Tips How To





Nail Enhancement Removal

Credit Goes To Planet Nails.

A common myth is that enhancements should be taken off every few months to let the nail plate ‘breathe’.  There is no scientific evidence to support this notion.  Nail plates do not require time to breathe, nor are they capable of breathing.  Each time product is removed and reapplied, the underlying nail plate becomes thinner and weaker.  This is especially true when the enhancement is picked or pried from the nail plate.  Improper removal is a crime against the client’s nails.  It is a major reason for natural nail damage as these are not gentle techniques.  Each of these techniques will rip up layers of natural nail plate.  You must take your time or the client’s nails will suffer the consequences.  

Cross-linking makes enhancements more resistant to solvents in nail polish and polish removers.  Unfortunately, it also makes product removal more difficult.  Only uncross-linked polymers dissolve in solvents.  Cross-links prevent the enhancements from dissolving.  Then, how is the product removed?  The solvent swells the polymer network until it breaks into chunks.  The same effect is seen when a roll of paper towels is put into a bucket of water.  It will break up even faster if you poke it with a stick.  The enhancement will also swell more quickly if the solvent is slightly warm.  Warming the solvent can cut product removal time in half.

1) Finger Spa’s

Follow Instructions on the packaging.

2) The “Bowl” Soaking Method

Remove all traces of nail enamel, and remove any surface shine with a 240-grit file.  Pre-filing the surface will allow the remover to quickly penetrate the molecular structure of the enhancement.  Ask the client to remove all jewellery from wrists and fingers.

  1. Warm the mixture in a ‘bowl-within-a-bowl’.  To do this, put some flat marbles in a medium size dish and fill part way with hot water.  Place a smaller dish filled with acetone into the hot water filled dish.

  2. Cover the hand and dish with a terry towel and soak for 15 to 30 minutes.  Do not lift the nails out of the remover for the entire time.  Lifting the nails from the remover will allow the nail product to ‘set-up’ again, and will extend the removal time.  Covering the hands and dish with a terry towel will help to prevent rapid evaporation of the remover, and prevent any warmth from escaping.

  3. Lift the towel off and with the nails still submerged, lightly layer the product from the nails with a cuticle pusher.  Gradually remove all product from the natural nail.

  4. After all product has been removed, lift the hands from the remover and wipe the hands and nails with a towel.  Buff any remaining product from the nails with the fine side of a Buffer

  5. You may wish to ask the client to wash her hands and scrub her nails with a soft nail brush or toothbrush.  Do not vigorously scrub the nails at this point.

  6. Condition the nails and skin with oil, then massage the entire hand with lotion.

  7. Wash hands and nails to remove lotion and oils, apply the service (reapply product, or polish the nails).

  8. Prescribe a home care program that will continue the health and beauty of the new service.

  9. Retail the recommended home care products to your client, and book her next appointment.


3) Foil Wrap Removal Method

Sometimes a client may prefer not to sit in one place while having her nails removed, or there may not be a designated area in your salon for product removal.  In either case, try this ‘wrap’ removal method.

  1. Remove all traces of enamel and buff the enhancement surface with a 240-grit file to prepare the product for removal.

  2. Loosen the cap on the bottle of remover and hold the bottle under warm tap water for a minute or two, but no more than 5 minutes.

  3. Saturate a cotton pad, cotton ball, or gauze pad with remover, and place on the surface of the enhancement.

  4. Seal the cotton pad by tightly encasing it in a square of tin foil.

  5. Apply each pad and foil seal individually to prevent evaporation of the remover.

  6. Soak in this manner for 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove one ‘wrap’ to check for progress, and lightly slough the product from the nail surface with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick.

  7. After all product has been removed, buff the nail surface with the fine side of a Buffer to ensure all product has been successfully removed.

