Masterworks founder Amy Becker says these are four of her favorite tips for perfect gel application.

1. Always pick up more product than the nail requires. Some gel will remain on the brush when you remove it from the nail. If you only pick up just enough gel for the nail, when you remove the brush, you will pull half of the gel with it, and you will only have half of what you actually need. This leads to the tech picking up more gel, wasting time, creating bubbles, and chasing gel that has now heated up from body heat and will flood the cuticle.

2. Keep the gel on one side of the brush only or it will tend to be pulled off the nail and back onto the brush.

3. Never stroke through the center of a gel nail when sculpting using leveling gels. It will pull the product away from the center of the nail and completely destroy the arch in the stress area. A good thing to know: Acrylic brushes sculpt acrylics while gel brushes guide gels — they don’t sculpt. When enough product is used, gel sculpts itself better than a person could ever sculpt it.

4. Just say no to capping the edge! There’s an alternative technique to prevent separation. Capping the edge leads to a bubbled, unnatural looking nail that screams “artificial.” Instead, remove length after the sealant and use an e-file at a 45-degree angle under the free edge. This will thin only the edge of the natural nail so that it isn’t strong enough to flex and pull away from the gel. I have used this technique successfully with every gel product I’ve ever tried.

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