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Product lifting blog part 2

Product Lifting – Part 2

This week we will continue taking a closer look at some of the reasons for product lifting. Let’s not waste any time!

Incorrect use of base coat

The Base Coat is the most misunderstood and abused part of our nail service. More importantly, it is THE most important part of our nail service!

Let me explain: 

The ONLY layer of your artificial nail product or nail coating, even nail varnish that touches the natural nail is the base coat. 

If the base coat does not adhere well to the natural nail, you can kiss the whole nail coating or enhancement goodbye sometime in the coming days. Product lifting will be inevitable.

In the beginning, Base Gels were high-adhesion, smooth, thin viscosity products. 

Good adhesion promotors are some of the most expensive core components in our nail industry. If you add those to a building gel, you lose them in mass production. So if you use an all-in-one builder base coat, a primer or bonder will be essential.

Base Coat Gels are an efficient way to create maximum adhesion to the natural nail. In 2022, you can apply a high-quality base coat without roughing up or buffing the natural nail plate. Just using a high-quality nail plate cleanser will ensure that the integrity of the natural nail is maintained when artificial nail product coatings are used.

Some base coats achieve better adhesion if you use a primer or bonder – sometimes using a primer will also make the soak-off process easier. Some primers can and will extend the life of your soak-off product. It’s really important to not try and create your own recipe. Use the primer from the same company that provided your base coat. 

Primers are specially formulated to match a system. Don’t be fooled into thinking the primer from company A will match the base coat from company B. You could end up cross-linking problem ingredients and end up with less adhesion instead of a better adhesion or, even worse, an allergy. Leave the chemistry to the chemists!

It’s important to realize that all base coats are composed differently. Some are made to soak off, and some are made to stay on the natural nail for longer. Be aware if you do a cosmetic pedicure that you will need a more durable base coat since your client is not likely to return to have her toenails done in 14 days. 

Let’s recap:

  • If your base coat needs to be cured for 10 seconds, don’t cure it for 30 seconds.
  • Your color coat will only adhere to the base coat, control your base coat application – use your light to check that you have coated the entire nail plate.
  • Use the color coat that matches the base coat. Otherwise, the inhibition layer in the base coat could adversely affect the color coat adhesion.
  • Always cap the free edge of the nail with your base coat.
  • Keep your base coat off the skin.
  • If your base coat has a nail life of 14 days – remove the product after 14 days, even if it looks good to the human eye the product will already be breaking down. Infections from White Superficial Onychomycosis or Pseudomonas Aeruginosa become a real possibility since both are part of our natural microbiomes (they already exist on our hands & feet)and are opportunistic. This means that, given the chance, they will develop in or on the natural nail plate.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water and dry well before the base coat application (this will remove most surface pathogens like WOS & PA)
  • Do your PREP and or PEP according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Don’t rough up the nail plate with a file before applying your base coat, use a good quality nail plate cleanser instead, nail plate integrity is everything for a long-lasting service.
  • If you want a longer-lasting base coat – buy one.
  • When your client has flexible nail plates, use a flexible nail coating also the base coat.
  • If your client has (open) beaded ridge nail plates a soak-off product might not be smart. Use a thin layer of Liquid & Powder that you can rebalance instead – or a thin layer of an Acrygel that you can rebalance – your client will thank you for it.
  • If you want a soak-off product, make sure you soak it off in time and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 10 mins = not 5 mins 😊 if your base coat adheres well to the natural nail, the only thing you will gain from saving 5 mins is 5 months of adhesion problems.
  • Make sure you know what your client expects their nail coating or nail enhancement to endure, and choose your base coat to fit their expectations and lifestyle.

Uncured product

Uncured product is a problem because we don’t often see the problem it can cause until later (24/48hrs later). Also, I have yet to meet a colleague that has x-ray vision! Sometimes it takes a few hours for the upper layer of your nail coating to collapse.

Let’s have a look at the problems that can occur from under-curing

  • Wrinkling & Bubbling
  • Peeling

Wrinkling & bubbling: Usually happens with dark colors, black, dark blue, dark green, etc.

Wrinkling UV gel polish because of improper curing that will lead to product lifting
  • The product is applied too thickly
    • UV/LED light cannot penetrate the color. When this happens, the upper layer of the product is cured but, because the UV energy could not get deeper, the bottom half of the product stays fluid. 
    • Apply 2 thin layers instead of 1 thick layer – don’t worry about blotching, the 2ndcoat will cover that. 
    • Check that your UV/LED lamp still works as well as it should. You can test this by placing some product on a form, curing it, then lifting it to see that the product is hard all the way through.
  • The UV/LED lamp does not match the product
    • Use the UV/LED light that matches your product.

Your UV/LED light is one of the most critical pieces of equipment in your salon. Nanometers are everything when it comes to product cure but even the best UV energy has trouble penetrating thick, dark colors, leading to product lifting.

One of the best investments that you make will be in the lamp that matches your product. The next best investment is in your own product control skills.

Peeling or chipping: 

UV gel chipping, product lifting
  • Hand placement in the lamp is not as it should be
    • Check to see if the placement of your client’s hand is as it should be. Thumbs have always been a problem, but nowadays manufacturers create UV/LED lights with extra Light Emitting Diodes (the little lights) where the thumb should be. 
  • The nail plate was not properly prepared before product application
    • Sometimes we forget to clean the free edge with our cleanser. It could also be that there is some file dust under the free edge. Take a minute to turn the hand upside down before the product application, just to make sure. When your client washes their hands with soap & water before your PEP or PREP, give them a nail brush to clean well under the free edge. Dry well and be sure to cap the free edge with not only the base coat but also the color.

See you next week for part 3 of the Product Lifting series!

Check our part 1 here:
Product lifting – Part 1

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