FAQ – Student Support
Here are some common questions and answers about our Nail Courses, Nail Enhancements and Nail Products relating to Student Support.
Q8. The card states that I need to save nail 1 and 10, then nail 2 and 9 and so on to complete the Essential Techniques card, and every tenth set on the Whole Hand practice card. Do I have to do that even if I think that they aren’t good enough or I think that I can do better?
Gels, Acrylics & Fibreglass Questions
Product & Equipment Related Questions
Q1. When I get my course what should I do first?
When you receive your course the first thing to do is open your course box and carefully unpack the contents, checking every item. Next, sit down with a cuppa and watch your training DVD through to familiarise yourself with how the training broken down into easy to learn steps. Then you are ready to start. Get your work area set up, and start on lesson one.
One of the main benefits of taking a Essential Nails Diploma course is that there are no time limits, so you can take as long as you need to complete your course work and return it to us for assessment. All Essential Nails Diploma courses have a recommended number of course work hours, you can find these times in the individual course information.
Q3. Is it necessary to read the entire textbook in the course?
A3. Yes! You will not be able to answer some of the test questions unless you have. The book we include in each course is your nail “bible”. Since Information is power, charge your brain with this wonderful knowledge!
Q4. I had to take a break from my course for a few weeks/months, can I start again now and complete my training?
A4. Absolutely yes! We are delighted that you are keen to get back to your training course. We understand that students have other commitments that stop them training for a while, so we made the course flexible to allow you to take as long as you need.
Dependant on how long your course has been on hold and how you have stored it, some of the products may need replacing, so we recommend you check them all and if you need to replace anything you can order and pay for them online or call our sales line 01440 820 999.
Q5. What do I do if I run out of any of the products in my course?
A5. All the products in Essential Nails Diploma courses are full size professional products and we give you enough to complete your course, but if you are doing extra practice you might need to buy more. You can order online link or call our sales line on 01440 820 999 to place your order. Items are usually shipped within 24 hours.
Q6. I received 100 Nails & Tips in my course, but I need more to complete my course work. What do I do?
A6. To reach your full potential and be making great acrylic or gel nails we recommend that students make up to 300 nails. We offer a student pack which you can purchase for a discount price of £20.90. The pack contains 100 Nail Trainer Nails & 100 Nail Tips. Click Here to purchase the pack online.
Acrylic, Gel, Fibreglass & Sculpting:
Complete your ‘Essential Techniques’ card first, following the instructions on the DVD.
On this card you work on one size of nail only. You can use either ten x no13 or ten x no6 nails to complete the card.
Work through each step; preparation, tipping and blending (not sculpting), overlaying, finishing & polishing, saving two nails at every stage, until all ten nails have been used.
Then send the card back to us by Royal Mail Recorded Delivery for assessment. We will assess your work and give you feedback that will help you to develop your skills and complete the ‘Whole Hand’ assessment card to a high standard.
Completing the ‘Whole Hand’ Card. You should only start to fill tis card once you have completed the ‘Essential Techniques’ card, and you are confident that your nails are reasonable. This card is a record of the practice you’ve completed. The more nails you complete, the better you’ll be. Complete 60 sets of nails (a set is one hand, five nails) making sure you polish every other set with red polish Save every tenth set of nails on to your Whole Hand Assessment Card, i.e. set 10 ,20, 30, 40, 50 & 60. When you have completed all 60 sets return the card to us by Royal Mail Recorded Delivery for assessment.
Q8. The card states that I need to save nail 1 and 10, then nail 2 and 9 and so on to complete the ‘Essential Techniques’ card, and every tenth set on the ‘Whole Hand’ practice card. Do I have to do that even if I think that they aren’t good enough or I think that I can do better?
A8. No. We want you to send in your best work for assessment. If you know you can do better, substitute a new nail on your card. You have received 100 assorted nails in your kit and you can purchase additional nails and tips at special prices so you can practice as much as you need to perfect your technique. The first progress card (Essential Techniques) can be completed with size 13 nails or the less demanding size number 6. I suggest that you put aside 30 nails and complete this card three times saving your last, (this should be your best) set on the card for assessment.
Q9. What times do I record on my card?
A9. Record the time it takes you to complete each step for the individual nail on your Essential Techniques card and the time it takes to complete the whole set on your Whole Hand card We don’t deduct or add marks for times, but its good to have a record of the time to see how you progress. It’s better to take a little longer and create your best work than rush to get a quicker time. Speed will come with practice.
