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Problems with gel curing are common in the salon, and it can be difficult to figure out what’s going wrong. Once you have ensured that the nails are prepped correctly, it’s important to consider whether you are using the best lamp for your needs. Here are some of the most common issues with curing, and how to fix them.

Gel-polish doesn’t cure completely

It’s especially common to see incompletely cured gel or gel-polish on clients’ thumbs. In many cases, this is because clients don’t place their hands correctly in the lamp, but it can also be caused by the lamp not having enough bulbs located on the side where the thumb sits. Look at your lamp and see how many bulbs are located on the sides and where the thumbs sit. Some lamps may also have placement grooves to encourage clients to place their hands correctly.

If the problem occurs on other nails, it may be that the gel was applied too thickly, the inside of the lamp needs to be cleaned, or the bulbs in your lamp need to be replaced.

Color wrinkling

Color wrinkling or shrinking happens most frequently with darker, more heavily pigmented colors. It’s primarily caused by gel that has been applied too thickly, but it can also be caused by a lamp with bulbs that are not strong enough to penetrate the gel. Although different models of UV/LED lamps appear to be comparable, some lamps may have weaker bulbs that aren’t able to fully cure the gel. If you’re having problems with color wrinkling, find out what spectrum of light your lamp cures with and consider buying a stronger lamp.  

Heat spikes

Clients often complain of heat spikes when their new gel enhancements are cured. This exothermic reaction is caused by the chemical bonds created when nails are cured. It can be caused by applying gel too thickly or by filing the nail surface too extensively. The more quickly chemical bonds are created, the more heat is generated, so a lamp with variable cure power settings can also help prevent heat spikes by slowing the chemical reactions during curing.

LeChat’s Incure lamp was designed specifically to help alleviate common curing issues. This portable, cordless lamp has 66 bulbs, features 50% and 75% power settings, and provides a broad spectrum of light to ensure proper curing. It has more than twice the usual number of bulbs placed on the sides of the lamp, ensuring that thumbs are cured correctly. It also has well-defined placement grooves to help ensure proper hand placement.