How do you rinse a color quickly from your airbrush? I find it takes so long to clear in when running liquid through it that if a client wants two or more colors, I end up just taking the airbrush apart and washing it under the tap. This also takes a long time and looks really unprofessional. Also the second color ends up quite runny.

Elizabeth Anthony: The first step is to use the airbrush cleaner recommended by airbrush nail color manufacturer. Never use window cleaner. In addition, you don’t need to take the airbrush apart or run it under the tap. Set up an airbrush and cleaning area to the side of your station. I like to use a rollcart or cabinet drawer to keep the cleaning discreet and away from my client.

Second, don’t put too much color in the color cup or well – you’ll end up wasting it. After practicing, you will know how much you need to airbrush a set of nails.

To clean color quickly from the color cup, hold the airbrush over a folded terry towel, squirt your cleaner into the color cup or well to flush the remaining color from the airbrush. Flush until clear, then fill the color cup or well and spray the cleaner through the airbrush. To prevent your color from becoming runny, be sure to spray out all of the cleaner before adding your nail color. Load your next color into the airbrush. Airbrush on the towel until your next color is fed through. Go back to your client’s nails. Cleaning the airbrush quickly is like any other nail technology skill – practice will build speed and efficiency.

Nanda Khin: To rinse a color quickly, I add airbrush gun cleaning fluid into the well of the gun, swish the diluted paint mixture with a synthetic-bristled round brush and spray out the mixture full blast. Then I repeat this procedure again. Sometimes I’ll pull the needle back a little and clean the well and the tip of the needle with the synthetic brush.

If a client wants two or more colors, I clean the first color out as described above, but make sure after the second round that there is no cleaning fluid coming out. The gun should produce only air when sprayed full blast. Then add the second color and test spray until the true color appears. In helps to use transparent colors as opposed to pearlized or opaque colors because they have a thinner consistency and rinse out faster. To save time, I don’t clean between colors when using transparent colors. I use pearlized and iridescent colors last so I don’t waste time cleaning. It also helps to use very small amounts of paint so it rinses out faster.

If I’m sculpting a nail and I pinch the sides and the acrylic bunches up in the middle nail, does this mean the acrylic is still too wet?

Mary Metscaviz: Yes. If the acrylic moves or bunches it means you’re squeezing too early. Don’t wait more than 30 seconds to try again though. And always squeeze right in the corners, not the middle of the free edge or you won’t get the correct shaped nail.

Debi Waszut: Yes. Also, if you pinch and leave dents in the sides of the nail, it has not set up to a stage where it is “pinchable.” You should start sculpting your next nail, then go back to the prior nail and start pinching in your sides until the nail no longer springs back out, holding the shape you pinch in. It takes a little practice, but a good pinching technique makes all the difference in the beauty and strength of your set of nails.

It seems like every time I pour monomer into the dappen dish, it spills. Not a lot, but since it happens every time it adds up. How can I prevent this?

Metscaviz: I use pour spouts from NSI. They fit most acrylic liquid containers and there’s absolutely no spilling. Check with your acrylic manufacturer to see if it makes a similar product.

Lin Halpern: Take your acrylic sable brush and hold it vertically over the dappen dish with the tip of the brush pointing downward. With your other hand, touch the mouth of your opened monomer container to the ferrule of the brush. Tip at a 45° angle and the liquid will flow down the brush into the dappen dish without spilling.

Waszut: I purchased a glass candleholder that holds just enough liquid for a set of nails. Not only does the wide base prevent spills, but the deep well in the candleholder prevents the point of my very expensive brushes from being smashed in the bottom of a shallow dappen dish. Spills almost never happen and my need to replace brushes has been drastically reduced.

Elsbeth Schutz: Use a dropper that you can buy at any drugstore.

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