  8. Condition the skin and nails with oil and massage entire hand with lotion.

  9. Wash hands and nails to remove lotion and oils, apply the service (reapply product, or polish the nails).

  10. Prescribe a home care program that will continue the health and beauty of the new service.

  11. Retail the recommended home care products to your client, and book her next appointment.

There is no set time period for complete product removal.  The length of time depends entirely on the type of product; i.e., acrylic, wraps or gels, and the thickness of the material.  The thicker the product, the longer the client will have to soak. 

Most gel products are difficult to remove because they are highly cross-linked and resistant to many solvents.  Usually, the product must be filed from the nail plate.  This can damage the plate and underlying bed if not performed with care.   The heavy consistency often causes gel users to apply the product too thickly.  This creates unnatural and unsightly enhancements and makes removal very difficult.  Gel enhancements should only be removed when it is absolutely necessary as gel removal is a time-consuming process.

If you must remove gel enhancements, use the following guidelines:

  • Slowly file (not drill) the enhancement with a medium-grit file, leaving a very thin layer of product.  Do not file all the way to the natural nail plate.

  • Soak in warm product remover.

  • Once softened, scrape the remaining product from the nail plate with an orangewood stick or Cuticle Pusher.

Use Some Solvent Sense!

Never warm a solvent with an open flame, stove, microwave, blow dryer, or other similar devices.  Solvents should be warmed with extreme care!  Most are highly flammable. Warm only enough solvent to do the job.  Take care to avoid any open flames, sparks, or other sources of ignition, (i.e., cigarettes and cigarette lighters.)  Warm solvents and their vapours are even more flammable! 

Acrylic Nail Application Guidelines

Credit to Planet Nails.


Nail product manufacturers spend a great deal of time in research, development and testing prior to releasing a product.  The type and combination of chemicals in any given nail product line are designed to work together as a complete unit in order to achieve the best possible results.  Every manufacturers line of products have their own nuances and because of this, mixing products from different lines may result in various forms of service breakdown.  For long-term wearability, always use complete systems when applying artificial nail enhancements. Always follow the manufacturers instructions and read and understand the warning labels on all your products.

        Application Procedure


Pour a small amount of monomer into a dappen dish — use only what you will need for the particular service you are performing.  Totally immerse and ‘swish’ your brush in the monomer to thoroughly wet the hairs and to remove any trapped air that may result in bubbles in the finished product.  Air bubbles compromise the strength of the product and can lead to service breakdown.

Dip brush into dappen dish

As you remove the brush from the dish, flatten hairs on both sides to shape the brush for sculpting and to drain excess liquid from the brush.  Now you are ready for sculpting.

flatten the brush hairs

More monomer = a larger bead, less monomer = a smaller bead.  Dip the brush into the monomer according to the desired bead size.  For a small bead, slide the flattened brush down the side of the dish and submerge only the tips of the flags (the darkest hairs) into the monomer.  For a larger bead, moisten the entire flag area of the brush.

Larger and smaller beads of acrylic

Draw a line in the powder to the depth of the liquid line on your brush.  The longer the line, the bigger the bead.  Allow the monomer to surround the polymer particles.  The bead should be medium in size and a medium-wet consistency.  A medium-wet mix ratio will not immediately ‘melt’ down, it will have a slight ‘textured glass’ appearance, and maintain its shape when placed on the nail, tip or form. 

Pick up the polymer

Place the bead at the smile line and in the center of the natural nail.  Press the bead with the flags of the brush to flatten and separate the bead, then stroke to the extension edge.  Press either side of center to flatten the bead and stroke to the extension edge, being sure that the level of product is evenly distributed.  This section will be higher at the smile line (upper arch) and tapered to all edges.  

Place, press and stroke

As you smooth with the brush from smile to extension edge, it is important to ‘follow-through- with the stroke in a downward motion.

Smoothing the application in section 1

With the entire section 1 covered from side to side with product, the remaining 2-2 1/2 minutes of working time can be spent on perfecting the smile line for symmetry.

Section 1 properly applied

Perfect the line when the product is very wet.  Use a fluid motion to actually draw in the smile.  Use baby presses to perfect the line and to ease the product further into the corners of the smile.  Use ‘prep’ on a dedicated prep brush to clean up the smile line on the nail plate if needed.

