Everyone has had this happen. You do a beautiful job on your client’s nails. You polish them an awesome color and maybe even paint a little flower or add a few rhinestones. Then you apply your quick-dry top coat or an extra polish drying product. You make your client wait until you think her nails are safe and when she leaves the salon, you breathe a sigh of relief that she has made it out the door with no smudges.

Then five minutes later she walks back in with a smudged nail announcing,“I thought they were dry!” Some clients even act like it’s somehow your fault they smudged their nails.

With colored acrylics this scenario does not exist. Your clients will love the convenience of having dry, perfect nails when they walk out the door. People are too busy these days to baby their nails for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour after leaving the salon. With colored acrylic nails there is no chipped polish. Since the whole nail is made of colored acrylic, the color will not wear off. Even if your client is particularly hard on her nails and wears down the corners or tips the color will still look great.

The other advantage of colored acrylics is the vast number of color possibilities. By combining colored acrylic powder and glitter you can create a nearly endless variety of color combinations. Your client can choose a different color every two weeks and you can custom-blend colors to match your client’s special occasions like proms and weddings. There is no need to wait for a polish company to come up with a new collection for the new seasons; you can offer your clients a new “collection” of colors whenever you want to.

By having a wide variety of colors there is something for everyone. Even a client who has only ever worn pink-and-whites will try out white acrylic with some sheer glitter mixed into it. This gives her old favorite a new sparkle. Your client will be excited and tell her friends and your business will grow.

And you never know, having taken that first step, next time she may even try something a little more daring. It is very important to be able to change your clients’ colored acrylic nails at each service. If a client feels like she is stuck with a color for a while she may be reluctant to wear colored acrylics.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Before you can make colored acrylics a substantial part of your business, you need to ensure you are able to make money doing them. This means you have to learn to do a colored acrylic fill without taking too much time.  (See my step-by-step on reverse applications here.) It’s a good idea to get some additional training in colored acrylics so you can offer your clients the best service possible quickly enough that the service is profitable for you.

You also want to be able to offer a variety of colors for your clients to choose from in a way that won’t consume a lot of your time during the service. One idea is to have sample cards of all your colors and color combinations. Have these colors numbered or named. Then for each sample have a pre-mixed container with a corresponding number or name. When a client picks a color from your sample card you can quickly get it out and be ready to work.

If colored acrylics are new in your area, the best way to market them is to wear them yourself. Also get your sister, your mom, and some local teenagers to wear them. I have found that when clients start wearing colored acrylics, everywhere they go people ask about their nails. My clientele has grown greatly just by word of mouth. Always use a great image of colored acrylic nails in your advertisements.

When you are excited about something and can do it with confidence your clients will also get excited. Because colored acrylics are still a little new in many areas there is a lot of room for growth. When you start doing colored acrylics you may be the only one in town who is doing it and before you know it your book will be full because you offer something people can’t get just anywhere.


Reverse Application Step-by-Step

It’s important to be able to do a colored acrylic fill quickly. Using an electric file to carve out a new smile line is a very fast way to remove your client’s old colored acrylic or white tip and quickly replace it with new product. I use a method called “reverse application.” When I started using this method I cut over a half hour off my pink-and-white and colored acrylic backfills.

1. First remove the old product by cutting with tip cutters or filing it down.

2. Cut away any lifting and prep the nail before filling the cuticle area.

3. Grasp the finger securely using an over-hand grip. This gives you more control when you are filing. Pull the finger away from the nail so that you can file deeper into the corners without touching the skin with the file bit.

Use a carbide bit to carve the smile line. Set your electric file to a very slow speed. Brace your right hand against your client’s finger with your pinky. You must always brace your right hand to have control.

Run the edge of the carbide bit along the nail starting up in the corner and continuing down into the smile.

4. When you have gone a little more than halfway across the nail you may want to adjust where you are bracing your pinky so you can carve up into the other corner of the nail.

5. Make sure that you remove nearly all of the old colored acrylic.

6. Apply a nail form.

7. Place one acrylic bead at the end of the nail on the nail form. Press the product up into one corner of the smile, then up into the other corner. At this point it is not necessary to keep the smile line clean. You can overlap the tip color onto the smile line — just make sure you have the product tucked all the way up into the corners.

8. With a carbide bit, refine the smile line, removing excess product. When the excess acrylic has been removed you will be left with a crisp smile line. File and shape the nail.

9. It’s optional, but I use a UV gel top coat as my last step.


Mixing in Glitter

Glitter can be mixed with colored acrylic powder instead of clear powder. When you start combining glitters and colored powders the possibilities are really endless. For this demonstration I am using a metallic blue acrylic powder and two colors of glitter — one a darker and one a lighter color. Remember to always keep a three-to-one mix ratio of acrylic powder to glitter. This recipe is six parts metallic blue acrylic powder to one part light blue glitter and one part dark blue glitter.

1. Measure out one scoop of light blue glitter, one scoop of dark blue glitter, and six scoops metallic blue acrylic powder.

2. Mix thoroughly.

3. You can use the mixture immediately or you can save your recipe in a small container to use later.

Christie Gibson is the owner of Christie’s Nails in Ocean View, Hawaii. Check out her education site for nail techs at www.christiesnails.com/education.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.