Acrylic Nails

Ask Vicki: Vicki Peters Answers Your Technical Questions

In this bimonthly column, nail technician and NAILS Shows Manager Vicki Peters responds to readers' questions.

<p>Vicki Peters, licensed nail technician and manager of NAILS Magazine Shows</p>Dear Vicki,

I have a question about acrylic fills. If the nails are given a French manicure look using pink powder on the nail bed and white powder on the free edge, how do you maintain the French look as the nail grows out? Lee Erica Cruz, Gardena, CA

Dear Lee Erica,

Preparation is very important in maintaining the French manicure look with sculptured nails. When you begin the fill, first file the old acrylic product until it is flush with the natural nail to eliminate any demarcation. If the pink product has discolored, file it even thinner and put new pink on the entire nail bed area. Be sure to file and replace the pink on all nails so they all look the same.

The white tip can be replaced without using a drill, but it is much easier if you use a drill. Drills can be used perfectly safely as long as you don't apply too much pressure or drill one area for too long.

To replace the white tip using a drill, hold the drill bit at an angle and cut into the artificial nail at the smile line. Drill away the white tip two-thirds of the way down to the natural nail.

Make sure there is no lifting of the product on the nail before you apply the dehydrant and primer to the new growth area. It is not necessary to prime the acrylic on the white tip. In fact, primer may cause the tip to yellow, and new acrylic will adhere to the existing acrylic without primer.

Apply the white tip first, and let it dry before you do the pink fill.

You might want to apply the white powder above the natural smile line (into the pink are) to make the tip last longer than one fill.

Dear Vicki,

I am confused and hope you can help me with a crazy acrylic nail problem. I have two or three clients whose nails always lift right before they start their menstrual periods. All of them suffer from PMS and the worse the PMS, the worse their nails lift. The youngest of these clients is 14, the oldest is around 35.

I've tried different acrylic products and also fiberglass wraps but it still happens. I have been doing nails for five years and I've never had this happen with any other clients. What do you think?

Janet Silva, Palm Springs, CA

Dear Janet,

Lifting that is directly related to PMS could be the result of a chemical or hormonal imbalance, which only a physician can diagnose and treat. Some women have a problem with acne at this time of the month, or with water retention, dry skin, or other body changes. It stands to reason that the nails of some women could be similarly affected. It's possible that hormonal fluctuations are causing the nails to dry out slightly, which could cause lifting.

Sometimes, nail technicians react to chronic lifting by using several coats of primer. This can be very damaging to the natural nail. You should never use more than two coats of primer. Try drying the primer with a blow dryer. Also, apply the product in small, wet beads near the cuticle for better retention.

I suggest you give your problem clients a special "PMS Treatment." Schedule their appointments every 10 days instead of every two weeks and offer a special rate. Also try to schedule around PMS time. Your clients will appreciate the special treatment in addition to the extra effort you are putting forth to solve the problem.

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