Perfect the smile line

Pick up a medium size, medium-wet consistency bead (pink, clear or natural) and place on the nail surface just behind but still touching your previous section.  Press the bead to flatten and stroke to smooth and blend with section 1.  Continue in this manner until the entire section is blended and smooth. 


Section 2 application

Pick up a small, medium-wet consistency bead and apply to section 3 in the same manner. Be sure this section tapers into the nail plate to avoid a ridge of product at the cuticle line. Leave a tiny margin all around the cuticle and sidewall line free of product.  This will allow the product to properly shrink when cured (polymerized) and create an air-tight seal to the nail plate.

Section 3 application

Pressing and smoothing will assure total product control, eliminate bubbles in the product, allow for complete contact of the product to the natural nail plate, and eliminate excessive filing.  Work with the brush flat, and keep the flattened surface parallel to the section you are working on.  This means that the angle of the brush will change with each section. 

Perfect balance in all 3 sections



Using a 180 or 240-grit soft file, shape the free edge and sidewalls to the desired form. Smooth the surface of section 1, perfect the ‘C’ curve and taper to a thin edge. Perfect the upper arch of section 2 and blend smoothly with section 1. Blend cuticle area flush to the natural nail, but do not over-file the natural nail.  Perfect sidewalls to a thin edge and blend with section 2. Remove all dust filings. Apply a small amount of cuticle oil to all 10 nails.  Massage into the cuticles and the overlay. With a finely padded buffer, buff the oil into the surface of the overlay to remove scratches. Buff to a high gloss shine with a 3-way buffer: black side, white side, then the gray side. Ask the client to wash her hands to remove all traces of oil and buffing dusts.


You may skip the 2nd last step if you prefer to use an acrylic sealer rather than buffing to a shine.  Apply a polish if needed.

Always book a 2-week maintenance appointment prior to the client leaving.  Regularly scheduled maintenance appointments prevent service breakdown and needless or costly repairs.

Discard or sanitize files, dry and store them in a sealed container with the clients name, address, phone number, profile card and any other special instructions for their next visit.

Special Notes

  • Never touch your brush to the clients prepared nail plate or to the skin.  Doing so may result in overexposure and allergic reaction from repeated and prolonged contact to the chemicals. 

  • Never apply product that is too wet.  Too wet a mixture will not properly polymerize and the excess monomer will be absorbed into the nail plate which may cause an allergic reaction that could result in nail plate separation.

  • Never over-file the natural nail plate as this practice will remove too many vital nail plate layers.

  • Heavy grit files, heavy-handed filing or high-speed drills can  heat the nail bed in excess of 150° F, resulting in a burn to the nail bed. 

  • Never smoke, eat or drink at the nail table to prevent cross-contamination between your food and the products.  Smoke will deposit a layer of nicotine (oil) on the nail plate which may cause lifting.  Your products are flammable, so keep them away from heat sources and sparks or flame.

  • Proper preparation and application will prevent service breakdown problems.

  • Work in a well ventilated area.  Proper ventilation will remove airborne dusts and vapors from the building.  Air conditioning only circulates the existing air in a room or space.

  • Wear protective clothing to prevent dusts from settling on your skin.

  • Wear a protective mask when filing to prevent inhalation of acrylic dust filings, and change it often.

  • Take frequent breaks during the day to prevent the possibility of repetitive stress injuries. 

The application instructions are the same for a natural nail overlay and for an overlay on an already applied and prepared tip.  

Sculpting on a Form

Sculpting on a form requires a different technique in Section 1.  When working on a form, Section 1 is sculpted on a slick ‘cool’ surface.  Since there is no body heat coming through the form, it will slow down evaporation and set time.  The product will seem wetter and take more time to get to a gel-like consistency where it can be pressed and smoothed with confidence.  You must use delicate pressure when working with the product in this initial stage.

Section 1 Sculpting


Place a medium size medium-wet bead onto the form just in front of the natural free edge.

