What is the chemistry behind nail prep items that help with bonding?


What is the chemistry behind nail prep items that help with bonding? Are they just super dehydrators? Is something added to the nail that remains there or does it all evaporate?


Service breakdown often begins with improper nail plate preparation; therefore, it is important for nail professionals to take the time to ensure the natural nail is properly prepared before the start of the service, making nail prep products important tools for achieving trouble-free services. Proper hand-washing before the service is essential. Even so, hand-washing can’t do the entire job.

Oils and other contaminants on the surface of the nail plate can block proper adhesion, and nail oils used during the manicuring process can leave residue that may prevent proper adhesion.  Therefore scrubbing the nail plate with a high-quality nail cleanser before applying nail polish, enhancements, or other types of nail coatings is essential to a successful service. Excessive moisture can also create poor adhesion, which is why it is important to ensure that nail plate surfaces are relatively dry.

Some prep products are designed to temporarily dry the uppermost surface of the nail plate to ensure the development of proper adhesion. Certain prep products leave behind functional ingredients that can provide extra value to the client and nail professionals, such as pathogen fighters, which help prevent bacterial contamination and/or adhesion promoters. — Doug Schoon is chief scientific advisor for CND.


OPI's Bond-Aid® pH Balancing Agent is a bonding agent that helps products adhere to the natural nail plate. It works by balancing the pH of the natural nail to make it more compatible with enhancements by making the nail surface slightly more alkaline.  Since the acid groups of primer molecules bond more strongly to an alkaline surface, it helps create better adhesion between enhancements and the natural nail.

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