Natural Nail Prep

Thorough and professional preparation of the natural nail prior to any nail service is paramount in promoting product adhesion and quality, lasting nails that will keep your clients coming back for more. Natural oils and dead cuticle sitting upon the nail plate play a big part in the cause of lifting and service breakdown. These thorough preparation steps below will talk you through, step-by-step, a professional, natural nail preparation to get your nail services started off on the right track!

1. Sanitise
First things first, you always want to sanitise your hands and those of your clients (You never know where they’ve been before coming to their appointment!). You may have a brand name sanitiser that you know and love or alternatively, a 90% Pure Isopropyl to 10% water mix can be affordably custom mixed.  Your sanitiser should be sprayed on both the fronts and backs of hands, from around 20cm away and evaporate quickly.

2. Shape
The shaping of the natural nail should be done with a file between 240 grit and 180 grit (The higher the number, the coarser the grit). If you have some natural length to remove, a ‘sawing’ motion is quite acceptable so long as just before you reach your desired length, you complete your shaping in either one direction only or, from side to centre, side to centre.

3. Scrape and File
The shaping process and the angle of your brush can cause little ‘frills’ of nail to remain underneath the free edge. Painting over these with gel polish can cause chipping when they naturally wear and break free from the nail, taking your polish with it. To remove these, gently scrape the knife end of your cuticle pusher underneath the free edge to reveal the ‘frills’ and using your file at a flatter angle, file these away.

4. Push Eponychium
Using your cuticle pusher, and starting around the centre of the nail, gently dry push your pusher back towards the eponychium to release any invisible, dead cuticle sitting upon the nail plate and stop just as you touch the eponychium, gently encouraging it backwards to make yourself some more ‘nail estate’ to work with.

5.Remove Dead Cuticle
No nail product is going to sit on top of dead cuticle and not cause you lifting issues. To remove stubborn cuticle, use the knife end of your pusher to gently scrape dead cutcicle from the nail surface, not forgetting to get right into the sidewalls.
Alternatively, is you are PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED and CERTIFIED in the use of an e-file, you may use your cuticle bit at this step.

6. Dust
Use a stiff manicure brush in a downwards motion to remove dust and debris to gain a clear view of if more cuticle work is needed.

7. Buff to Remove Shine
Using a 180grit sponge buffer, gently remove the SHINE ONLY from the nail plate. Start by whipping over the cuticle area to remove anything you may have missed in the previous step. Get right into the sidewalls and a quick movement across the body of the nail plate to finish.
Anything softer than a 180grit creates too smooth of a surface for nail product to adhere to. Any coarser, and you’re not doing the natural nail any favours and in fact, will be unnecessarily thinning it.

8. Dust
Clear your dust away again, this time, also adding a sideways brushing movement at the free edge to get any cheeky ‘frills’ that may have evaded your file earlier.

9. Cleanse
Using a new, lint free wipe for each hand, use your brand cleanser OR pure, beauty grade Isopropyl to cleanse the nails. It’s important to use a fresh wipe for each hand otherwise you are simply removing debris from one hand and transferring it to the other.

***The next two steps should be completed one hand at a time. Clients are great at getting oils from their face or fluff from their clothing on freshly prepped nails so do each hand, just before application***

10. Dehydrate
Working quickly as dehydrator quickly evaporates once out of the bottle, swirl the brush around the top of the bottle and quickly brush across each nail, allowing the dehydrator to evaporate before moving to the next step

11. Prime
IF your pending service calls for the use of primer, swirl your brush around the top of the bottle, dab any further excess onto a paper towel and gently wipe across each area of the nail only ONCE. Your brush should carry enough for 2-3 nails between dips. Avoid contact with skin.
*Acid primer should turn chalky white before moving onto your application
*Non-acid primer should somewhat dry and NOT appear ‘wet’ on the nail.
The use of too much primer can cause your nails to lift and magically ‘pop off’. From experience, you are more likely to experience popping nails from the use of too much primer, rather than if your forgot to use it altogether but had performed thorough prep work 🙂