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Liquid Monomer and Polymer Powder (L&P)

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Liquid and Powder

Liquid monomer and polymer powder is a two-part system. The liquid part contains a blend of monomers and a catalyst, while the powder part contains polymer beads coated in an initiator, often with a colour pigment.

Whats in the L&P system?

Liquid Monomer

Monomer means single units of a molecule and liquid monomer is full of these single units of acrylic molecules. When exposed to an initiator and heat energy these will form long polymer chains. The most common monomer in L&P is called ethyl methacrylate (EMA), a sophisticated acrylic monomer and other specific additives to control the polymerisation process, improve the finished result’s performance, durability and product shelf-life.

When combined with the polymer powder and exposed to heat energy (from the air around the nail or through the nail plate itself) the L&P polymerisation process begins, as the thermal-initiators within the polymer powder meet the monomers and make them join together to create long tangled polymer chains that embed the polymer beads within a solid nail coating.

Removal is through soaking off in acetone.

Polymer Powder

This part of the system consists of millions of small beads of polymerised acrylics. Each bead acts as a carrier for important ingredients including the heat sensitive thermal-initiators, typically benzoyl peroxide (BPO). These polymer beads provide additional strength within the nail coating, and help provide structure within the overlay.

Precautions and issues with L&P

Allergic reactions is a main issue with the L&P system, due to the allergens contained within the monomer liquid. It must be handled carefully and you must avoid any skin contact with it. Care must be taken to always achieve a proper cure or else the client will be exposed to the allergens during removal. 

An important aspect of using the L&P system is the mix ratio, that is the amount of liquid monomer to polymer powder that is used. Too much or too little polymer powder, or too much or too little liquid monomer, can create a nail coating that is too weak or too brittle.

There is another type of liquid monomer used in some budget salons, and that is MMA. Unfortunately this has terrible nail adhesion so the nail plate has to be deeply etched to make a suitable surface, MMA is overly strong and too inflexible meaning it can break off taking nail plate with it, it is also harder to remove. EMA while more expensive than MMA is the better choice in the long-run with less chance of losing a client due to the damage inflicted upon their nails.

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