct your bead. If your bead is too wet, it can go back in the powder, but if it’s too dry, you should scrap it. Tapping the brush will shake off the surface layer of powder, but the remaining acrylic will still be too dry. If you have a bead that isn’t the right ratio, be sure to clean your brush thoroughly so dry acrylic doesn’t get stuck in the brush.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.