POLISH: a solvent-based coating containing pigments and/or dyes that dries when exposed to air.

Problem: Polish getting on the skin
Solution: Use balance-point positioning. Brace the hand that holds the client’s finger on the table, and hold the finger between your forefinger and thumb. Then use the little finger of your polishing hand to anchor it to the three unused fingers on the holding hand. This lets you pivot your brush in a smooth and comfortable way. Note that the thumb and forefinger of the holding hand pinches the client’s finger to pull back the soft tissue from the nail plate. This makes the nail bed a little bigger and ensures complete polish coverage.

Problem: Polish applied too thickly
Solution: Use the three-stroke method. Patting polish on can make it dry slowly and look thick. Three long, fluid strokes is the best way to apply polish evenly. Lay the brush flat to the nail; make one stroke down the center, then two on the sides. By practicing this along with balance-point positioning, your polish applications will get faster and more precise.

Problem: Hands too shaky
Solution: Don’t polish on an empty stomach. Low blood sugar can cause slight tremors and distract you from the job at hand. Make sure to eat something before work and stay fed throughout the day by snacking between clients or having a healthy lunch.

Next page: Gel troubleshooter

[PAGEBREAK]GEL: pre-mixed nail enhancements that stay semi-liquid/semi-solid until cured with UV rays. Traditionally, gels are packaged in pots, but some are now available in polish bottles.

Problem: Client wary of UV ray exposure from lamp
Solution: Print out a copy of “Do UV Nail Lamps Emit Unsafe Levels of Ultraviolet Light?” to educate your client. If she still expresses anxiety place a small piece of white cloth over the hands when placing them in the UV nail lamp, allow her to apply sunscreen, or offer her a traditional polish manicure.

Problem: Client pulls out hand from the lamp due to a painful heat spike
Solution: This happens when the chemical reaction that causes the gel to cure occurs too quickly. To prevent the heat spike, first ensure you are using the UV lamp that is made for that specific UV gel. Also, control the temperature in your work area (use low wattage table lamps), apply several thin coats of gel rather than one or two thick layers, and avoid over-filing the nail plate.

Problem: Lifting
Solution: Be sure to remove excess cuticle from the nail plate and properly prepare the entire nail surface. Make sure there isn’t any product on the eponychium or sidewalls after application.

Next page: Gel-polish troubleshooter


GEL-POLISH: a type of gel (sometimes a literal hybrid of gel and polish) that is commonly referred to as a chip-free manicure, it is applied with a brush like traditional polish but is cured inside a UV lamp like a traditional gel.

Problem: Limited color selection
Solution: Layer gel-polish colors. Apply layers thinly, curing between each. (Shown: Various laying combinations on top of Entity’s One Color Couture Gel in Little Black Bottle)

Problem: Added glitter is causing service breakdown (chipping, etc.)
Solution: The culprit is often under-curing, meaning the light does not permeate the product because of the added embellishment. So be sure to apply the product as thinly as possible, then add a layer of clear acrylic or gel over the top of the art and stress area. The additives you choose to mix with your product should never make up more than 30% of your mixture.

Problem: Color appears uneven when applied
Solution: Shake the bottle (with the lid on tightly) for a consistently smooth application. Store the bottles at room temperature, and seal the lids tightly each time on a clean bottle neck. Tip: Use a hobby store paint shaker, like the one by Robart, to take the shaking strain off your hands.

Problem: Gel lifting from the free edge, leaving it bare
Solution: Gel shrinks when it cures, so make sure you seal the free edge by applying the gel horizontally at the very edge

Next page: Acrylics troubleshooter

[PAGEBREAK]ACRYLICS: nail enhancements made by combining a liquid (monomer) with a powder (polymer), which chemically causes the mixture to harden.

Problem: Nails “pop” off in one piece
Solution: Make sure your applications steps are flawless. Possible causes are: 1) Product applied over the cuticle. 2) Oil left on the natural nail. 3) Over-prepared nail plate. (File natural nail very lightly only.) 4) Product was applied too dry. 5) Forgot to prime. 6) Tip covered more than half the nail bed.

Problem: Bubbles in the pink or clear
Solution: Submerge your brush completely into the monomer, press the side of your brush down on the bottom of the dappen dish, then lightly wipe the extra liquid on the side of the dish. Another method is to set the ball of acrylic on the nail bed and, using the belly of your brush, press the acrylic flat. For beginners, try submerging your brush, wipe excess off, and form a smaller ball.

Problem: Smile line is cloudy, not crisp
Solution: Apply the white near the smile line higher than the pink used to do the nail bed. When the nail is filed out, file the area that is higher away and the smile line will be crisp.

Problem: Poor C-curve (the nail has a flat appearance)
Solution: Before the product is fully hardened, mold the curvature using a wooden dowel (shown) or sculptured nail form. 

Related Videos:

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