Gina Silvestro, Akzentz: My first step is using Akzentz Gel Play Bling-On, a very high-viscosity, thick gel created specifically for crystal application. A lot of people think they can just put the Bling-On on the nail, and then the crystals, and that they’re going to stay, but it’s actually a two- or three-step process.
To prepare to create a cluster, take a little bit of gel and place it down in the shape of a bead. When you look at it from the side, you can see it’s very 3-D, almost like a little pea. Place your crystals in that bead of gel, and remove any excess, because you don’t want a big squirt of gel sticking out the side. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED lamp and pivot your fingers from side to side while under the lamp. This will help the light penetrate in between those crystals, because the foil backing on the crystals could prevent the light from curing the gel all the way through. Then, run some gel around the edges of each crystal. I use Akzentz Crystal Clear Gel. I’ll pick up a little bead, then take that bead and go right around the edge. Think of it as a diamond ring that has prongs on the sides to keep it in place. Run it around the entire perimeter of each crystal, creating a secure ring of gel that’s going to hold it in. Watch Gina demo this at nailsmag.com/faqcrystals.
Holly Schippers, CND: The answer to that is a resounding “yes.” Responsible companies test lamps to be sure their products will be properly cured and not just set enough to be filed. As industry scientist Doug Schoon often mentions, one of the most common issues facing the industry is service breakdown and overexposure caused by under-cured and over-cured products.
Sean Phan, IBD: For chrome nails, apply a base, then add two layers of the color of your choice. Cure each layer for 30 seconds. After you cure the color, apply another coat of no-cleanse top coat gel and cure for 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure not to over-cure, then apply the chrome. A lot of people have a hard time roughing the chrome into the top of the nail, but you don’t have to rough it too hard in order to make the nails shiny, because the chrome is already shiny by itself. When you apply the chrome, cap the end of each nail with top coat. When you don’t cap the edges of the nails, your chrome won’t last, because if the nails chip on the edge, the chrome will come off.