It can be very confusing as a nail client with all the tongue twisting terminology, so this piece is dedicated to explaining some of the most popular nail industry terms. It can be especially difficult with the rising popularity of online booking systems for salons, meaning you may be left to work out which of the options to choose - nightmare! Read on to be enlightened, and as always, if you have any questions - just ask!
Whatever treatment you’re receiving, a thorough consultation should be carried out. This is to ensure that there is nothing present to prevent the treatment from going ahead, to fully explain the procedure of your treatment, and to make sure both yourself and your therapist are working towards the same end result with no confusion. A record should also be kept for all treatments and your therapist will note down any changes or points of importance. You can ask to see this treatment record at any time if you choose.
This is simply a method of preparing the natural nail prior to any nail service. It will provide the optimum surface for adhesion and help to prevent service breakdown and lifting of nail coatings. In my opinion, this is the most important step in any nail service. A large amount of problems that occur after a nail service can be traced back to improper preparation. If your nail pro is cutting corners or skipping steps at this stage - it is time to move on!
This is a thin layer of non-living tissue that adheres to the natural nail as it grows. It must be fully removed during prep to prevent adhesion problems with the chosen nail coating. It isn’t easily visible but your nail professional will use specific tools and products to ensure it is all removed. It is often mistaken for the translucent perimeter of living tissue around the base of the nail.
Refers to what is commonly known as nail extensions or false nails. The term enhancements is preferred by many nail professionals, because the aim is for the end result to look more like an enhancement of natural nails, rather than something obviously artificial. Enhancements can be created in many shapes and lengths and can be fully customised to individual requirements.
One of the ways of adding length and creating shape for enhancements. They are made of high quality, thin and flexible plastic which will be applied with a nail adhesive after being correctly sized. They are then carefully blended so that the join is no longer visible, then product will be applied over the tip and filed once set.
Another tool used to create enhancements. These forms are adhesive, coated ‘stickers’ that slip under the edge of the natural nail and secure around the finger. This creates a platform on which the enhancement can be built, and once it is set, the form will be removed so it can be filed and finished.
LIQUID & POWDER:
A super strong enhancement system commonly known as acrylic nails. It is used to extend and provide strength. It can be built over tips or forms, or straight on the natural nail if no extra length or shaping is required. It will be applied with a brush that is dipped in liquid monomer then a powder to create a putty-like bead that is moulded into shape. It will set in a few minutes and will be filed to a beautiful smooth finish. This system is removed by wrapping the nails with foils soaked in remover.
This is similar in many ways to liquid & powder. It is another enhancement system that can be applied over tips, forms or the natural nail. The most notable difference is that UV gel is ‘cured’ or set in a lamp that emits UV light. It is then filed to a smooth finish just like liquid & powder. It usually comes in pots and is applied with a brush to a perfectly prepared nail. This is a file-off system and is meant for permanent wear rather being periodically removed.
Enhancements need to be created with an excellent structure to avoid breakages. This requires an apex. This is an area where the product slightly thicker and is placed at the stress point, usually around the middle of an enhancement. If the apex is missing or incorrectly placed then the structural integrity of the enhancement will be compromised. This is part of the rebalance process – the apex will move as the natural nail grows, so will need to be returned to its proper place during rebalance.
Roughly 2-3 weeks after an enhancement service, your natural nails will have grown, taking your enhancement with it. When an enhancement is applied, it must be structurally sound and correctly balanced. As the nail grows, this balance shifts and weakens the enhancement. This is when a rebalance is required, which involves shortening and restructuring the enhancement so it is correctly balanced and looks like new again.
Gel Polish is usually in a bottle with a brush, has a thin consistency and is cured (hardened) in a lamp that emits UV light after being painted on. It is immediately dry after the service which eliminates the issues that can follow traditional polish such as smudging, wrinkling and denting. It can be applied to natural nails or over enhancements. There is usually a base coat, two colour coats and a top coat, and many nail art mediums can be incorporated such as glitter, foils and stamping. There are over 100 brands of gel polish on the market today, so you may want to do a little research!
This is one of the most consumer-confused terms around. Shellac is a brand of long wear, light cured gel polish that is made by CND (Creative Nail Design). It is widely regarded as the best in the business, recognised and asked for by name all over the globe. It has become a sort of ‘umbrella term’ to describe all gel polishes, which is incorrect. CND Shellac has several patents and is formulated very differently to other products available on the market. If you ask for Shellac – make sure it is CND!
This is super important. When you have any nail service, you are forming a partnership with your nail professional. They give you beautiful nails, and there are things you must do at home to care for your nails, keep them looking their best and avoid damage to the natural nail. It is very simple and mostly common sense, applying an oil a few times a day, wearing gloves when using chemicals etc. Remember, we can tell if you don’t follow your aftercare!
That's all for now folks! If there's a word or phrase you've heard your nail professional use and you aren't quite sure what it means, please comment and I'll do my best to explain!
Thanks for reading!