Natural Nails

Troubleshooter: Strengthen Weak Nails With Wraps

Applying silk wraps to clients with weak, thin, or bendable nails can help them to grow stronger, enabling clients to grow and maintain their nails.

Applying silk wraps to clients with weak, thin, or bendable nails can help them to grow stronger, enabling clients to grow and maintain their nails.

Weak, thin nails are one of the most common ailments among clients with problem nails. Whether a client is just coming off of enhancements, overexposes her hands to water, or simply is a victim of genetics, various factors contribute to weak nails.

So how can you aid weak nails in growing? If your client’s natural nails are not as long as she would like, try extending them with wraps. Wraps are good for the natural nail because they encourage natural nail growth by creating a light, protective shell over the natural nail. Wraps don’t dehydrate the natural nail and are non-porous so that nothing penetrates the natural nail. They also inhibit bacterial growth and are a safe bonding agent.

The most important thing to remind clients is that excessive hand washing with soap and water can take its toll on hands and nails.

Constant wetting and drying of the nails causes loss of natural skin oils and internal stresses, which break the nail’s tiny protein plates apart. The plates are ordinarily interconnected by tiny subcellular elements that hold them firmly together. Constant wetting and drying rips the plates apart and allows weak nails to develop. Suggest to your clients that they wear gloves when using cleaning agents and detergents.

In the meantime, reinforcing the nail with a wrap can help. Many nail techs like to use fiberglass, silk, or juliette wraps to protect the nail from further damage. Wrapping involves covering the nails with a material that becomes an integrated part of the nails as they grow out. Which product you use depends on the client’s lifestyle and your preference.

In this particular case, Wendy Megna of Backscratchers Salon Systems guided us through the application of silk wraps, since our client had nails that are bendable to the touch. [Photo 1]


“Strength is created by the combination of silk, resin, and activator,” says Megna. “Silk is measured by tensile strength — per square inch — for reinforcement. The nail accepts the silk system as its own appendage and it never becomes brittle or discolors.”

First, prepare nails by sanitizing the hands. Rinse hands and nails with warm water and dry thoroughly. Do not use primers or dehydrators.

Then, remove shine with a 600-grit file and push back the cuticle with a pusher. Trim and shape natural nails, leaving 1/16 of an inch of free edge. Customize each silk wrap by cutting them down to size. [Photo 2] Make sure to leave 1/16 of an inch around the cuticle and sidewall. Since the silk and resin work together, it’s important not to get too close to the cuticle or lifting may occur.

Apply a thin coat of resin to the natural nail [Photo 3], being careful not to get it on the cuticle. Start with a small drop in the middle and spread it from side to side, working your way toward the free edge.

Immediately after—from seven to 10 inches away — lightly mist (instead of spraying) with activator.

Next, peel the backing off of the pre-cut customized silk wrap and carefully place the material down on the nail. Using your finger, tap the edges down without putting too much moisture on the fabric. [Photo 4] Cut off any excess wrap. [Photo 5] Apply a thin coat of resin to the strip to saturate the silk until it’s transparent. Apply a second coat of resin and mist with activator. Apply a third and final coat of resin, making sure to seal all edges, and mist with activator.

To finish, gently dull the surface shine with a 240-grit file. Do not file heavily as it may expose the silk. If exposed, lightly reseal with resin and mist with activator. Also, blend around cuticle and nail groove. Feel around the edges; these areas should be smooth before buffing. Use a three- stage buffing process: 600-grit, white, and gray buffers. Make sure the surface feels smooth. [Photo 6] Apply cuticle oil.

Silk wraps can be buffed and worn with or without polish. The sheer nature of the fabric is also conducive to fortifying nail tip extensions without making the nail too bulky. Clients can also receive hot oil and paraffin treatments with wraps.

Keep in mind that the nail should look completely natural. The texture should not be visible on the nail. Silk wrap systems are moisture resistant and resistant to temperature changes.

A silk wrap can last from three to eight weeks. If lifting occurs, simply make certain that the nail is dry, and reapply.

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