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Glitters and Pigments

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Glitters and pigments are very widely used in nail art. What are the ways to use them for an aesthetically pleasing but safe result?

What are glitters?

Glitter is a product used to create a sparkling or shimmering effect. Manufacturers begin with large thin sheets of plastic or aluminum and coat them with lacquers, paints, and metals – then cut out the individual pieces using a specially shaped press. Even though the pieces can be as small as 50 microns (0.002 inches) in size, each one has been precision-cut in the shape of squares, circles, rectangles, or hexagons.

What are pigments?

Pigments are colored powders that are completely or nearly insoluble in water. Nail professionals use them to change the color of a product or give a different effect to a finished application.

How do we use glitters and pigments?

With nail polish: 

Nail polish is a quick air drying formulation that so many nail pros are, now, not used to using! But it is still relevant when wanting to use this technique.
If you can time the nail polish drying correctly, it is perfectly possible to add a pigment onto the tacky surface of nail polish without smudging it. Then just add a top coat
Glitter can be easily pressed into tacky nail polish. OR mix some loose glitter with a top coat and apply this way. Just be quick!!

With UV gel polish:

This is one of the most usual ways of creating designs with pigment or glitter.
All UV gel polish colours or top coats will have an inhibition layer, even if it is a ‘no wipe’ top coat! This is when you can apply pigment and glitter. They can be pressed into the inhibition layer or they can be burnished in. 

Things to be careful of: 

  • Both glitter and pigment can inhibit a proper cure of an uncured coating
  • It is better to apply multiple thin coats of glitter to ensure a proper cure.
  • Leave a tiny free margin around the edge so the top coat can seal the design in.
  • You can premix glitter or pigment into a clear UV gel polish, but make sure there is no more than 30% which is the usual recommendation for achieving a proper cure of the coating.
  • There is no problem with getting these products on the skin as they are not allergens but be careful not to move any UV cured product on the skin.
  • Only use cosmetic glitters and pigments, and NOT craft versions. These can react with the product or the solvents and create an irritation or an allergic reaction.

With L&P:

Glitter or pigment can be mixed into the polymer powder before application.
Keep the mix to 30% or below to avoid blocking the polymerisation.
Do not use the ratio too wet as this will result in undercured coatings.

With Sculpting Gel:

Glitter or pigment can be mixed into the sculpting gel before application.
Keep the mix to 30% or below to avoid blocking the polymerisation.
For better curing, apply thin layers.

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