Are you ready for part 5 of our Product Lifting series? Today we are discussing the proper use of enhancement products.
Product touching the skin during application
The nail plate cells are formed in the matrix and make their way along the eponychium (where the cuticle is attached). They then come out under the PNF where we see them as the normal nail plate. (Picture F shows this action in motion)
This happens 24hrs a day, 7 days a week! Disease or pregnancy can slow down or accelerate this motion.
If our product application is not as secure as it should be, maybe you’re in a hurry, maybe you didn’t bring your glasses to work or maybe the product you are using has a thin viscosity – the product might then drip into the lateral nail fold and become attached to your skin. (Figure G shows this)
In MasterClass 1.2 you can refresh your memory on this subject.
Let’s have a look at pictures F & G
In picture F, you see 2 blue arrows; In picture G, two red arrows. So now imagine that they are in the same place in the lateral nail fold. F is in perpetual motion and G is static, the gel polish is hard and can only move with the nail plate. The gel polish that is in the nail grove will come loose and lift away, creating an opening. Water, oil, lotion, pathogens… Anything and everything can get between your gel polish and the nail plate! Product lifting will happen, and possibly an infection to boot!
It takes a lot of practice to place the product perfectly around the PNF and the Lateral Nail Folds. Therefore, invest in yourself and take the time to learn. If you can master straight lines with nail varnish, you will become an expert in straight lines in gel polish. Mastering this will make you more efficient in the salon.
Incorrect mix ratio Liquid & Powder (acrylic nail system)
Liquid Monomer and Acrylic Powder combined together make the perfect nail enhancement system. Once mastered it is a truly amazing product.
You can use it for:
- Toenail reconstruction
- Nail plate reconstruction
- It’s a reliable soak-off base for any system
- The perfect base coat for ridged nail plates
- Sculpting perfection
- Endless possibilities in nail art
It does have disadvantages:
- Liquid Monomer smells
- No ventilation can cause runny eyes, nose, and headaches
- Too wet – can trigger allergies
- Too dry – your enhancement will not adhere well to the natural nail
- In the old days – it was hard to file
- Fine dust particles
If you haven’t mastered L&P, product lifting becomes a problem.
Basically, uneven application of L&P will always result in product lifting or pocket lifting. You will want to file it until it is even. Eventually, filing through the enhancement is a real possibility, and filing through the nail plate is as well.
Using an acrylic brush you are not in control of, and a product that is too dry, may leave ‘doorsteps’ at the PNF. (see the red arrow in picture L)
The nail plate at the PNF is at its softest, and those nail plate cells have to survive intact for 5 months. Excessive filing here will not only damage your enhancement but also the nail plate, and the product will lift. Equally, if the form does not fit well, the side wall of the enhancement will not be strong (see figure L the yellow arrow) and the free edge will be uneven and weak (see figure L the orange arrow)
When the form is placed well and you have control of your L&P, you will not need to file excessively at the nail folds and your apex will be so strong the nail will last and last. (see figure K red, yellow and orange arrow)
Too wet product
If your L&P bead is too wet, the product running into the lateral nail folds (just like with the gel polish example in figure F) will cause the L&P to lift. Because L&P systems air-dry instead of curing in a lamp, you have more time to gently pull and hold back the skin at the nail folds during product placement and keep control of the product.
One more important reason for product lifting with L&P systems is shrinkage. L&P that is too wet will air dry at the wrong speed. When this happens, the excess monomer evaporates, the remaining polymer chains get pulled together, and the product tightens on the natural nail. This will not only cause pocket lifting that will be the perfect place for nasty pathogens, but it can actually be painful and heat will be generated by the chemical reaction caused by the polymers as they dry. Your client will experience this as uncomfortable pressure, maybe even intense heat hours later, and the enhancement will not last.
Practice, practice, a little patience, and lots of ‘bead making’ on practice sheets will ensure that you can create the perfect enhancement that will last longer than any other. A natural nail overlay with L&P will not only look stunning but, when placed well, it will wear as no other, and the rebalance will be done in 30mins.
Pictures K, L, and M are the work of an amazing International Educator and dear colleague – who has given these to us for teaching purposes. Please respect that and do not copy them.
Not using the right system for the specific nail type
Let’s go back to figure F. Remember the nail plate cells and their movement?
Marian Newman talks in Masterclass One about how the thickness of the nail plate is determined by the length of the matrix. The newest nail plate cells are softer, not quite ripe if you like.
Now imagine you have a nail bitter, with thin nail plates to start with, who cannot resist chewing their way through the remaining nail plate. Nothing good comes from putting a hard sculpting product on that very weak foundation! The reason why it will not go well is because the foundation (the nail plate) has incomplete chewed-up layers and is always in motion. Pocket lifting will be inevitable, with all the nasty stuff that comes with it.
A weak nail plate needs a flexible product thinly applied (if you are going to use a product). I would recommend first recovering the nail biter’s nail plate before considering any product application. But, if you must, maybe for a wedding or a special occasion, use a clear or light nude flexible fiber gel (figure J: Fiber gel really does contain fibers 😊). Then create something special, if wanted, with a special effect nail varnish topcoat and your client will love you forever. They will have great-looking nails with no problems, and you will be able to see through the product, spotting any problems with lifting before things get out of hand. Coaching as well as maintenance is important here.