Acrylic nails are out, gel nails are in! Gel nails are beautiful. Gel nails are awesome and better than acrylic
Gels are the number one service provided by technicians in Europe. They are far more popular than acrylics or wraps. They are also the one service that most every nail tech in the USA would love to be able to do. The promise of no odor and the lightweight feel of gel when it is on the nails makes this a very good service to offer clients. Too bad that most American techs have either:
A) Had a bad experience with them or B) Don't know anything about them and the mystery is too scary. Lets get a simple explanation as to what gel is and how it works.
Basically, gels are an acrylic material that will only harden if it is exposed to the rays of an ultra violet lamp.
That is because gels contain an ingredient called "photo initiator" (Photo = light, initiate = causes to begin) It lets the light cause the set up process to begin.
If you can polish a nail you can do gels. Its that simple. Some of the challenges and questions associated with gels are:
1) Gel runs onto the skin while it is wet... and then hardens when it is on the skin.
To prevent that:
A) Use Euro-Gel. It Will Not Run! No matter how much you put on the nail it will stay where you put it! It is so stable that if you turn the jar up side down it still wont run. It is great for sculpting too.
B) If the gel you are using has a consistency that runs do not put as much on the nail. Use sparingly and build up in several coats.
2) Gel does not cure well. (It has a dull appearance after you wipe it down or wipes completely off the nail)
A) Make sure you have a lamp with at least 6 watts curing power.
B) Make sure your bulbs are not older than 6 months when used often.
C ) Make sure that once the client places her nails in the lamp they stay there uninterrupted for the duration of time needed to cure. Once the curing process is interrupted it stops. It can not be started again for that layer of gel when the hand is put back under the light. This means that the overlay is never as hard, strong or retentive as it should have been. This will lead to lifting, cracking, peeling and a dull surface finish.
3) Gel does not dry. It feels wet and sticky.
That is normal. It really is dry and hard underneath that sticky layer. The surface of the gel nail will have a residue that you must remove by wiping with a tissue or cotton pad saturated in alcohol. Wipe the surface down one time only at the very end of the final cure.
4) Gels break more often than hoped for.
This is usually because the finished overlay is too thin. Because most gels run, there is a tendency to apply them too thin and in too few coats. Make sure that the finished gel overlay is as substantial as an acrylic overlay would have been. No thicker, no thinner. This should offer more than ample strength. To avoid running during application use Euro-Gel. Then, make sure that each time you place the nails under the light you have allowed enough time for a thorough cure. This lets the gel get as hard, strong and durable as is chemically possible.
5) Can I file Gels?
Absolutely. Just remember that gels file very easily. You will not need anything more abrasive than a 180-grit board to shape. Some may find that 180 grit is even a bit too abrasive.
6) If I file Gels I loose that beautiful shine. What can be done?
If the shape of your gels need perfecting than go ahead and file away. When you are done do not buff the scratchy surface. Simply remove the dust and re-coat with an ultra thin coating of gel and cure. (Or try "Seal-It" or "Glossing Gel") When they are done wipe down and send the client home! You can use "Seal-it" and "Glossing Gel" as a final glazing over wraps and acrylics also. This will give them a beautiful shine and help prevent lifting.
7) If I use "SeaI-It" or 'Glossing Gel" over acrylics and wraps is there anything special I need to do?
A) Using these products over the top of acrylics and wraps saves time and effort buffing. After the shaping of the nail is done you simply skip the buffing and apply a coat of the "Seal-It" or "Glossing Gel". Just make sure you remove any dust and filings by wiping down the nails before application. Make sure you apply enough to cover but keep it on the thin side. Cure and wipe down, it's that simple. The nails will be beautifully shiny and sealed tightly to prevent lifting.
B) Fill-in maintenance over nails with these coatings can be handled one of two ways. After proper preparation either buff off the light cured coating and proceed with your fill as you would normally or simply buff gently at the cuticle area and fill in with more of the "Seal-it", "Glossing Gel" or "Euro Gel". This method will enable you to do fast, odor free fill ins and even make the switch to light cured gels if you choose to.