Nail tech, Elite Design educator, and NTNA competitor Amy Gustafson has developed a pre-lighting technique to prevent heat spikes. “You can slowly insert the hand into the UV lamp starting about 6 inches away,” she explains. “This allows you to control the heat and helps slow the reaction down.”
Gels vary in how long they take to cure and the amount of heat they produce, and different lamps affect cure times too, so there isn’t a set amount of time to pre-light for. “I always do a slow pre-light when applying the initial base layer,” says Gustafson. “After that first layer, there tends to be less heat, so you can continue to pre-light, but you’ll find the movement towards the lamp is very quick (better to be safe than sorry.)”
After applying the first layer of gel, Gustafson gradually moves the nails toward the light. If the client experiences any warm or tightening sensations, she holds the position and waits until the feeling passes. Once the client’s hand is in the lamp, the cure time is started. “Every client is different so this method is great because you are in control,” says Gustafson. “Take your time walking your client through it for the first time — it makes it easier for them to guide their hand in on their own in the future.” For clients with more sensitive nail beds, Gustafson has another, quicker method used mostly for applying a top coat. She removes the bottom of the lamp and raises it slightly above the hand, moving downward and holding her place if the client feels any sensation.
“I’ve heard so many horror stories of clients scared to get their nails done because of the heat they’ve felt. It’s 100% avoidable, and it’s our job as professionals to ensure our clients are comfortable,” says Gustafson.