Sunday, September 20, 2015

Acrylic Brush Care

Taking care of your acrylic brush seems to be a controversial topic nowadays!  Let me lay out the facts for you:

FACT: Most brush cleaners are made from acetone.

FACT: Hairs in the brush are made from animal fur, just like fur coats. Would you soak your fur coat in acetone?  Acetone is very drying to the hairs on your brush.

FACT: Contaminated liquid is the #1 cause of yellowing in nails.  Using brush cleaner is willingly introducing a containment into your brush.

FACT: The ferrule holds the bristles in the brush with glue. This glue is very soluble in acetone.   Therefore soaking your brush in a brush cleaner can loosen hairs from the ferrule.

FACT: Storing your brush upside down allows liquid to drip into the ferrule which also loosens up the adhesive holding in the bristles.

FACT: Storing your brush in the springs of your lamp allows for dust and contaminants to stick to your brush. (Unless you are covering up your brush somehow.)

Back in 2001, Vicki Peters did a Tip of the Week on this very subject.  I will leave you with her expertise

Tip Of the Week #4 : Brush Care

 Everyone experiences bad hair days, bristles falling out or acrylic stuck in their application brushes. There are some things you can do to prevent this from happening and hopefully these tips can help.

On-going Brush Care
Wipe in-between, after and before and all the time.  I find that I waste more liquid than use, sometimes, keeping my brush in shape as I use it because I constantly re-dip into the liquid and wipe the brush out to keep my point and shape as I work.

I dip my brush into the liquid then wipe it against a dappen dish that is firmly on the table so I can press against the inside of the dish without the dish moving. Then I twirl the tip on my table towel to bring it back to a point. When doing so wipe the tip and reshape without wiping all the liquid out of the brush. Wipe the brush gently instead of bending the bristles at the feral beating it up on the table towel. I find most techs do not care for their brush as gently as I do and I end up replacing my brush less often because of it.

 Application Stickies
 Another little thing I do when applying the white tip product to my nails (most white powder tends to be sticky when first applied). So I dip the brush into the liquid, saturate the brush and wipe it completely out, then re-dip it to the liquid I do want. Pick up the white tip powder and drop it on the tip of the nail. Then wipe your brush gently without wiping all the liquid out and bring the brush back to its original shape. While you're doing this, the product has set up a speck and is not as sticky so you don't have to make a mess as you press it into place.

Digging right into freshly applied acrylic when it is still sticky will only smoosh the acrylic into the brush and if you keep working the acrylic is drying in the brush and then you can't get it out and can't make a smooth nails because there is dry acrylic in it.

When you put the brush away
 If you do not wipe your brush well and put it away the acrylic will dry in the tips. If this is the case do not comb out the dry acrylic with your cuticle pusher or orangewood stick or nippers, you will only break the hairs and you won't like the brush anymore. Get a shot glass or a slammer glass for those who have never been to Mexico and don't know what a slammer is it is a taller shot glass. Suspend the brush with a clothespin. Fill the glass with enough liquid to cover the bristles without touching the bottom of the glass. Let it set for about 30 - 60 minutes and the dried acrylic will eventually melt out of the brush.

There are lots of brush cleaners on the market but I feel they can be harsh and disturb the chemical balance of the liquid. I do not believe you should soak them in acetone either and some brush cleaners have acetone in them. Use liquid monomer to soak the brushes if needed. Remember the hairs in the brush are made from the same animals fur coats are made from and you would not soak your fur coat in acetone would you. Now don't slam me about fur coats ok??? (I don't own one for a reason.)

Traveling with your brush
I found a silver metal flat brush case for $8 at the art store that stores brushed without moving perfectly. It has two springs one at each end for the brush to fit in so they won't move when traveling. The box is about 3/4" by 8' by 4" can fit up to 8 brushes, won't bend and is not plastic so it won't melt if the brushes happen to touch the metal. I have not ruined a brush yet in the box.

If you're booked and work full time you will probably replace your brush every few months if you take good care of it. Brushes can cost anywhere from $10 to $45 or more. The average brush cost is about $25. You get what you pay for that is for sure. There are only two or three true brush manufacturers that make brushes for companies in the nail business. Shop around and try new brushes all the time.

Brush care is a constant thing, take good care of your brushes as you work with them and always have a spare just in case you're having a bad hair day!

The Peters Perspective
"When you stop learning your career ends and your job begins"