Please send your completed course work to:
Please send your work by Royal Mail Recorded Delivery, so it is safe on its way to us.
It takes approximately a week to assess your work. As soon as your work has been assessed, we will call you with the score and feedback. Then return your assessed work to with your certificate as necessary, by Royal mail Recorded Delivery.
Q12. What do I do with the maintenance nail? (The long one with the crack and chip in it.) Acrylic, Gel, Fibreglass & Sculpting Course.
The maintenance nail simulates a two-week old nail extension with a chipped free edge. You need to take the nail back to a nicely shaped natural nail, so you can use it as you work your nail sets… To do this, file down the crown (top of the nail) to a normal height. Then file the free edge of the nail to remove the chip and make the nail the same length as the no; 13 nail. Smooth over the entire surface (including the cuticle area) and sidewalls. Using the coarse side of your file will make this job a lot easier and faster. The nail is now ready to use.
Q13. I can’t apply a tip correctly, there is a gap between the nail and tip well what am I doing wrong?
A13. The tipping & blending can be a challenge when you first start, but by adjusting your technique slightly and practicing you will be successful. Here are some simple steps to success:
1: File the free edge of the natural nails to match the wall of the well ,the natural nail will look blunt and not very pretty at this stage, but the shape will allow the tip to pull in close to the nail. Clean away all filing debris.
2: Apply a small amount of adhesive to the tip well, spread the adhesive in a thin coat over the entire well, right up to the wall of the well. Do not apply too much adhesive, as it will take too long to dry and your tip will lift from the natural nail causing an air bubble to appear.
3: With the right amount of adhesive applied to the well, offer the tip up to the nail. Keeping the tip vertical, move the tip downwards, when you hear or feel the soft click, of the wall of the well on the free edge of the natural nail, stop and hold the tip well against the free edge of the natural nail with firm pressure. Keeping the pressure on this point, gently let the tip well come down on to the natural nail, making sure not to seesaw on the free edge ( lifting the front of the tip up as you move the back of the tip down) As the tip well comes down on to the nail, the adhesive will bond to the nail and squeeze the air out in the direction of the cuticle. Tip adhesive dries quickly, so as long as you don’t apply too much your tip well will be adhered completely to the nail.
4. It’s important to hold the tip still while the adhesive is setting. Relax and apply gentle pressure for 20 seconds.
If you are still getting air bubbles after practicing this technique you might find it useful to shorten the tip well before application, so you have less contact area.
As soon as you tip a nail perfectly, continue to tip another 20 nails straight off so you master the technique.
Of course, all of this is covered in great detail on the DVD, reviewing the technique you see there, over and over and practice, practice, practice, and you will succeed!
Q14. I get a tiny air bubble on the smile line when I tip my nail, how can I stop this happening?
A14. If you are able to get tips on your nails; which have a strong bond, except for the tiniest of air bubble on the smile line, it is perfect acceptable to add a tiny “blob” of adhesive to the natural nail where the bubble appears, before you apply the tip. The “blob” of adhesive will stop the bubble appearing.
Q15. I seem to have difficulties in blending the tip’s ‘seam line’ properly, without lines. Any advice?
A15. When you file the seam line, use the coarse side of the file for just 4 or 5 strokes to take down the bulk, then SWITCH to the medium side of the file. File away all the tip material over the natural nail until it is transparent, taking care not to file into the natural nail. It is helpful to count the number of strokes you take so you can find your optimum technique, dependant on the pressure you naturally use on your file. If you press hard you’ll need less strokes. If you apply light pressure you’ll need more strokes. Everyone’s different, you’ll only find out what is right for you after practicing for a while.
Q16. Do I have to use the same filing routine as in the DVD?
A16. You do if you expect to get consistent results! The file grips, finger positions and the sequence that you file as shown on the DVD will produce consistent high quality nail shapes. Learn them so they become automatic and you will automatically produce great nails, time after time.
Q17. I have found that the primer that is in the kit has broken some of the practice nails so is it OK to stop using it?
A17. No. Please do not skip this step! It is a vital part of the preparation routine.
Without it, you will definitely experience massive problems when working on clients. The reason the Nail Trainer nails are cracking is you are using too much. Literally 1/2 drop can do 5 nails.
