Over the last 7 years, My team and I have gotten the question over and over again as to why a certain product such as Gel, Acrylic, or Dipping doesn’t last long or chips prematurely on natural nails.

The biggest question that arises with this is whether is the product faulty. and the answer 99% of the time is NO… and let me explain to you why this is the case.

Our natural nail plate consists of natural oils, dirt, and microscopical beings such as bacteria as our hands are constantly working and touching different objects so the transfer of oils and chemicals is hard to avoid. When layering something on top of your nails that have not been correctly prepared will result in the product sliding off or chipping prematurely.

Nail preparation is the most important step of any nail enhancement as when the base layer is correctly prepared anything on top will last longer and will have a stronger hold. Think of the analogy of having a floor surface that is oily and dirty, if you were to place anything on top of this oily surface it would most likely slide off or fall. Similar to our nail plate when layering products on top.

Why nail preparation is so important:

– Neutralises the pH of the nail and brings it back to a pH of 7 which is ideal for layering.

– Light buffing will remove the dead cell layer from the top of the nail plate which means the fresh layer will be in contact with the product.

– Removes oils and dirt which is sanitary and prevents infections and fungi growth.

– Makes any product last way longer without harming the natural nails

– Product does not chip as it adheres way stronger.

Every time I train a new student or salon, my students always inform me with the conviction that so many salons are not doing all the steps during nail preparation, though there are no steps written in stone of what is “right” or wrong. If your nail tech has gone through certified training you will feel and see a difference in the way they perform and how long the product lasts.

So why then big chain salons do not perform the correct steps? The simple answer to that question is: They want to miss steps so that the service is not as long-lasting and you keep going back to them again and again. This means their business strategy is quantity, not quality.

These are the baseline steps of Nail preparation, whether you need a refresher or do your nails at home, These steps have been trialed and tested for years by our Nail Techs and trainers:

Base steps for Nail preparation:

  1. Cleaning the nails with IPA alcohol 70% or higher.
  2. Cuticle cleaning
  3. Shaping the natural nail with a filer
  4. Buffing the natural nail
  5. Removing filing dust with the use of alcohol
  6. Applying a PH bonding agent
  7. Applying the correct prep agent for the system being used eg Acrylic bonding agent before acrylic enhancements, Gel base coat, Dipping preparation agent.

Written by Rupal Madaan