Sculpting Section 1 

Press the center of the bead to flatten and spread.

Press bead to flatten 

Press the bead to the right sidewall.

Press bead to sidewall 

Press the bead to the left sidewall.

Press bead to opposite sidewall 

Use the side of your brush to perfect the sideline and to create the lower arch.  Perform this same procedure on the other side.

Perfect the sidewalls 

Push the corners in at an angle to narrow the extension edge and/or to create an oval or almond shape.

Shape the sidewalls 

Using the tip of the brush to clean up the extension outline to a crisp line.

Perfect extension edge 

Follow the ‘3-step’ spread & smile technique to perfect section 1 dimensions and to ‘tuck’ the corners to create a deep smile.

Create a deep smile


Complete the application in Sections 2 & 3 by following the procedures for these sections in the Overlay instructions at the top of this page.


Acrylic Nail Preparation

Credit to Planet nails.


The term ‘artificial nail enhancement’ incorporates any procedure that lengthens, thickens or otherwise alters the appearance of the natural nail by artificial means.  These procedures include the application of tips, acrylic liquid and powder systems, gel systems, sculpting on a form, any type of fabric wrap or the application of a full pre-formed artificial nail.

On these pages, we will cover the procedures for the various types of products, beginning with the most common type: Liquid and Powder Acrylic.  Please keep in mind that these procedures are non-product specific and are only meant as a generic guideline — always read, understand and follow the preparation, application and finishing  instructions included with your product purchase.  For more detailed hands-on instruction, contact your professional distributor for a listing of continuing education workshops in your area.  

Preparation Guidelines

Ask the client to wash her hands with a mild soap and warm water prior to seating herself at your table.  Supply the client with a clean, sanitized nailbrush or soft toothbrush to scrub around and under the nail plate.  Take this time to disinfect your tabletop, sanitize and arrange all your tools and implements, and to scrub your hand and nails.  The simple act of hand washing will remove 99% of surface pathogens.  Remember, always wash your implements with soap and water prior to immersion in the sanitizing solution to remove any debris, dusts or nail clippings.  Leave the implements in the sanitizing solution for the recommended length of time – usually 10 minutes.  Rinse well, then store in a clean, dry container.  Always replace your table towels between clients and remove any existing nail dust or monomer saturated towels as well.  Good housekeeping is a must!

If your customer is a first-time client, ask her to fill out the Client Profile Card while you finish your housekeeping.  Assess your clients nail needs according to: Lifestyle, activity level, nail plate shape/configuration and fashion preference.  Never sculpt a nail that is ‘too long’ for a first time client, a nail biter, clients with small children, or a very active/sporty client.  Nails that are too long will repeatedly crack and break resulting in unnecessary natural nail damage and valuable replacement time.  The length of the nail bed needs to properly and structurally support the extension edge.  If the edge is too long or improperly designed to the nail plate shape, service breakdown will occur.  Discuss shape, length, maintenance appointments, home care and cost prior to beginning the service.  You will need to assess the nail plate shape and length to prescribe the most flattering, long-lasting and complimentary service.  The ideal free edge design will be a mirror image of the natural cuticle shape; i.e., an oval cuticle line = an oval free edge.


Sanitize your hands and the hands of your client with an instant hand-sanitizing agent designed to remove surface pathogens on skin.
Perform a Manicure

File the free edge of the nail to a uniform length and shape according to your choice of application:  Tip with overlay or sculpt on a form.  Tips are designed to be slightly thicker at the stop point for added strength.  If you are applying a tip, it is always recommended to begin with a very short free edge line.Using a 240-grit soft file, gently remove the natural nail shine in the direction of the nail growth.  Filing from side-to-side may disrupt the nail plate layers which can result in air or contaminates being trapped in the layers and then sealed with acrylic.


