Monday, September 7, 2015

Acrylic Nail Brushes

The brush is the nail technician’s most important tool. Nail technicians choose their brush’s size and shape in a number of ways and for many different reasons. Below we discuss some aspects of the brush.
Size
Until they understand product consistency, newer nail technicians and those trying a new product should purchase the brush that is sold with the acrylic system they choose. "Brush size is not determined by what the nail technician likes, but by what the product requires her to use to get the right ratio of liquid to powder," says Kim Patterson, director of education for FPO nails. "Most systems call for two parts liquid to one part powder and require the use of a size 7 or 8 brush."
Once the tech understands the proper mix ratio for their chosen system, they can really work with any brush size. The most important thing is making sure that your mix ratio is correct, no matter the brush size.
 
Shape
There are three basic brush shapes – flat, which has a flattened ferrule (the metal part of the brush that holds the bristles) and has flat-across-the-top bristles, round which has an un-flattened ferule and a pointed tip and oval, which has a pointed tip and flattened ferrule. The shape of the brush largely depends on personal preference.
 
New Brushes
New brushes often come with a coating to protect the bristles, which needs to be removed before the first use. Manufacturers supply instructions on how to break the seal and prepare your brush for use. Generally you will use your fingers to break apart the coating and get as much of the residue out of the bristles. This is the ONLY time you should ever touch your brush bristles. Touching your bristles once you start using the brush can lead to overexposure for you and contaminated product for your client.
Doug Schoon, the world authority on nail chemistry, advises not to use your brush for more than one kind of monomer or it will cause contamination of your brush and service failure (whether or not you can "see" it). This means if you use several different systems, you will need a brush for each.
 
Keeping Them Clean
If you are working with a natural hair brush, it’s best to just swish your brush in clean monomer and wipe on a clean lint-free towel several times until the bristles are clean. If the brush has hardened product that can’t be removed, it should soak overnight. To prevent fraying or disheveling the brush, reshape the bristles after cleaning them (but not with your bare fingers!). Then, store the brush on its side.
Brush cleaners often use acetone as the main ingredient, and if you use it on a natural hair brush it can dehydrate the hair and make it fan out.
However, in extreme cases where monomer won’t remove the acrylic, brush cleaners or acetone can be used. After soaking the brush in brush cleaner, the tech should use a dish of clean monomer to repeatedly swish the brush and wipe out any remaining brush cleaner and then discard that monomer. Since cleaner can dry out the bristles of acrylic brushes, do not soak brushes in cleaner for a long period of time. Brush cleaner that is left over in the brush can cause contamination which could lead to yellowing or product breakdown.
 
Life Span
The life span of a brush depends on a number of things. There is no hard-and-fast rule for replacing brushes (assuming you are not changing products) - you want to replace the brush whenever the bristles start to fray or if you’re finding it difficult to control the flow of product.


Storing Brushes
If the brush comes with a cap, allow the brush to dry for a few minutes and then cover it with the cap. You can store cap-less brushes in a drawer or under a towel to protect them from dust and dirt. Storing brushes with the bristles “up” can cause monomer to run into the ferrule and loosen the adhesive holding the bristles which leads to bristle loss and contaminated product.  Storing brushes in a lamp clip can allow for the brush to pick up filing dust.  The best way tot store brushes is flat on its side in a drawer . Do not sore your brushes in an airtight container because this can cause contamination by not allowing the monomer to evaporate out of the brush.
 
Join the conversation: do you have a favorite brush?