NOTE: For training purposes, the primer contained in the Essential Nails course is not the same intensity as the full-strength primer. Do not use this on live clients.
Q18. How thick should my Gel or Acrylic overlay be?
A18. You need to make sure your Gel or Acrylic overlay is wafer thin at the cuticle and sidewalls, and rising to approximately 1 to 1.5 mm at the apex, and then thin at the free edge again. The free edge should be no thicker than a credit card.
You want to make sure that your overlay is symmetrical. In your minds eye divide the nail into four with a line from cuticle to free edge and side wall to side wall through the apex. The overlay in each quarter should have the same thickness and curves as it rises to the apex.
Q19. How do I get a good apex on my gel nails, they look flat?
A19. Try this little trick. When you apply the builder layer, apply most of the gel to the centre of the nail, where you want the apex to be. Gently hook some of the gel back to the cuticle and forward to the free edge, leaving most of the gel in the centre of nail. Glide over the nail to smooth the surface, but do not move the gel on the nail. Then flash cure your nails upside down in the lamp for just 10-15 seconds, take them out and turn them up the right way to cure fully. Having the nail upside down for a few seconds, will have the effect of gravity making the gel pull away from the nail in a nice curve where the gel is thickest.
Q20. Why is it important that the nail’s crown be built up thicker? Is this called the apex?
A20. Yes, this is the apex. The centre of the nail is where the nail gains its strength and durability. If the overlay is thin at the crown the nail will break easily. Aim for the crown to be 1 to 1.5mm thick, but no more!
Q21. Do I strictly have to apply only 3 layers of gel when building the nail?
A21. No, there is no rule for it. In general, 3 layers will be applied but as beginners often have to correct the still uneven surface by filing an extra layer of gel might be advised.
Q22. What is the total target time for one hand?
A22. Do not worry about speed yet! The reason is that you should focus more on quality than quantity right now as you are still learning. So although you should make note of the time, assessors would much rather you apply and blend the tip properly and it take you 5 full minutes for one nail, than do it in a hurry and mess it all up because your trying to do it in under 2 minutes. Assessors will not deduct points off for time. Once you have mastered the techniques successfully, you can then aim for 25-35 minutes for each hand, as a good salon time.
Q23. Everyone knows how to polish nails so why is this part of the course?
A23. Not everyone knows how to polish nails professionally. Picture-perfect polishing techniques take practice. Ensure there is absolutely no polish on the cuticles, but it is as close to the cuticles as can be (otherwise, it looks like the client needs a fill.). The polish must cover both sidewalls completely. The best way to polish is to anchor your hand (or at least your pinkie) against something whilst bracing your hand and arm on the table, for stability. Watch the polishing section of the video and duplicate exactly what you see. Please use only the polish that is included in your course.
Q24. I thought my nails looked good. Why did I not pass the course?
A24. The reasons why you have not passed will be stated in the detailed report returned to you with your nails. If you find our scoring severe and critical, it is because we set our standards high and want you to be the best nail technician you can be.
Following a request to resubmit some nails, you should complete more practice nails, correcting the errors outlined on your assessment.
Once you feel you’ve improved your standard (so that clients would be willing to pay you their hard-earned money for) resubmit your nails on the new assessment cards that were sent to you with returned work.
Our assessors will be happy to reassess your work, we do this for free. Remember, being awarded a certificate from Essential Nails is proof that you can make quality nails. It is not a CERTIFICATE OF ATTENDANCE… It is a CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT which is much more highly regarded. You’ll thank us in the end, and your clients will too!
Product & Equipment Related Questions
Q25. My Acrylic Brush has gone hard, what’s the best way to clean it?
A25. If you’re working with a natural hair brush (kolinsky), and it’s a general clean that’s required, then it’s best to use some clean monomer in a ceramic dish and paddle the brush on the bottom of the dish to flex and soften the acrylic.
If the brush has hardened product that can’t be removed, you should soak it overnight.
Using monomer is best because specialized brush cleaners often use acetone as the main ingredient, and if you use it on a natural hair brush it can dehydrate the hair and make it fan out. But in extreme cases where monomer won’t remove the acrylic, brush cleaners or acetone should be used.
If the brush does lose its shape, put liquid soap on it to reshape it and then let it sit for 48 hours. After that, rinse the brush and soak it in monomer again for at least two hours. The soap works like a conditioner for the bristles; it helps bring the bristles back to their original shape.
