Q&A

How can I avoid gel-polish pulling away from the free edge?

Q.

I have trouble with gel-polish pulling away from the free edge.  How do I fix this issue?

A.

Many factors cause gel-polish to shrink. It’s important to start at the beginning of the service to cover all factors. Have clients wash their hands with non-moisturizing soap and water, rinse and dry well, and use non-moisturizing hand sanitizer. Use a cotton ball with acetone to wipe each nail, including surrounding skin up to the first knuckle, to temporarily dehydrate the area. Prep the cuticle dry and remove shine from the nail, brush off all dust, and wipe clean with a lint-free pad (I use a makeup wedge) and alcohol. Apply dehydrator. At this point you should see a dry, non-shining nail plate. Allow the nail to dry completely before adding a thin coat of base coat and curing it for the full cure time. Thinness is key. Apply the first coat of gel-polish color thinly as well and set it for the full cure time. To test your bulbs, wipe the nail with alcohol and a lint-free pad after curing.  If color comes off, your lamp is most likely the issue.

If it doesn’t, continue with gel-polish layers, top coat, and cap the free edges. Another advantage to curing for the full recommended time is that your client’s hand remains in the light, not getting into trouble as you are polishing the other hand. Finish with a scented cuticle oil and lotion to replenish the moisture and end the service on a fragrant note.  


    — Amy Masters, Dayton, Wyo.-based nail tech and salon owner.
Find out about her online nail workshops on Facebook @workshopsbyamymasters.

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