Sunday, September 6, 2015

Proper Preparation for Nail Enhancements (PREP)

I am amazed at the amount of misinformation that is out there - improper PREP damages the nail and just perpetuates the myth that nail enhancements ruin natural nails! 

After you have done a thorough analysis and intake of your client's health, needs and desires for her service, and you have decided to perform an enhancement service, it is time to prepare the natural nail for this service. All nail enhancements (acrylic, gel, wraps, dip systems, etc) start the same way - with a thorough PREP.

P- Perform manicure. The purpose of a manicure here is to rid the nail plate of the cuticle and shape the nail. You do not want to soak the nail or add any oils or lotions. After sanitizing yours and your client's hands, you will apply a good cuticle remover and gently push the eponychium back to expose any cuticle on the nail plate. Scrape off the cuticle thoroughly, make sure to not neglect the lateral nail folds as skin collects there as well. Make sure to completely remove the residual remover and dead tissue. You can use a spray bottle of soapy water to neutralize the remover before cleansing it off (or have the client wash her hands) but do not soak the nails in water. Gently shape the natural nail to fit your tip or form

R - Remove shine. Use a fine nail file to gently remove the shine from the nail plate. You should never use anything coarser than a 180 grit file - a 240 grit is better - and keep in mind your goal is to get rid of the natural oils that coat the nail NOT to etch or scratch up the nail. If you have a lot of dust after this step you have gone too far! 

Many people will do these first two steps as one step with an electric file. As long as you are *thoroughly trained* and are using a bit that is made to be used on a natural nail on low speed then this is acceptable. (I still prefer to thoroughly remove cuticle with a chemical remover, it makes things look cleaner)

E - Eliminate Contaminants - dust the nail with a plastic manicure brush

P - Purify Nail Plate - Use your system's nail cleanser to thoroughly purify and dehydrate the nail plate. For CND this is scrub Fresh, for Young Nails this is Swipe, for OPI its Bond-Aid. Follow the manufacturer's recommendation for application.
At this point you should have a set of fingernails that are clean, dehydrated and undamaged and you are ready to move on to your product or a tip application. Because primers are specific to products I don't consider them to be part of PREP.