Monday, September 7, 2015

Gel Nails (aka Hard Gel) Application

I want to post this note up front so it doesn't get lost - it is very important to remember that the thickness of the gel coating has a great effect on the degree of cure. Many techs mistakenly believe that because gel is so clear that thickness doesn’t matter, but light will not penetrate thick layers to cure the gel fully. It is much better to use three or four thinner coats rather than one or two thicker coats. Thinner coats allow more light to penetrate the layer, thereby reducing shrinkage as well as minimizing any heat buildup. Thin layers also allow the gel to fully cure, minimizing the possibility of overexposure. Opaque gels are even more susceptible to under curing if the layers are too thick. Keep them thin!

1. Proper PREP
2. Apply forms or apply tips if desired
3. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions on priming the nail – depending on the manufacturer, you may prime with a liquid primer or you may use a base gel applied thinly and cured on the nail. Some brands use a liquid primer followed by a base gel.
4. Apply gel, curing between each layer. There are many, many ways to apply gel. I will post some videos below. The most important thing to remember is to use the correct lamp for your system and to apply the layers thin. They do not have to be as thin as polish but you cannot build a nail in one coat either or you will risk under-curing. This is fantastic video on lamps and the chemistry of gel
5. After the last layer and before filing, remove the sticky inhibition layer using your manufacturer’s recommended cleansing agent. Apply the cleanser to a lint free pad and with firm pressure, wipe each nail from cuticle to free edge. DO NOT “scrub” back and forth on the nail. Remember, the inhibition layer is uncured gel and should never touch skin – “scrubbing” the nail to remove the inhibition layer will push the uncured gel into the cuticle area.
6. Finish file the nail.
7. Cleanse the nail with the manufacturer’s cleanser to remove any dust and oils from touching the nail while filing.
8. At this point, you can do a number of things…You can apply a finish gel and cure to create smooth glass like nails. You can apply a gel polish to the nails, following the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also buff the nails to a more natural matte finish or a 3-way buffer shine (which is usually less shiny than using a finish gel).
Just a note on finishing: If I am using regular nail polish (not gel polish) I will buff the nails to remove scratches, but not to make them shiny - my polish last longer than if I use a finish gel which is very smooth and polish wears off the tip much easier.
Application Videos:
I always suggest following the manufacturer’s instructions on your chosen product. They developed a method that works with their products and helps you to get the feel for that product. However, if you have been using a product for some time and feel like your techniques could use some refining, it never hurts to see what other people do . Just remember that the techniques of other brand work with that particular brand and may or may not work well with the one you are using. The viscosity (thickness) of the gel plays a huge role in how application works.

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Tammy Taylor

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