Soak the nails in warm water and a mild detergent or an anti-bacterial, anti-microbial scrub for no more than 3 minutes to soften the cuticle.  You may wish to perform a ‘dry’ manicure using a cuticle remover cream, and that is fine as well. Scrub the nail surface and underneath the nail plate with a soft nail brush or toothbrush to remove all traces of dust, then rinse the nails with a gentle spray of water.  If you prefer, the client may go to a basin to rinse the scrub from her hands and nails.  Gently towel dry. Gently push back the cuticle and remove all translucent skin from the nail plate surface.  Skin contains oils and moisture which prevent proper adhesion.

Prep the Nail Plate

Apply nail prep to the natural nail surface in a ‘scrubbing’ motion.  Prep will temporarily remove moisture and some of the oils from the nail plate layers.  Temporary dehydration of the nail plate layers will last for up to 30 minutes.


Tip Application

Choose a tip with the best fit to the natural nail shape, making note that the ‘C’ curve of the tip is a perfect fit to the ‘C’ curve of the natural nail.  The stop point of the tip should fit snugly against the free edge with the sides perfectly parallel.  If the tip is slightly too small use the next largest size — if it is slightly too big or overhangs the sidewall, refine the sidelines with a file for a customized fit.

Apply a line of adhesive across the free edge of the natural nail.  If using a thin adhesive, apply a drop into the well of the tip and spread evenly with the applicator nozzle.  If you prefer a gel-type adhesive, draw a line across the center of the well from side to side.  You do not need to ‘spread’ the gel adhesive. Hold the tip at a 45° angle to the nail plate, then slide the tip forward until the natural free edge butts snugly against the stop point of the tip.  

Roll the tip down onto the nail plate, press and hold for 5 seconds or until an airtight  bond occurs.  NOTE:  Do not involve your whole body in this action as the stop point may over-ride the free edge and result in an incomplete bond. Apply all 10 tips in the manner.  Use a tip slicer or cutter to reduce the length to your prescription.

Applying Tips with Acrylic

After prepping and applying primer to all 10 nails, allow the primer to dry to a chalky white.  Begin by placing a small, medium wet bead to the natural nail free edge, then press the bead to flatten and blend to the sidewalls.  Be sure the bead is large enough to cover the first 1/3rd of the nail plate.  Immediately slide the tip onto the surface, butt the stop point to the free edge, then roll the tip onto the nail plate.  Press and hold until a secure bond occurs.  This may take a few seconds longer than adhesive to cure, so do not release the pressure too early or proper adhesion will not occur.

Tip Perfecting and Blending

Perfect the free edge and taper the sidewalls to the desired form.  Remember, if the extension edge looks wide now, it will look even wider after the overlay is applied.


Using a 180 or 240 grit file, remove the shine from the tip surface beginning at the extension edge.  Work back over the stress area to blend the tip into the natural nail and remove all tip shadow.  Wet the surface to check for a proper blend — what you see now you will see after the product is applied.  If further perfecting is needed, use a 240 grit wet buffer to further blend the tip and remove scratches. Scrub the surface and underside of the finished tips to remove all dusts and contaminates.  Rinse well, then thoroughly dry the hands and nails. Reapply Nail Prep to the natural nail only on all 10 fingers.

Apply Primer

Apply primer sparingly to the natural nail plate only, and allow to dry to a chalky white.  Primer will penetrate the surface layer of the nail plate and deposit tiny chemical magnets that promote product retention.  

Using too much primer can flood the nail plate and may result in a chemical burn to the nail bed.  Remove excess primer from the brush by touching the brush to a lint free nail wipe. The remaining primer in the brush is enough to prime from 7 – 10 nails.  Never sculpt over wet primer unless recommended by the manufacturer.  Wet primer may inhibit adhesion, compromise the integrity or coloration of the sculpting material, and could contribute to product cross-contamination.

