This is the number one question I get asked the most. Or better yet, I don’t know why they just “popped” off!
I’m sure every nail tech at one point or another has heard that one. There are a few different causes of gel nails lifting. So let’s try and break it down.
Prep is Everything.
How we prepare the natural nail for a gel or acrylic enhancement is very important. Lightly buffing the entire surface of the nail and removing any dust or residue. I use a cute little duster brush and always have a spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol. Spray on the nail and then dust away! After the nail is dust free you must use some sort of nail primer. Whether it is in a pen or applied with a brush you cannot skip this step. My favourite primer is Tack by Light Elegance HQ.
Once the nail is prepped properly we can start applying the gel or gel polish.
I definitely think that some sort of artistic ability is important here. We can’t have any gel touching the cuticle area or this will lift within hours of application. Trying to get as close as you possibly can without touching the cuticle takes some finesse but, don’t give up you’ll get it!
Gel at this stage, also cannot be too thick or too thin when applied because, both of those will cause lifting. If you have very thin or fragile nails, I recommend using a similar product. Something thin with good fluidity, to move and flex with your natural nail.
If you have rock star hard strong nails, you will definitely benefit from a thicker stronger gel. This is why I always carry two different products Orly gel FX is very thin and flexible. Light Elegance HQ hard gels are just that. Hard and strong, especially their glitters
Hows your Lamp?
Do you use a UV lamp? When was the last time you changed or even dusted your bulbs? If the gel isn’t curing properly you will have lifters. If your clients are coming back with lifting in the same spots on the same fingers, I would definitely check my bulbs.
I’m currently using an LED lamp. This one I bought on Amazon. I find the unique shape and many, many small bulbs really evenly disburse the light across the hand. Also cutting down cure times! I was a UV believer for years. But once going LED there’s no going back for me.
Sometimes it’s them not you.
If all the other things seem to be working well but she is still lifting, I start asking questions. Hormones, stress, medications can all contribute to lifting. I even had a client once that was addicted to pickles! That’s right. We’re talking and jar every other day and drinking the juice. Her nails were always lifting. One time she came to see me and all her nails were intact! What was she doing differently? She said the only thing she could think of was she stopped eating the pickles. Sadly, she didn’t kick the habit for long and we were right back to where we started.
Car seats! If it is always the pointer finger and the middle finger on the dominant hand, I would look at their kids. How old are they? Are they in car seats? The answer is usually Yes!
Housekeepers & gardeners. If the nails are always exposed to water or chemicals they will lift. There’s just no way around it. And when it comes to gardening, the minerals in the soil, I find really break the product down. “But I always wear gloves!” they say. I really don’t know the lesser of two evils here. I feel sweating in your gloves all day is just as bad.
Using your nails as tools. I am guilty of this one for sure. A little scraping of a pan here, screwing in a screw there. Bad, bad, bad. If too much stress is added to the nail it will lift.
That being said I find school teachers or people doing a lot of written work, will lift on their middle finger of the writing hand because there’s always pressure being applied there.
That was a lot of info to take in. You will have some clients that never lift a day in their life #Dream. And then you will have clients that keep you scratching your head.
Once you’ve done all you can do it’s time to start asking the questions. Maybe it’s something they don’t even realize that they are doing . Like chewing them when they are watching The Walking Dead. Or watching their sons hockey game. Both real scenarios.
Please let me know if you are stumped. Or if you’ve experienced some of the same things! I love hearing from you.
Good luck out there!
Cheyanne -The Nail Lamp Tramp