Nail Educators Answer Your Frequently Asked Questions

We asked top nail educators what questions they get most frequently, and they gave us the tips and tricks that will ensure your clients’ manicures are flawless. Read on to get the inside scoop on how to tackle every nail dilemma from stamping to getting chrome nails that last.   

<p>Nguyen</p>FAQ: How do I stamp a design?

Robert Nguyen, Color Club: There are many different stampers out there, and not all of the plates are the same. With the stampers I like to use, it’s all about using very light pressure in order to pick up the whole design. There’s a certain way we like to roll our stamper, and a certain angle to use in order to pick up the whole design or pattern. First, clean your plate with acetone to make sure you don’t have any polish residue left. Next, wipe the polish over your design, and then lightly roll the stamper over it. When you lightly roll, you’re going to be able to pick up the whole pattern throughout the whole plate.

This is where most people mess up. We all had stamps when we were kids, and what we liked to do was press down hard and wiggle our stamp. When you do that, it doesn’t always pick up your design.

Watch a video of Robert stamping at

<p>Silvestro</p>FAQ: What is the best way to adhere crystals to nails?

Gina Silvestro, Akzentz: My first step is using Akzentz Gel Play Bling-On, a very high-viscosity, thick gel created specifically for crystal application. A lot of people think they can just put the Bling-On on the nail, and then the crystals, and that they’re going to stay, but it’s actually a two- or three-step process.

To prepare to create a cluster, take a little bit of gel and place it down in the shape of a bead. When you look at it from the side, you can see it’s very 3-D, almost like a little pea. Place your crystals in that bead of gel, and remove any excess, because you don’t want a big squirt of gel sticking out the side. Cure for 30 seconds in an LED lamp and pivot your fingers from side to side while under the lamp. This will help the light penetrate in between those crystals, because the foil backing on the crystals could prevent the light from curing the gel all the way through. Then, run some gel around the edges of each crystal. I use Akzentz Crystal Clear Gel. I’ll pick up a little bead, then take that bead and go right around the edge. Think of it as a diamond ring that has prongs on the sides to keep it in place.  Run it around the entire perimeter of each crystal, creating a secure ring of gel that’s going to hold it in. Watch Gina demo this at

<p>Holt</p>FAQ: What’s wrong when the top gel is not shiny after the nail is cured in the light?

Yvette Holt, LeChat: If you are using old lightbulbs in a UV light, this could be a problem. If you’re using another manufacturer’s light, then it may not be designed for your gel. If it is only one finger such as the thumb, it could be a placement issue. Curing the thumb separately may be necessary.  If I rule out the light being the problem, then I turn to the product. Are you using a non-cleansing gel and  not curing it long enough? That would cause it not to be shiny.



FAQ: Does it really matter which lamp I use to cure my product?

Holly Schippers, CND: The answer to that is a resounding “yes.” Responsible companies test lamps to be sure their products will be properly cured and not just set enough to be filed. As industry scientist Doug Schoon often mentions, one of the most common issues facing the industry is service breakdown and overexposure caused by under-cured and over-cured products.

<p>Schuetz</p>FAQ: How do I remove gel-polish easily?

Elsbeth Schuetz, Orly: I recommend using Orly’s new GelFX Easy-Off Basecoat. Prep nails for a dry manicure, then skip primer and apply the base coat. Add GelFX color, top coat, and cure. Remove the tacky layer. When removing, break the seal as usual, then soak off for five minutes. You can push off the remaining gel easily—it almost completely flakes off in half the time.


FAQ: How can I make chrome nails last longer?

Sean Phan, IBD: For chrome nails, apply a base, then add two layers of the color of your choice. Cure each layer for 30 seconds. After you cure the color, apply another coat of no-cleanse top coat gel and cure for 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure not to over-cure, then apply the chrome. A lot of people have a hard time roughing the chrome into the top of the nail, but you don’t have to rough it too hard in order to make the nails shiny, because the chrome is already shiny by itself. When you apply the chrome, cap the end of each nail with top coat. When you don’t cap the edges of the nails, your chrome won’t last, because if the nails chip on the edge, the chrome will come off.

Have more questions? Go to to read more nail questions and answers for a wide range of topics.

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