Wraps are thin pieces of material (usually silk or fiberglass) that are adhered to nails to help increase their strength and durability. Wraps make great supports for thin or very weak nails, and they can quickly make a difference on clients concerned about breaking or chipping their fragile nails.

Backscratchers educator Christine Vargas of Visalia Calif., explains how she uses wraps and offers some advice on how to introduce them to clients.

“A lot of new techs are unsure whether they should use fiberglass or silk. I always ask the client first how tough she is on her nails. Is she breaking her nails often? Or only once in a while?

If she says she breaks her nails frequently, then I’ll go straight to a fiberglass wrap because they offer more strength — about double that of silk wraps. But if she says she only breaks or chips a nail every once in a while, then I’ll start her off with silk wraps and take it from there. If she needs more reinforcement we can switch to fiberglass.

The most important things to remember during application are to make sure you have a good prep — the nail should be totally clean of oils and dead skin to prevent lifting. And the other thing is to make sure you don’t put the wrap on the cuticle. I recommend leaving about 1/16th” space between the wrap and the outer edge of the nail, all the way around.

Remember when you’re cutting your wraps to fit your client’s nail — smaller is better than bigger, because if you have excess wrap sticking out it will fray when you file it.

Also make sure not to touch the adhesive backing before sticking it to the nail. If you get debris on it or some of the oils from your fingers gets on it then it won’t stick as well to the nail and could cause lifting later on.”

Most wraps are applied using a type of glue, often called a resin, but there are others that can be used in acrylics or gels. Wraps can be applied over tips, in extensions, or just over the natural nail as an overlay.

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