Monday, 27 June 2011


1) Prep nails And APPLY TIPS: remove shine*, dust, oils, etc from nail. Apply tips if desired now, being sure to blend well, then dust again. Apply dehydrator and/or sanitizer and/or pH balancer as needed. (Gel does not stick to "shiny", so gently remove shiny oil surface from natural nail. This does not mean etching or roughing up the nail, only gentle removal of oil and contaminants that interfere with adhesion. A fine grit file or buffer is all that is needed. Removal of pterygium is a different matter, which may require a less gentle touch to eradicate!)

2) Primer: use very t
hin coat of "primer gel" or "basecoat " that came w/ your kit and cure (FOR TWICE AS LONG AS THE MANUFACTURER TELLS YOU TO ) OR use MAP (methacrylic acid primer) choose brand and strength according to needs, OR use BX (a "non-acid primer" such as OPI Bondex, or others on the market) SEE HOW TO PICK A PRIMER in acrylic nails page.

Let primer dry! When using "separate" primer (not basecoat primer gel), then only put primer on natural nail, not on the tip...w/ a primer gel, follow that manufacturers instructions as to whether or not to get it on the tip!

3-A) Application over tips:(Free-form application below, but first get the hang of manipulating the gels!) apply 1st coat of gel thinly, over natural nail and entire tip! Being sure to get to edges w/out getting into cuticles or touching skin. CURE. If using LCN lamp then 1 cycle 1.5 mins is enough, any other lamp, cure for minimum of 3 minutes for this first coat of gel!

3-B) Apply second coat, a little thicker than 1st. Pick up "bead of gel" on one side of flat brush (synthetic) and hold brush parallel to nail (HORIZONTAL. Not Vertical, Not up and down, NOT like a pencil), hold it flat over the nail. Put brush w/ gel down short of the cuticle area, and then PUSH toward cuticle slightly (this will prevent big cuticle ridge from forming! Now pull brush (still flat and parallel to nail) back toward you, from cuticle to free edge. Do not let brush actually touch the nail, it FLOATS on the nail on the cushion of gel! Pull out and over (drop off) free edge. Now go back w. flat brush to right side and pull gel around the horse shoe and down the right side, being sure to get gel as close as possible to side wall without touching sidewalls. (Gel will absolutely lift if it touches the skin, it also shrinks as it cures, causing a bit of a paradox---how to get it close enough to give strength to the sidewalls, BUT prevent it from running into the sidewalls and lifting..... Now finish up on the left side as you did the right. Cure for 1.5 to 2 minutes.

3-C) Coat # 3,. Same as #2 except we'll do 4 fingers 1st and then thumb...stay w/ me here...apply gel to 4 fingers again as in step 2, now pick up a "string"(See TAIL technique in lesson 5 below for more specifics) of gel and lay it down the center of the nail, starting about 1/5 up from cuticle to 1/5 short of end of nail. The slower you lay down your string, the more gel you leave behind (and vice versa) so use this knowledge when building the stress area...the gel will continue MOVING after you lay it, so for novices you may want to set up each finger for approx 15 to 20 seconds between gel apps (that is long enough to harden the gel to a ‘jello’ consistency so it won't move on you any more, and we'll cure it later. *INFO ABOUT THE DIFFERANCE BETWEEN HARDENING AND CURING IN SECTIONS BELOW, ALSO EXPLANATION OF THE CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS OF "BURNING" (slow down chemical reactions by going into the light for 4 seconds, and out for 3, until set-up process (‘jello’ stage) is completed, also pressing pads of fingers on firm surface, or squeezing the finger also can help.
So you now have gel on all 4 fingers, and finally the thumb as well, now cure for 1 complete cycle again.

4) Inspect all nails, check for thin spots, etc, that may need more gel (some novices are "GEL SHY" and actually need to do 4-5-6 coats of gel to build up properly---whatever it takes---we want them thin at the free edge and cuticle and reinforced properly at the stress area (just like a traditional liquid/powder acrylic nail) (More in lessons below about adding Fiberglass or silks for strength with the gel). If you have added more gel at this point then cure as needed (at least one 1 1/2 minute cycle)

5) Wipe tacky/sticky (dispersion) layer off nails with gel cleanser (or 99% alcohol) being sure NOT to re-wipe the sticky stuff onto the skin of the next nail. (use separate sections of your wipe for each nail, that’s why I like Martex cocktail napkins or generic paper towels, big enough to do the whole job w/ just 1 (instead of 10!) If too much tacky stuff is coming off then gel did not cure---check your bulbs for dirt (wipe w/alcohol) or they may just be burned out! Note, once alcohol or cleanser has touched a nail you CANNOT apply more gel w/out first rebuffing to take shine off of the gel---gel will not stick to glossy gel, only tacky gel or non-shiny gel!

6) Now do final finish work...contrary to popular belief GEL NAILS can and in most cases SHOULD be finished and not just left as so! They are COMPLETELY cured (unlike their traditional acrylic cousins, so you cannot damage them. They are completely non-porous as well; so bevel the cuticle area and sidewalls, check the curves across the top of the nail and file accordingly as needed, do finishing work just as you would on an acrylic nail (but being gentler, remember gels are "softer" and easier to file than traditional acrylics). Send client to wash and then you are ready to polish as usual, or apply only topcoat for a natural look, or if you must apply a super thin coat of gel, cure, wipe, and now go permanently glossy! (More on permanent gloss coats and perm French Manicures (pink and whites at a future lesson! Also more on the differences between hardening and curing in section THREE of this page....there is just soooooo much information.......

Short version of Full-Set over tips.
1) Normal prep steps, apply tips, primer etc...

2) Apply 1st coat of gel thinly to nails. Cure.

2) Apply 2nd coat of gel, adding arches. Cure.

3) Apply 3rd coat of gel with additional arching. Cure.

4) Cleanse nails.

5) Do finish work; shape, taper, bevel, contour as needed. Buff till smooth.

6) Proceed to polish (wash first) or gloss coat application as desired (wash AFTER!). (Gloss coat directions in FS over forms section, at the end.)

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