Many nail technicians prefer to use a tip seam blender rather than a file alone to blend the artificial tip to the natural nail. Says Lori Ribar, owner of Perfect 10 Nails in Mendota Heights, Minn., “A tip blender minimizes the risk of damage to the natural nail from excessive filing. It reduces the friction caused by filing, and it’s more comfortable for the client. It also saves time for me, too.”

Diane Attkisson, a nail technician at Romeo & Juliet in Las Vegas, Nev., and an educator for Acu-Systems (Las Vegas, Nev.), agrees, saying, “The benefit for the technician as well as the client is that you don’t do extra etching on the natural nail; therefore, using a tip blender protects the natural nail. It also reduces filing time and makes the artificial product easier to apply since the tip is already blended.”

There are two types of tip blenders: brush-on and pen applicator. Before she begins blending, Ribar, who has always used a brush-on tip blender, first etches the tip with a 100-grit file, which allows the tip blender to penetrate the plastic better, she says. Then, she brushes on the tip blender by following the well of the tip from sidewall to sidewall.

“Be careful not to flood the sidewalls because the tip blender can weaken the tip and cause it to crack,” Ribar warns. Next, she waits about 15 seconds before she starts sloughing off the dissolved tip material with a 100-grit file. “I use long, firm strokes and file from one sidewall to the center again,” she explains. Ribar says this method keeps the excess tip material in one piece as well as minimizes dust.

Ribar also uses her tip blender to eliminate acrylic fill lines. To do this, she follows the same steps she uses to remove the seam. The only difference is that she applies the tip blender on the acrylic fill line, which dissolves the acrylic just as it dissolves the seam of the tip, she says.

Tip blenders are also useful for beginning technicians, says Attkisson. They tend to use a file to blend the tip and end up filing too much on one side, especially if the tip has a high well. If they use a tip blender instead, it can help ensure an even, smooth surface,” she says.

Before using the tip blender, Attkisson makes sure no residue is left on the nail and that it’s been cleaned and sanitized. Then, she etches the nail slightly to remove the shine, which promotes better adhesion, before applying the tip. Next, she places the glue directly on the nail, then applies the tip, rolling it from the back forward to press out any air bubbles and to spread out the glue evenly. Then, she brushes one stroke of the tip blender across the seam from one sidewall to the other. After a few seconds, Attkisson takes her buffer and gently sweeps it across the nail twice to remove the excess materials. “The tip blender softens the seam and makes it disappear right in front of your eyes.” she says.

A common mistake many new technicians make when using a tip blender is using too much of it, Attkisson says, which can flow to other areas of the tip and affect its strength.

For this reason, Laurie Piskur, co-owner of The Nail Clinic in Avon, Ohio, and an educator for Star Nail Products (Valencia, Calif), prefers a pen applicator tip blender over a brush-on because she says there is less chance of product overflow.

Immediately after securing the tip with glue, Piskur takes the pen applicator and swipes it several times over the tip seam from sidewall to sidewall. Then, she waits about five seconds before she begins filing the seam with a 180-grit file. “Filing makes the tip blend perfectly to the nail,” she says.

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