Q26. MMA and EMA. What’s the problem?
A26. You should not be using nail products that contain MMA. EMA is used in all reputable brands including Essential Nails Professional range.
More information; MMA stands for Methyl MethAcrylate. It is a monomer and has been used in some nail products sold over the last few years. It is a substance that has been banned in some states in the USA since the mid 1970’s. No professional, branded nail products sold today will contain MMA.
EMA stands for Ethyl Methacrylate and this product is used in all the reputable nail Acrylic systems on the market today. The product has had extensive research and has been declared safe for nail enhancement applications.
What happens if I use a product containing MMA? MMA can cause severe allergic reactions and it’s very easy for clients to become sensitised to it. It requires the natural nail to be heavily “keyed” to adhere, but once it does stick, it forms an extremely strong and hard bond to the natural nail. So strong, in fact, that if a client were to accidentally catch a nail, there is a good chance that the natural nail will be ripped from the bed rather than the enhancement detaching.
Of course, this is one reason why unscrupulous Nail Techs use it; it’s easier (even with a poor preparation and technique) to ensure the nail enhancements do not lift and do not come off easily; MMA really, really sticks! It’s also cheap. It’s sold on the black market in industrial volumes, in un-marked, un-branded containers. All Nail Techs should remember that good nail enhancements are DESIGNED to come off either after soaking or gentle filing but especially if a nail is snagged. It’s better for the extension to come off if the nail is snagged, than risk permanent damage to the natural nail underneath, which can rip if the extension sticks too strongly.
Most damage caused to the natural nail is due to the aggressive filing (usually with a drill) by unscrupulous Nail Techs trying to remove or rebalance MMA based products previously applied to the nail.
How can I make sure the products I use do not contain MMA? It’s quite simple. No reputable nail company will sell you nail products containing MMA. Buy branded products from a reputable supplier. Avoid nail products being sold in bulk, or in unlabelled containers, or from someone in a pub or out of the back of a van.
Q27. Can the fumes from Acrylic nail products harm the unborn baby?
A27. There is no evidence at the present time, to confirm that working with nail product while pregnant, can cause harm to the developing baby.
More information; This is a natural concern for any woman considering whether to learn Acrylic nails or have Acrylic nails applied while pregnant. The first thing to understand is that there is a risk associated with everything that you do; there is a risk of an accident when driving a car, or traveling on a train or by plane. The risks are small, so most people accept the risk and drive or fly. Likewise there is risks from all sorts of chemicals that are in use daily around the house or you place of work, cleaning products, bleaches even some soaps and detergents can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
So are the chemicals used in Acrylic nail products safe? No one can say that they are 100% safe, but they are as safe, or safer, in terms of risk, when compared to those activities outlined above. There is no evidence at the present time, to confirm that working with nail product while pregnant, can cause harm to the developing baby. The only known danger from nail products is from the possible exposure to solvent vapours, more commonly called (incorrectly) “fumes”.
To expand a little, let’s see what Doug Shoon has to say. Doug is from Creative Nail Design in the USA, and is the foremost authority on Nail Product chemistry: Could the fumes form Acrylic liquid harm an unborn baby?
This is a very common concern for nail techs. The smell (or odour) you are referring to is from a substance called ethyl methacrylate or EMA. It is the major monomer used in most odour based nail enhancements.First, the correct technical terms;Unless your salon is next to a welding or car repair shop, you probably have no fumes around. Fumes are a smoke which contains small particles, i.e. welding fumes, car exhaust fumes or bonfire or cigarette smoke. In the salon, we have vapours. Vapours are created when liquids evaporate.
