Crystallization (this applies only to acrylics) Dip finger in HOT water 1/2 a second to prevent crystallization and accelerate hardening
To prevent it you must understand what causes it.
Most of us have experienced crystallization. You do all that work and then the acrylic just flakes away when you file... Why does this happen? Lets look at two facts... we know that crystallization only occurs when it is cold, and we also know that cold slows down set up. Armed with that information we can figure out the following:
When it is cold your overlay set up takes longer than usual. This extended time gives an opportunity for more of the liquid to escape from the powder and liquid mix through evaporation. When the nail finally sets up there was not enough liquid left to mix with all the powder. (It went away when it evaporated) So, the powder particles were never linked together to form a solid overlay. That is why they all just file away. They were left out of the mix.
To prevent it you can do several things:
1) Use a non crystallizing liquid like "The Supply Source Violet Acrylic Liquid Monomer" (It wont evaporate as fast so it usually wont crystallize unless it is really, really, really freezing cold!)
2) Use "Monomer Enhancer" The Supply Source's Liquid additive. A few drops in a dappen dish of ANY brand liquid and you prevent crystallization. (You also increase strength and retention, reduce odor, dust filings and set up time)
3) Use a fast setting system like "Form Fast". It will set up before the level of evaporation that causes crystallization is reached.
4) Warm the liquid you have by standing the closed bottle upright in a bowl of very warm tap water for 5 minutes.
DO NOT BRING ANY ELECTRICAL OR FLAME PRODUCING DEVICE TO THE TABLE. THIS CREATES A HAZARDOUS ENVIRONMENT THAT CAN CAUSE A FIRE!
5) Make sure your salon is climate controlled.
6) Have your client wash hands in warm water. Even offer a hot beverage to warm systemically from within.