It’s frustrating for both client and tech when a client’s nail just won’t stay on – either lifting extensively or popping off completely after just a few days. Depending on what products you have tried, you may need to consider whether the product type is compatible with her. Because different products bond with the nail in different ways, one way adhere better on any given client than other.

There are two basic chemical families of products:  methacrylates, which include acrylic and gel; and cyanoacrylates, including silk, fiberglass, “no light” gels, and the newer hybrids which use a resin and an acrylic powder. If you don’t offer at least one product from each of these two families, you may need to expand your menu to accommodate very client.

How do you determine which product will be best for each client? Take this little quiz with a specific customer in mind.

  1. Does more than one nail regularly break or pop off within two weeks of her fill?
  2. Does her nails ever loosen from the cuticle in such a way that pressure on the free edge would lift the back of the product of the nail plate?
  3. Do her nails regularly pull away from the product on the sides or under the free edge?
  4. Do any of her nails ever develop greenish discoloration under the product? (Note: Never reapply product over infected nails)

If the answer to all of these questions was no, the product she is wearing is probably right for her. If you answered yes to any of these questions, answer the following as well.

  1. Does she get fills every two to three weeks? If not, the problem may be lack of proper maintenance.
  2. Were you carefully following the product manufacturer’s directions for application?

Nail preparation, product application, and mix ratio are just a few factors to consider if your skills in these or other areas are less than they should be, work on them. You might even consider taking a class offered by your product’s manufacturer.

  1. Was she taking the proper steps to care for her nails at home? Is she isn’t using cuticle oil daily, wears her nails too long for her lifestyle, or just hard on her nails, she may have trouble no matter what product you try.

If you answered yes to any of question 1-4, and yes to all questions 5—7, the product she is wearing is probably not suitable for her. Switching product families could give you a better result. In other words, if she wearing acrylic or gel, try a wrap or other cyanoacrylate. If she’s wearing  a wrap, try acrylic or gel.

If after switching products she still has adhesion problems, she may simply be one of the small percentage of women who can’t successfully wear an enhancement. In that case, partner with her in natural nail regimen including regular manicures. You and your client will be happiest with ever system works best for her

Janeen Puckett is a nail technician at Affinity Hair in Lakewood, Colo. A nail technician since 1966, Puckett offers an e-book for customer through her website,



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