Monday, September 7, 2015

Liquid & Powder Acrylic Application

There are as many methods to applying acrylic as there are manufacturers of acrylic. Remember, as will most things in life, there is not one “correct” method, just one that works best for you. However, no matter which method you use to actually get the acrylic on the nail, there are some things that are consistent.
1. ALWAYS do proper preparation
2. ALWAYS follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding priming, mix ratio and product usage.
3. NEVER touch the skin with product or your brush (which contains product)
4. NEVER Dip your brush back into the raw monomer and use it to “smooth” the acrylic. If you add it right after laying the bead on the nail, you will mess up the mix ratio. And once the acrylic is on the nail for a few seconds the monomer will no longer incorporate into the bead and you will then have raw monomer seeping into the client’s nail plate and skin.
Steps to applying Acrylic – 
1. After Priming the nail per the manufacturers instructions (if needed), pour a small amount of monomer into a glass dappen dish — use only what you will need for the particular service you are performing.  (If the liquid becomes thick or murky part way through the service, discard it and get fresh liquid!)
2. Totally immerse and ‘swish’ your brush in the monomer to thoroughly wet the hairs and to remove any trapped air that may result in bubbles in the finished product
3. As you remove the brush from the dish, flatten hairs on both sides to shape the brush for sculpting and to drain excess liquid from the brush. More monomer = a larger bead, less monomer = a smaller bead.
4. Draw a line in the powder to the depth of the liquid line on your brush. The longer the line, the bigger the bead. A proper mix ratio will not immediately ‘melt’ down, it will have a slight ‘textured glass’ appearance, and maintain its shape when placed on the nail, tip or form.
5. Place the bead on the nail and lift your brush from the bead, giving your bead a second to settle while you wipe the excess liquid from your brush.
6. Apply using your preferred method. I have listed and referenced the most common methods below.

“Traditional” 3 ball method – Uses 3 balls or beads of product to build the nail – One for the free edge, one for the stress area and one for the cuticle. This method has the advantage of being able to build in the shape of the nail while sculpting, using various brush angles: 


 Skip to 1:50 for application. This is a great video that shows how working slower can actually make you faster by reducing filing time to nearly nothing.

4-ball method (Tammy Taylor method) 

(skip to 21:50 to see the application). Similar to the three ball method, this method also adds a 4th ball to the stress area to build it up and make it stronger and more arched.
Reverse method: Championed by Young Nails, this method lays down the nail bed before the tip. This is a great method for a crisp smile line.

One-Ball method: I’ll be honest, I had a hard time finding a video that didn’t show way too many “no-nos”. This one is short but she doesn’t touch the skin or overuse liquid. The point with the one ball method is speed, but it is very hard to master getting that perfect arch at the stress area and thin cuticle with this method.   

Also see here for another example:
Nail biter methods: The main issue with nail biters is getting the tip or form on the nail. Below are some methods on this technique:


No matter which method you use, the cuticle area seems to be the hardest part to do! Here are some great Cuticle Application Tips by Greg Salo at Young Nails (notice how his perfect mix ratio means he is never “chasing” the acrylic on the nail)

Join the conversation: what is the hardest part about laying acrylic for you? Which is your preferred method?