Acrylic Application: Learn to Sculpt with Your Brush

byTracey Lee | August 9, 2019
Nails by Tracey Lee
 - Photographer: Provecho; MediaBrand: NailPerfect; Model: Iris Karacsony

Nails by Tracey Lee

Photographer: Provecho; MediaBrand: NailPerfect; Model: Iris Karacsony

Gel users are very spoiled as gel is amazingly self-levelling and that solves many challenges that liquid-and-powder users face. With liquid-and-powder, it is essential that we sculpt with the brush and not with the file. In other words, we learn to place our product so well that there will be minimal need for filing. In order to do this properly, we should be using our application brush at different angles to achieve the right placement.

One of the causes of lifting is poor application of the product around the proximal nail fold. We should be wrapping our product around the nail, not simply pressing on top.

Incorrect application -

Incorrect application

Correct application -

Correct application

As you can see in the pictures above, this way of applying product can cause overexposure. The brush is constantly in contact with the skin surrounding the nail plate.

Secondly, this way of applying product leaves a ledge around the proximal nail fold. This “ledge” will need to be filed away in order to create a smooth transition from natural nail to enhancement; however, it may be very difficult to position your file to file it away. Often in cases like this, the file is used at a dramatic angle (otherwise you can’t reach the area) and this may cause “rings of fire” or file marks on the nail plate.

Ring of fire  -

Ring of fire 

When you have sculpted with your brush, there is very little file work to be done and where necessary, the product has been applied at an appropriate angle to be able to file easily without damaging the nail plate.

Read Tracey Lee’s advice on C-curves and form placement here.

Read Tracey Lee’s advice on mix ratio here.


Tracey Lee  -

Tracey Lee 






Nail artist and independent international nail educator Tracey Lee was the winner of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season 4. Follow her on Instagram @traceyleenails. Check out her site, for more nail education.

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