The Bitten Nail

Even though we all wish we had clients with perfect nails and cuticles, lets not forget about the nail biter client.  While the biter is on a quest for order, the consistent ‘chewing’ perpetuates the cycle.  Properly applied nail enhancements can help break that cycle.  We have all been witness to clients, friends, co-workers and/or family members whose fingernails look very much like this drawing.  The free edge has been bitten to the point that the ‘smile’ line has become a frown.  I suppose I’d frown too if I looked like this. Looking at this type of bitten nail from a side view, one can see that there is a skin ‘bulb’ at the free edge that has ‘puffed up’ in a feeble attempt to protect what is left of the free edge from further biting.  This skin can be tough and calloused from the trauma of biting.

When we attempt to apply a tip to this type of nail problem, pressure is applied to this skin ‘bulb’.  In an attempt to return to its normal shape, the skin can apply such force as to cause the enhancement to lift, crack or break.  Some of us may even witness the enhancement ‘pop off’ with very little hand usage.

We can eliminate this problem by customizing the tip for a perfect fit not only to the nail plate length, but to the skin as well.  By carving out the sidewall of the tip, it eliminates the area of pressure and the tip will ride over the skin much like a saddle on a horse.  When customizing the tip, reduce the length of the contact area as well, so no more than 1/2 the length of the nail bed is covered with the tip.  It is advisable to use a gel adhesive for air-tight retention of the tip to the nail plate.


After the tip is applied, shortened, blended; the natural nail should be cleansed, dehydrated and primed according to the instructions printed above.  As you can see by these two illustrations, the finished look of the design is much more appealing if the white tip powder is used to create an illusion of nail bed length, rather than placing the smile line at the natural nail free edge.  Many technicians prefer to apply product on the skin and to form a free edge before either applying a tip or sculpting.  It is preferable to apply a tip to prevent needless skin overexposure to a potentially sensitizing chemical.  Remember, we become overexposed from repeated and prolonged skin contact.  It’s safer not to take that chance!



Many of us hear terms associated with nails and artificial nail enhancements that are either unclear in their definition, or they are confusing by their very nature.  Many of these terms are chemically related, yet they can be simple terms to understand.  This  list contains terminology associated with natural and artificial nails, procedures, and a few product or additive definitions.

Adhesive:  A chemical that causes two surfaces to stick together.

Allergen:   A substance capable of producing an exaggerated or adverse reaction, such as sneezing, coughing, rash or irritation in sensitive individuals.

Allergic Reaction:  Allergic reaction, or an allergy, is an adverse reaction to the body usually characterized by skin redness, itching, blisters and localized swelling.

Acrylic:  A polymerized polymer coating..  This coating is formed through the combination of an exact mix ratio of monomer to polymer.  Today’s acrylic monomers (liquid) are made with Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA) due to its inherent flexibility. Acrylic polymers (powder) contain approximately 70% EMA, and 30% MMA (Methyl Methacrylate).  This combination of chemicals create an enhancement that is both flexible and strong and mimics the natural nails flexibility and strength.

Bacteria:  A single cell organism.  Some bacteria are capable of causing disease.

Balance Point Positioning:  Stabilizing your working hand on your other hand for steady control.

Benzoyl Peroxide:  A heat-sensitive initiator used in monomer and polymer systems.

Breathing Zone:  The two foot sphere around each persons mouth, from which all your breathing air is drawn.

Brittleness:  The properties that determine how likely something is to break under force.

Chemical:  Everything you see and touch except for light and electricity.

Contamination:  To make impure, infected, corrupt, etc,. by contact with or addition of something.

Co-polymer:  Polymers made of two or more different types of monomers.

Cross-linked:  Polymers that create a chemical bond between two other polymer chains.

Crystallization:  An undesirable, but preventable formation of tiny crystals in the uncured nail coating that usually results from unusually cold temperatures or drafts.  Liquid will actually freeze  and turn into a solid before it polymerizes with the powder (polymer).

Cuticle:  True cuticle is the layer of translucent or colorless skin that is constantly being shed from the underside of the proximal nail fold.

Dehydration:  To remove moisture from a surface, substance or object which will improve adhesion and help to prevent yeast, bacterial and fungal infections.

