Pocket lifting is a term used to describe when an enhancement gets a "bubble" in the middle of the nail plate but the area around it is still sealed down.
To understand center pocket lifting, you have to understand the concept of shrinkage in enhancement technology. The wetter something is, the more likely it will be to shrink as it dries - shrinkage can be excessive and have negative results when there is too much monomer in your brush.
With Gels, excess shrinkage can occur when there is too thick of a layer of gel applied (or if the bulbs are dirty or old) so that the UV rays do not penetrate to the bottom of the gel layer, which makes it not fully adhere to the nail plate.
Why can’t I see it when I am filing, buffing and finishing the client’s nails?
All products will shrink during polymerization. It takes a liquid & powder system 24 - 48 hours to completely cure. The product cures to about 60% in the first hour, which leaves 40% to occur over the next few days. The wetter the mix, the longer it takes to fully cure. The simple reason why we cannot see the pocket lift during the filing process is because the full cure of the enhancement has not taken place. If pocket lifting occurs; it will be evident when the client returns for a rebalance.
Why does it only happen with certain clients and not all 10 nails?
A larger or more curved nail plate can exacerbate shrinkage. The apex is the highest part of the nail enhancement, hence the area with the most product. Shrinkage will place force on the apex and on the center of the plate. If this force becomes excessive, the product can pop free at the apex (or center of the nail plate). We usually see it on the thumbs and/or middle fingers (the larger fingers) of the client.
How do I prevent pocket lifting?
The solution to this problem is simple. Be sure to use the recommended mix ratio for optimum results. If you have center pocket lifting, use a slightly drier mix ratio. This should eliminate the center pocket lift. However, be aware that too dry of a mix ratio could also cause lifting problems if the bead is so dry that it hardens before it fully adheres to the natural nail. Proper mix ratio is key! You should always use the mix ratio recommended by the manufacturer.
With gel nails, make sure your bulbs are clean and within their optimal use strength (if you cant remember how long its been since you changed the bulbs, its time to change them! Basically, that's every 3-4 months if you mainly do gel nails, 6 months or so otherwise. Some lamps have bulb life timers on them.)
Much of this article comes from: http://nsinails.com/nail-lab/science-of-beauty/center-pocket-lifting-faq.html#.VgwUf3LltaQ
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