When PREP causes damage

There are 2 things that cause damage to natural nails when talking about nail enhancements:

  1. How they are applied
  2. How they are removed

Unfortunately nail techs play the blame game as much as clients do.

“You pulled them off and that’s why your nails are damaged”

However if you’ve read my blog post titled “Acrylic doesn’t wreck your nails” You will know that lifting is primarily caused by improper prep by the nail tech and after lifting has occurred, damage is likely to be seen quickly.

The problem I see when nail tech’s try to fix a lifting issue is that they do ‘more’

When the nails don’t adhere properly i.e. they lift, then The nail tech automatically thinks I need to do more prep i.e. I need to rough up the nail plate more, or I need to add more primer, or maybe I need to get a stronger primer from a different brand!

The last thought in this list, to get a stronger primer, I cannot discourage enough! The products you are using are all chemicals and are made to work with each other within the brand that you have chosen, so picking up a different brand of primer means you will be mixing chemicals on the clients natural nail and you don’t know how those chemicals are going to react with each other, I strongly recommend you stick with the products the brand provides and follow The manufacturers instructions so no adverse effects can be attributed to you.

The very first thing I seen all technicians doing is thinking they have to remove more cuticle and rough up the nail plate more to get a better adhesion, and a big percentage of nail techn’s not knowing any different, will at some point try to file the dead skin (cuticle) away instead of removing it properly with a professional tool that will do the job efficiently.

The next thing goes hand-in-hand, and that same file goes over the natural nail plate usually in a left to right sweeping fashion with more pressure than is necessary and now plate layers start to be damaged and removed.

There are multiple problems With going about your prep this way, the cuticle can be effectively removed with the right tool and the right technique, bit the main thing to remember is, it is not the products fault if it lifts. I highly recommend the pro pusher which I have used for the last 12 years and it never lets me down.


It does a perfect job quickly and efficiently without the need for cuticle removers, cuticle creams, excessive force or filing afterwards, it just does the job and does it well.

Next is your filing technique, there is no need whatsoever to file cuticle away if you are using a professional tool such as the pro pusher this will do the job for you no question about it.

Removing the Shine.

When it comes to filing the natural nail there is actually no filing required! All that is required for modern nail enhancement products to a date of the natural nail is for you to remove the shine from the natural nail.

This can be done very gently and cause no damage to the natural nail at all.

So here are my top tips:

  • Hold your file like a pen and at a 30° angle place the tip of the file right next to the enponychium Then with a firm but fair pressure draw the file all the way down to the free edge of the natural nail
  • Repeat this process over the entire nail, avoiding the area that you removed shine on previously.
  • Work evenly starting in the very middle of the nail with the next sweep, Still removing shine in the direction of nail growth i.e. from epinychium to free edge.
  • When you get to the lateral side walls of the natural nail use your finger holding the client to pull the skin slightly down and away opening up that skinfold at the side exposing a little bit more of the natural nail so you can get your file right the way down to the nail groove to remove shine on every part of the nail plate.

Removing the shine I always liken to exfoliating your skin, on natural nail plates you are simply removing the shiny oily surface that your nail creates naturally as the oils from within your finger saturate through to the natural nail plate moisturising those nail plate layers and in turn creating a shiny seal on the natural nail plate. It is simply our job to remove that natural shine and eliminate the oils along with any contaminants, dust, debris and bacteria on the surface of the natural nail with an alcohol-based nail prep product which cleanses, pH balances and temporarily dehydrates the nail plate ready for the primer and enhancement products to create the perfect addition.

You will notice there I said temporarily dehydrate, if you prep all the nails to the point where they are prepped with an alcohol-based product and stop there, without apply any enhancement coating, leaving the natural nails for the next two hours, they will naturally regain their shine as the oils saturate from the finger into the nail plate layers once again. This will only take a couple of hours and if you do this experiment yourself at home properly i.e. removing they shine from the natural nail gently in the direction of nail growth, it will prove to you that you will see no damage to that natural nail plate as the shine re-emerges over the course of the next few hours. Your nails will be damage free, shiny and back to looking healthy within the day!

Now all that’s left is for you to get your mix ratio spot-on and properly ensure that enhancement product gets the bond with the natural nail that it should,

#NoLifting #PerfectNails #MyNailsAlwaysLookAmazing

Do check out my other blog posts for more information surrounding the facts and issues that now technicians face on a daily basis.

Knowledge is Power!  

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