Now, to answer your question; EMA is one of the most studied monomers in world. It is used in thousands of applications and by hundreds of different industries, including the nail industry. Over the last twenty years there have been many dozens of scientific studies performed on this monomer. Every one of these studies were evaluated by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board (CIR), a group of world leading medical experts in cosmetic ingredient safety. EMA has been exhaustively reviewed TWICE by this prestigious board, during the last seven years. In the first review, the CIR expert panel determined that EMA was safe as used by professional nail technicians. During the second review, the CIR determined that EMA was even safer than originally thought. They now believe EMA is SO SAFE, it can be used in retail nail products, as well. John Bailey (the Director of the FDA’s Color and Cosmetic Division) sits on the CIR expert panel. Eric Schwartz from OPI and I spoke with him personally and asked him what he thought of the CIR ruling. He absolutely agrees the scientific information shows that EMA is safe for use on fingernails. To reach this conclusion, the CIR considered the effect of long term inhalation and skin contact. They looked at both scientific studies, as well as, medical reports and studies done on workers in factories that make and use EMA. I completely agree with the FDA and CIR. In my opinion, there is no doubt that EMA is safe for use by nail techs. BTW: the CIR also determined there is no evidence that EMA can affect or harm unborn babies. The strange odour of the substance concerns people and makes them fearful. But odour has nothing to do with safety. Some very dangerous chemicals have no odour or even smell sweet and wonderful. For example, the vast majority of cosmetic related allergic reactions are caused by fragrances in products. This is why it is foolish to assume that odourless or odour free = safe. It does NOT! Of course, you should still take care and work safely. Working safely is important no matter what your profession. Nail techs should make sure they use proper ventilation to control both dusts and vapours. Nothing in the world is 100% safe. Millions have died from over exposure to water. Even so, we know that water can be used safely. The same is true for nail enhancement products.
Thanks to Doug Shoon and Creative Nail Design for the analysis above.
If you still have concerns then always speak to your GP or Midwife.
Q28. Can the UV light used to cure Gels cause skin cancer?
A28. Very unlikely. There has only been two cases in the whole world where a melanoma found on a client hand might be attributable to use of a UV nail lamp. Even in these two cases it could have been due to exposure to the sun, or to UV from use of a sun bed.
Read on if you want to assess the risks for yourself;
There have been reports in the press recently regarding concerns that the use of UV lamps to cure nail Gels may cause skin cancer. This is a direct spin-off from the scares to do with high and continued use of UV sun beds for tanning, and in our opinion there is a negligible risk of any cancer being caused by use of UV lamps in the application of UV Gels. Let’s look at the relevant risks; To achieve an all over lasting tan, requires you to lay in a high power bed, exposing the maximum amount of skin to UV light for hours at a time, with the treatment repeated regularly. Probably 4 times a week for 15 minutes, that’s an hour a week, or 50 hours a year. The power of the tubes fitted to these beds are in the region off 100watts, and there can be up to 30 of these tubes in each bed. That’s 3,000 watts of UV light, and it’s used to deliberately turn your skin brown, by stimulating the skins response to harmful radiation from the Sun. Yes there is a risk that you will get skin cancer, just in the same way that there is a risk from getting it from being exposed to strong sunlight without protection.
Now let’s look at the use of UV light for nails; the power of lamps.
The power of these lamps is between 9 and 30 watts. That’s between 0.3% and 1% of the power compared to a sun bed. Curing time; The curing time is between 4 and 12 minutes (to cure 2 lays using a standard lamp). Say you have this done every two weeks, that’s 2 to 6 hours a year. That’s about 5 to 10% the time on a sun bed. Skin exposure. You are only exposing your fingers and a part of your hand, and that as a percentage of skin exposed is about 5% of that compared with a sun bed.
So what is the risk of getting skin cancer when using a UV nail lamp as opposed to getting a tan on a sun bed, or worse going on holiday in the sun for two weeks? It’s about (0.01 x 0.075 x 0.05 =) 0.0000375%, or a very, very tiny chance indeed. Another way of thinking about it, is that having your nails done is the equivalent of spending an extra 20 seconds a day with your hands in sunlight.
If you are really worried you could wear fingerless gloves whilst having your nails cured, or apply some sun block on your hands.
Q29. Airbrushing: There’s some water vapour in my airgun, is there anyway to stop it?
A29. There are lots of ways professions get rid of air when using a compressor and airgun. We have made a document which out lines the best way to reduce water vapour in your compressors, you can get the document here.
If you have a question which is not listed, please click the Free Callback button at the top of your screen and one of our experienced and friendly staff will call you right back.
IF you would rather phone us, our number is 01440 820 999 and our lines are open Mon – Thurs 8am – 8pm, Friday 9am – 6pm or click here to email your question.
© 2018 Essential Nail Products Ltd – Manor Road, Haverhill, Suffolk CB9 0EP, England
Gelaze® is a registered trademark of Essential Nail Products Ltd
The Nail Trainer® is protected by the following patents: UK Pat. 2304965, EU Pat. 0950236,
US Pat. 6,488,506B2 other international patents pending