De-lamination:  The peeling apart of two improperly adhered surfaces. Natural nails can de-laminate due to a lack of natural oil and moisture levels in the nail plate layers. Most often referred to as ‘lifting’.

Dermis:  The dermis is the bottom layer of skin.  The surface of the dermis is grooved with many tiny channels, slits or tracks, upon which the nail moves as it grows.

Disinfection:  A procedure used to control micro-organisms on non-living surfaces such as: instruments, implements or environmental surfaces.

Distal Edge of Plate:  Distal means the farthest edge, or the free edge.

Ethyl Methacrylate (EMA): Ethyl Methacrylate is most widely used in monomer form as one part of the system used to create artificial nail enhancements.  EMA can be safely soaked from the nail plate for complete removal.  EMA is a ‘flexible’ monomer.

Etch:  The process of rendering a design on a hard surface (such as glass) by corroding its surface with acid.  This term is often used to describe the filing process used to remove the surface shine from natural nails in preparation for a nail enhancement service.  ‘Etching’ is usually accomplished by using a heavy grit file to remove the surface shine, and to disrupt the nail plate layers.  Today’s products do not require the use of this damaging method to ensure adhesion.

Epidermis:  The epidermis is the upper most layer of skin.  It is attached to the bottom of the nail plate and is ridged with tiny ‘rails’ that run in the same direction as the dermis grooves.  The effect is much like a train riding on its tracks as it moves forward.

Eponychium:  The eponychium is the extension of the proximal nail fold at the base of the nail body which partly overlaps the lunula.

Esters:  A small specific portion of a structure of a molecule.  All nail coating polymers, except for polishes, contain esters.

Flash Point:  The temperature at which a substance gives off a sufficient amount of vapours to form an ignitable mixture with air.  Products with a low flash point (below 100° F) should not be used in the presence of (or near) fire, flame, sparks or high heat, i.e., a lit cigarette or automobile trunks.  The flash point of a product can be found in the MSDS.

Flexibility:  Determined by how much a substance will bend under force.

Free Radicals: Very excited molecules which cause many kinds of chemical reactions.

Fumes:  Irritating smoke, vapour or gas.

Fungi:  Fungi are microscopic plant organisms consisting of many cells, such as mold, mildews and yeast.  Fungi are incapable of manufacturing their own food and behave as either parasites or saprophytes.

Gel (Nails):  Gel is often referred to as not being acrylic, when in fact they are based on both the methacrylate and the acrylate family, and are indeed acrylic.  Gels are made by pre-joining some of the monomers into short chains called oligomers.  Oligomers are single chains that are several thousand monomers long.  Gels create rigid surface coatings and are usually cured by exposure to ultra violet light.

Hardness:  A measure of how easily a substance is scratched or dented.

Hazardous Ingredient:  Any substance which may be capable to causing physical or health related injury to an exposed individual.

Hydroxyl Ethyl Methacrylate (HEMA):  HEMA is a protein specific monomer that will seek out and firmly attach itself to the protein in the nail plate.  HEMA is used as an additive to improve adhesion.

Hyponychium:  the hyponychium is that portion of the epidermis under the free edge of the nail.

Interpenetrating Polymer Networks (IPN’s):  A polymer that weaves through other polymers and increases cross-linking.

Lateral Nail Fold:  The lateral nail fold is the surrounding soft tissue around the sides of the natural nail.

Lunula:  The lunula, or half moon, is located at the base of the nail.  The area under the lunula is the front of the matrix.  The light color of the lunula may be due to the reflection of light where the matrix and the connective tissue of the nail be join.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):  Chemical information sheets also containing safety precautions on each potentially hazardous product one uses.  It is an OSHA regulation for all salons to have MSDS on premises for all products containing potentially hazardous chemicals.

Matrix: The matrix is that part of the nail bed that extends beneath the nail root and contains nerves, lymph and blood vessels.  The matrix produces the nail and its cells undergo a reproducing and hardening process.  The matrix will continue to grow as long as it receives nutrition and remains in a healthy condition.

