Guest Blog: 8 Tips for Applying Gel Polish

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As you already know, gels and gel polishes have exploded in the industry. Nail artist Becky Carter of Scottsdale, AZ shared some info every tech must know for applying gel polish. Here’s what she has to say!

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There is nothing worse than having an itch you cannot scratch. But if you have gel polish on, you are free to scratch away while allowing your nails to remain absolutely beautiful! For this reason as well as many others, I honestly believe that gel polish is the best thing that has been invented in the nail art industry.

Gel polish is cured under a UV or LED light and is dry before your clients leave the salon. It helps add a little strength to their nails and the top coat remains shiny.

In the nail industry, having new clients comes with the challenge of understanding their nails. Each set of nails are individual, but having consistent nail prep will help eliminate unwanted lifting and chipping. 

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8 Tips on Using Gel Polish:

1.) Make sure you push back their cuticles and nip them if your client will let you. If they will not let you nip their cuticles, use a manicure brush to gently brush extra skin out of your way and off the nail plate.

2.) Lightly remove the shine of the nail, do not over-file. You can use a buffer if you feel more comfortable. Make sure you buff the free edge to remove the extra nail that hides under the free edge after shaping.

3.) Use a lint-free wipe to cleanse the nail so you do not have fuzzies invading your polish. After cleansing the nail, use pH Bond to ensure all oils are removed and the nails are dehydrated.

4.) When applying the gel polish, use thin coats.  The polish should almost appear to be see-through. It is better to apply several thin coats than one thick coat. If the polish is too thick it will not cure properly or the polish will wrinkle.

Note: I have found that some gel polishes are thicker than others so be very careful that you are applying thin coats.

See the next page for tips 5-8!

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5.) Remember, when your client has her hands laid flat, her thumbs are turned to the side. This may make the polish run and pool, causing it to be thick and to not cure properly or at all.  If you find this happening, do the thumbs separate and have your client rest her thumbs flat in the light.

6.) Make sure you seal the free edge and that no polish is on the skin. Polish on the skin will cause lifting.

7.) Here’s a little trick: if your clients think their manicure is looking a little “dull” after a couple days, have them wipe their nails with some rubbing alcohol and it will help make the top coat shiny again.

8.) Lastly, remind your clients that if their manicure has some kind of chipping or lifting, they should gently smooth the polish with a file until they can come see you. Peeling off gel polish is not good for their nails and it will make nails weak. As an added bonus, I give my clients the file I used on them before they leave my table.  This way, their nails will remain healthy and strong and they will keep coming to you.   
Photo 1I especially like gel polish because I do a lot of nail art. The gel polish seals in my designs and my clients can enjoy them the entire 2 weeks before their next appointment.  I use acrylic paints, and it is extremely important to allow your acrylic paints to dry before using your top coat. If you do not allow your acrylic paint to dry, then the paint will bubble under the top coat and peel off.

In my experience, gel polish can last 2-3 weeks without chipping.  I do find, however, that there are some elements that change that time frame. For example, how hard your client is on her nails, if she is working with any chemicals, or whether her nails are naturally oily can all affect the longevity of the polish. I have had gel manicures last 4 weeks and some that have lasted a week.  Whatever the case may be, the more consistent you are in prepping their nails, the greater the likelihood of a long-lasting manicure. 


See Becky’s nail portfolio via Instagram @nailsby_becky
If you’re near Scottsdale, AZ, be sure to contact her for an appointment!

[Courtesy of Becky Carter]

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