So, when we are talking gel nail extensions, I mean adding additional length to your natural nail. I have had even the most nail bitten clients come to me and we are able to make them long and strong.
I do however keep in mind what my clients do for a living. Do they have small children? Can they handle the length? Meaning, they have had gel nail extensions before and are used to long nails from time to time.
Let’s break down the two most common methods when adding length to the natural nail. Acrylic tip or the Building Method.
These acrylic or plastic tips will come in five or more different sizes, to help fit all ten fingers. They will also be either clear or white depending on your preference. Other colours are available. But, lets stick to the basics for right now.
Once the fingernail is properly prepped. As referred to in my previous article “Why are my Gel Nails Lifting”. You would adhere the tip using a nail glue. NOT super glue. But, specifically nail glue.
Once glued and set you can begin to file the nail into the preferred shape. Then gently buff the glue seam where the enhancement meets the natural nail. Being very careful not to over buff the nail plate. Just gently. Once this is completed, time to cleanse again and prime the nail bed for the gel.
These acrylic tips are strong! Great for those clients that do have very bitten nails. Though if she comes in with very short nails I would be careful how long I make them. Again, asking the right questions and using your better judgment. If they are too long to start it will not be long before she comes in with a few broken ones. Sometimes it’s a good idea to start out a little on the shorter side and have them grow out over time so she can get used to them.
The downfall with acrylic tips?
- I find that if they aren’t glued properly from the get go, often the glue will be breaking down before the actual gel nail needs to be filled. This just creating more work for the nail tech at the next appointment.
- They can also be a little thick when applied. The plastic tip is already three times thicker than our natural nail. So, once you add gel on top of that, you do run the risk of them being quite thick. Which is everyones biggest complaint! “Don’t make them too thick!!”
- Overfilling the nail plate is a bigger risk when using these tips. Just make sure you or your tech is experienced when using these. I’ve seen/heard a lot of horror stories.
But, like I said before. They can come in really handy with the right circumstances.
The building method is what I normally use with my girls. Starting with a properly cleansed and prepped nail plate, you can then use these little stickers or “Nail Forms” to build out the gel to the preferred length.
I like to start with a thin layer first, gradually adding more product after each cure time. Once I feel the apex is positioned properly and they seem long enough I will start filing and shaping.
You definitely don’t run the same risk of over filing with this method. Because from build out, there is always a layer of gel to help protect the nail plate. Less risk involved here. But if we are going back to those super short nails, you will not really be able to guarantee her the same strength as the acrylic tips. But again, ask the questions and use your detective skills.
I do love this method because this is the only way to get the gel nail extensions to look as natural as possible. Nice and thin. Most of my clients prefer this. It takes a little bit of architectural skills, but once you have the knack it’s really the best way.
The downfall to the Building Method?
- It’s going to be more time-consuming. Not as quick as gluing on a tip.
- Could run the risk of breaking more easily if they don’t have a lot of natural length to begin with.
- Your going to go through more gel this way if you’re building a lot of nails from scratch. So this could be a little more expensive to start out. But, your clients will love this method so I know they will be returning clients!! keep that in mind 😉
There is no right or wrong way:
Really at the end of the day it is all about what you feel most comfortable doing. If you’re getting great results, there is really no reason to switch things up. But, if you feel like you’ve heard “they’re too thick” you may want to start practicing the building method. I prefer to build them out because I got really good at it! And now my clients love the look and feel of their thinner nails.
Have you tried either of these methods before? Which one do you prefer?
Let me know if you have any questions. Or if there is a specific topic you would like me to chat about.
Good luck out there!
Cheyanne/ The Nail Lamp Tramp