Mildew:  A white or grayish coating formed by fungi on plant leaves, cloth, paper, etc..

Mix Ratio:  Relation in degree or number between two things.

MMA (Methyl Methacrylate):  MMA in its liquid form has been banned for use in the nail industry due to the severity of allergic reaction and damage to the natural nail plate.  It adheres so tightly to the nail plate that it can literally rip the nail plate from the nail bed due to heavy pressure from a blow or trauma to the nail.  MMA is so hard that it cannot be safely removed from the nail plate by soaking in any form of remover — it must be filed from the nail plate with a heavy abrasive.

Mold:  Any of various fungous growths formed on the surface of organic matter.  Mold is not a human pathogen.

Monomer:  Individual, reactive chemical units which may be linked together to form a polymer.

Nail Bed: the nail bed is the portion of skin upon which the nail plate rests.  It contains blood vessels that supply nutrients to the fingertip.

Nail Plate:  The hard keratin coating that protects the fingertip and underlying tissue.

Nail Root:  The nail root is at the base of the nail and is embedded underneath the skin.  It originates from an actively growing tissue known as the matrix.

OSHA:  Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Overexposure:  Chemical hazards caused from prolonged, repeated exposure beyond levels specified as safe by regulatory agencies.

Pathogen:  A micro-organism which is capable of causing disease.

Polymer:  Any of numerous natural and synthetic compounds of unusually high molecular weight consisting of repeated linked units, each a relatively light and simple molecule.

Polymerization:  The process of forming a polymer.  To unite two or more monomers to form a polymer.

Prep:  Prep contains chemicals such as Ethyl and/or Butyl Acetate, Isopropyl Alcohol and other ingredients.  Prep is a temporary dehydrator and deep cleanser that will remove the moisture and some of the oils from the nail plate layers.  It will disinfect the nail plate, is a pH balancer, and aids in physical and chemical bonding.  The effects of prep will last approximately 30 minutes before the nails oil and moisture are replaced by natural means.

Primer:  Primers are usually made with 100% pure methacrylic acid. Although primers are caustic to skin, they are not caustic to the nail plate. Primers aid in product retention because one end of the molecular chain is attracted to the oil molecule in the natural nail plate, and the other end is attracted to the monomer molecule.  Primers act like double-sided sticky tape.

Proximal Nail Fold:  The proximal nail fold is often mistaken for the cuticle.  The cuticle is actually shed from the underside of the proximal nail fold.  ‘Proximal’ means “nearest attached end”.  The proximal nail fold acts like a gasket to seal off the matrix where the new nail plate is growing.

Pterygium:  Pterygium is a reversal of the normal inward folding of the skin under the free edge of the nail plate, or the lateral nail folds.  This can be caused by trauma and by certain skin conditions such as lichen planus.  A dermatologist can sometimes remove this excess tissue by using acid peels or surgery.

Sanitation:  Sanitation reduces the number of pathogens or bacteria on a surface.

Sector Sculpting:  Structurally engineering the enhancement for proper balance.

Sensitization: Sensitization is a type of allergic reaction in which the affected person becomes increasingly sensitive to the allergy causing substance through repeated and prolonged contact.

Sensitizer:  A chemical that causes a substantial portion of exposed people or animals to develop an allergic reaction in normal tissue after repeated or prolonged exposure to a chemical.

Solehorn:  the rigid epidermis stays attached to the bottom of the nail plate until it grows beyond the free edge.  This tissue is called the solehorn cuticle, and will eventually slough off by itself or is removed during a manicure.

Solidification:  the process of turning from a liquid to a solid.

Sterilization:  Sterilization completely destroys all living organisms on an object or surface.

Strength:  The ability of a substance to withstand breakage under force.

Vapour:  The gas formed by the evaporation of liquids.

Ventilate:  To admit fresh air into a space in order to replace stale air.

Viscosity:  The measure of a liquid’s ability to ‘flow’; related to the thinness or thickness of a liquid.  You will see this term used on the MSDS.