For two weeks I’ve been trying to increase my experience on acrylics on models, but I have chipped nails and unhappy models. I'm so discouraged.

December 01, 2012

I’m a newbie nail tech in my first job. For two weeks I’ve been bringing in models to increase my experience on acrylics and tips before I start taking on real clients. So far three out of the five models are complaining of their nail tips chipping off, popping off, etc. I have no clue as to what I’m doing wrong. I’m so discouraged. I worked so hard to do those nails (for free), and I have unhappy people and no idea if it’s my technique or if these people are prying things open with their acrylic nails and using them like tools. I feel like I should quit now before I upset any clients.


Your freebies need to understand you’re doing their nails for free because you’re still learning. They have a certain responsibility to help you.

Start asking questions. What were you doing when the nails chipped or came off? Did they lift from the cuticle area and then come off or were they doing something to put pressure on them to make it happen? The answers to those questions will tell you a lot and will help you do nails better.

If they are lifting, then coming off, most likely it’s your nail prep or technique (liquid to powder ratio, stress area, product placement). Take some steps to perfect those things and you’ll solve many of your problems.

Watch lots of videos on YouTube. I’d suggest the Young Nails series. They really get down to basics. Their education works for all systems. Go to as many classes as you can afford and ask for help! The educators have all been in your shoes and love to help.

If your client testers are just being abusive to their nails then you don’t need them to help. Get two or three people who are very willing to help you out no matter what happens with their enhancements. And remind them their nails are something you put on top of natural nails — they are jewels, not tools — they need to treat them that way.

Hang in there. We all had the same problems. You’ll do just fine. Keep on working the education.

— Sharon Frenz, The Nail Boutique, Tomah, Wis.

I believe the rule of nails is 100 sets. It does take a lot of practice to get it down pat. Keep practicing and you will get it!   

— Brenda Bakker, Pretty Pampered Salon, Thedford, Ontario, Canada

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How can I prevent lifting when my client's hands are constantly in water?

I have a client who is in the medical field so her hands are constantly in water. She has me keep the length of her acrylic nails short. No matter what I do, she always has at least one nail that comes off, and she always has lifting and gets water under the acrylic. I prep the nails correctly, I have a cuticle bit to clean the cuticle area, and I wipe the nail with alcohol, dehydrate the nail, and prime the nail. What should I do?

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