With the increase of natural nail services in the salon and the growing interest in odor-free products, I thought this month I would explain some of your options to you.

Although it’s technically not a natural nail care service, dip or powder-and-adhesive services are a good option for clients who don’t want full acrylics but can’t get their own nails growing.

Dip products generally work as follows: “You apply a coat of nail adhesive to the natural nail (or nail and tip) and then sprinkle a powder on the adhesive. This forms a hard coating on the nail that protects it, yet leaves it undamaged by filing. You may need to apply a couple of coats to achieve adequate strength, It also allows you to fix just one or two nails, If applied properly, dip products require very little filing and if they use glue as a base, they require no filing of the natural nail. Some examples of dip products are Backscratchers’ Extreme, European Touch’s Momentum, and ibd’s 5 Second Express.

This is also a great “quick” repair service over other artificial nail products. The beauty of this method is there is no commitment. The product soaks off easily in acetone or files thin for grow off. But the best reason to add this service is there is next-to-no learning curve. It is easy to do (as long as you keep the glue off the skin).

The subject of finding and offering artificial nail services with no odor is always a favourite on my website. Acrylic odorless or odor-free products tend to perplex traditional nail techs. (Note that the term odorless usually refers to acrylics, whereas odor-free can mean any product including wraps, UV gels, light-cured acrylics, and dips,) Although odorless acrylics seem similar to traditional systems, they have a sticky residue that is left on the nail surface before filing. Odorless products also seem to yellow more easily but I have tested them extensively and if they are applied properly they do wear as well as any traditional product. The key is to note that the mix ratio is different than with regular acrylics.

It is critical to the success of the odorless acrylic nail application that the ball of product be on the dry side: I part liquid to I part powder NEVER dip back into the liquid and then smooth the surface of the nail. This will make the nail even stickier. You also get a longer cure time with the odorless products, so this makes them great for new techs.

UV gels are a great odor-free offering and there are some acrylics that use a version of a thin UV gel as the monomer. These products must cure under a UV lamp. I think these products are great, but I would like to offer a warning: Some clients and nail techs can become allergic to one or more of the ingredients in the UV gel. This can be avoided by limiting the contact that you and your customers have with the uncured gel. Here is how.

  • When applying the product to the client, be sure not to touch the skin.
  • If you do touch the skin, remove the gel with a manicure stick and acetone before curing in the light.
  • Once finished with the application, there is a sticky residue on the surface. To remove it you need to use whatever product the manufacturer recommends, but do not wipe it back over the finger or knuckle.
  • Once you think you have removed all the stickiness, wipe the hand and fingertips down with a clean cotton pad soaked in the acetone or remover the manufacturer recommends. Have the client wash her hands with warm soapy water and a scrub brush.
  • Be sure to wipe down your own hands as well. Also remember that the dust from the filings can also be irritating, so wipe down your table surface while your client is washing her hands.

If you do all of the above, you should have very little allergic reactions to this very versatile nail service.

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