The Importance of Perfectly Sealing Nail Enhancements.
As a nail technician student first learning to apply acrylics, gels, dip powder or other artificial nail extensions, one of the most common yet avoidable mistakes is failing to completely seal the product on the free edge. This microscopic gap where the enhancement meets the natural nail tip might seem insignificant, but is in fact the source of many issues that will have clients complaining and your hard work lifting off later!
Let’s examine why properly capping off the free edge is so vital for longevity of your enhancements, and how to perfectly achieve that crucial seal every time. Avoid undermining all your efforts by glossing over this one small but essential step!
Why Seal the Nail Free Edge?
Artificial nail products when applied correctly should last the average client anywhere from two to four weeks before needing filled. However nothing accelerates the need for a redo more than product lifting at the fingertips and moisture sneaking in under those thin gaps to expand and contract the product.
Everyday exposure to water, cleaning products and even moisture in steamy showers causes acrylics, gels and other polymers to absorb then release water as temperatures change. This creates expansion and contraction cycles which gradually undermine adhesion.
It doesn’t take long before multiple tiny cracks spiderweb across the enhancement layers closest to the edges. Next you get lifting of the product visibly separating from the natural nail underneath. This tendency to lift is aggravated by using the hands and nails frequently with daily tasks. In more severe cases of lifting, fungus and bacteria can even set in under the enhancement which is nearly impossible to remedy without soaking off and re-doing the whole set!
How to Create the Perfect Seal
- Lightly buff the nail free edge to remove any oil and create microscopic texture for better adhesion. Avoid over-buffing which thins nail integrity.
- Ensure your enhancement product is applied flush right up to the lateral folds around the cuticle, with no gaps between product and nail bed. Cap it over the tip using precise vertical brush strokes.
- Make sure sealant product is smoothed onto the actual skin just 1mm or so beyond the exact edge of the nail plate for full protection. Watch for raggedness.
- As product remains a little tacky during final curing stages, refrain from swiping away inhibition layer. This film helps seal in moisture and prevent early lifting.
- Check all the way around the cuticles for even seal integrity with no cracks or overflow of product creating gaps. Even tiny holes can undermine later on. Use brush tip to correct.
- Once fully cured, apply top coat over the free edge too for added protection against water penetration. Flash cure to set.
Take those extra moments to guarantee a water-tight seal the full circumference around the cuticles and precisely at the free edge tips. Whilst attention to detail on something barely visible may seem tedious, it saves embarrassment later! Perfect enhancement edges are the hallmark of a professional technician so get it right from day one and your clients will thank you with loyalty and glowing word of mouth referrals.
Common Issues Arising From Poor Seals
- Visible white spots under the artificial nail layers nearest the cuticles
- Gradual lifting and separation of product from the natural nails
- Yellowing and softening of enhancement layers
- Fungus or yeast forming under lifted nail product
- Snagging of enhancements on clothing and hair causing cracks
All are indicative of failure to perfectly seal the nail free edge right during initial application! Don’t let your beautiful designs and flawless technique be spoilt by disregarding this simple yet vital step.
Perfectly capping off artificial nail products to form a water-tight seal on the free edge nails might take precision but prevents so many future problems. For longevity of your work and happy clients, invest those extra seconds to guarantee moisture can’t sneak in anywhere around the cuticle and tip! It will quickly become second nature.