By Jan Arnold
When natural nails are properly cared for and conditioned, it is very important to coat them with a protective layer to prevent nail delamination, chipping and breakage and help seal in conditioning oils during wear. A protective coating acts as a shield against problems during the rigors of daily abuse.
To understand why this is so important, let us revisit a little nail anatomy. New nail layers are being formed all the time as cells from the matrix push beyond the proximal nail fold, rupture and adhere as a new layer. Each new layer then takes a journey toward the free edge during growth that takes a few months to produce. Because these new nail plate layers have spaces and voids in between them, they are vulnerable to impact during this treacherous journey. Whether it has been bumped the wrong way, exposed to torque stress, or left to the elements, a layer can easily break apart from another, causing the nail to breakdown, split or peel. This is especially common at the extension edge of a nail if it is not protected.
Protective coatings designed for each nail type can counterbalance the natural condition of the nail.
"Blessed" nails that are naturally quite strong and hard only require a very thin coating that can seal the surface and edges with resiliency and light protection. For example, this could be accomplished with a clear base and top coat or a thin layer of gel polish. It is very important that the correct products within the appropriate systems are used correctly to assure proper easy and gentle "butterfly" removal at the two-to-three-week mark to avoid nail damage. If removal is not done correctly and mechanical force is used, damage can result, jeopardizing the strength of the natural nail that we are trying to protect.
For nails that are considered "challenged," it is important to increase toughness and protection levels of the coating, with a thin layer of builder-in-a-bottle removable gel. This new technology will double the protection levels over polish or gel polish, can be used as a base under both and are highly adhering, flexible and tough. This coating will serve as an excellent foundation layer, improving not only the protections levels but also the aesthetic look of the nail and color. Maintaining a daily practice of plasticizing this coating improves its performance further.
"Cursed" nails, such as ski-jump, bitten or thin and weak structures require the strongest of all coatings such as a hard gel for tough protection or liquid and powder acrylic for hardness and dramatic transformation. Both options require a long-term commitment of regular bi- or tri-weekly rebalances, where removal should only be done on rare occasions and when a new set is desired. These nail-enhancement services are magnificent for high levels of protection and customizable length, design and style. A great nail pro skilled in these mediums can dramatically transform how a client will see and wear their nails. Modern technology has made these high-tech materials to be hydrophilic, allowing moisture and oils to transmit through the coating without lifting or fear of moisture build-up under the coating
ALL nails should be coated to seal and protect them and ward against a busy life.
Today, we can have both a dynamic life AND healthy, great looking nails!
About the Author
Jan Arnold is the co-founder and style director of CND. She is also a member of Nailpro's 2022 advisory board.