is the difference between "sculpted nails" and
nails are created by
applying a "nail form" under the tip
of your natural nail. The nail technician
sculpts the nail and free edge, forming the
length and shape of an artificial nail.
A tip with an overlay
is an application using a "plastic"
nail tip, gluing it to your natural nail and
applying a nail product over the top of both
your natural nail and the tip.
are "pink and whites"?
and White" refers to the use of two
colors of acrylic applied to the nails to
produce a more permanent, natural-looking
"French" manicure look. The tips of
the nails are sculpted using white acrylic. The
base of the nail is then overlayed with pink
do I take care of my artificial nail enhancements?
your nails become too long
before your next appointment, you can file them
using a 100 grit file or larger. NEVER use nail
clippers as they may cause your nail
enhancements to shatter. Changing the polish is
fine, however, you need to use non-acetone
polish remover. Cuticle oil applied daily helps
prevent your enhancements from becoming brittle.
Call your nail technician with any questions or
is a fill?
fill is the
application of product at the base of the nail
where the acrylic has grown away from the
cuticle. The area is prepped by filing, taking
care of any lifting or cracks, re-application of
product, filing, buffing and application of
polish. This process should be done every two
weeks, however, some clients prefer to go
longer. It is not recommended that you go longer
than 3 weeks. The larger the gap the more likely
it is that your nail will become top heavy and
breakage can occur.
A "backfill" on French nails is
the same as a "regular" fill with the
addition of filing or drilling off the free edge
and reapplying white acrylic on the smile line.
often should I get a fill?
two weeks is
the preferred amount of time between fills. The
longer you go between fills, the more likely it
is that breakage or lifting will occur. The
longer the free edge gets, the more likely the
possibility of breaking your natural nail. Some
nail technicians charge more if you go three or
four weeks, as more work is required for the
fill and more time taken.
is the difference between mold and fungus?
fungus is a
microorganism derived from the plant family; it
is a relative of the mushroom. Fungal infections
differ from bacterial and viral infections that
can affect the nails in that fungal infections
are chronic, not tender, slow-growing, and
localized. Bacterial and viral infections, on
the other hand, are acute, tender, grow rapidly,
and are blood borne, meaning they can affect
more than one part of the body. A true fungal
infection of the nail is called onychomycosis.
The most common type of fungal infection of the
nail begins with a small separation between the
end of the nail and the nail bed. Many fungus
infections start as an innocent bang and
separation. It is very important to keep this
clean and dry. Do not poke things under your
nail to clean it. You should not apply product
to a fungal nail until it is healed. Fungal
spores are present everywhere in the environment
including on the skin. To infect nails they must
have a portal of entry. The portal is normally
caused by a trauma, injury or allergic reaction
to nail products, which causes a small
separation of the nail plate from the nail bed
and allows fungus to move in under the nail.
Fungal infections are not very contagious. They
can be transmitted but it is not easily done.
Mold is commonly
called nail fungus…but
it is not one. Caused by the
pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, the infection
results in a yellow-green, green or green black
stain. Advanced symptoms are pus and separation
of the nail plate.
This is a water borne bacteria, which means it
is transmitted through water and thrives in a
warm moist environment. It occurs so commonly
with artificial nails because when artificial
product lifts, moisture can seep in between the
product and the natural nail bed. On top of the
nail this is a primary infection caused by the
moist pocket. At other times, it occurs under
the natural nail and is considered a secondary
infection, which means the bacteria did not
cause the separation, it just took advantage of
A fungus needs to be treated by a doctor. With
mold, the acrylic needs to be removed - the area
filed and disinfected, and then acrylic can be
and of themselves and when
applied properly, acrylic nails are safe.
What contributes to the "danger" to
clients is repeated exposure to the chemicals on
the skin. Most of the chemicals used to create
artificial nails are acrylic-based. Certainly
they would be dangerous if ingested, but it is
not likely that any significant amount of the
products can go through the nails into the
bloodstream. The danger is when products are
applied improperly. It is important for the nail
technician to prevent products from touching
do you remove enhancements?
of nail enhancements
should be done by a nail care professional.
If you do them yourself, I prefer the foil wrap
technique. Materials required are foil, acetone
(not polish remover with acetone, but pure
acetone purchased at a hardware store) or
product remover, cotton balls and an orangewood
stick. You should use a container that is not
plastic and work over an area that won't be
damaged by the acetone.
Remove all polish and buff off any shiny
surfaces - (will not work on gel nails). Cut 2x3
inch squares of foil. Cut 5 cotton balls in
half. Pour acetone into container and one by
one, soak a cotton ball in the acetone and place
over the nail and wrap tightly with the foil. Do
this to all ten nails, then allow to process for
at least 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes,
remove one foil at a time - scrape the softened
acrylic off - if any remains, re-apply soaked
cotton ball and foil and go to the next nail. Do
this to all ten nails until all, or most of the
product is removed. You can buff of any
remainder product. Wash hands thoroughly, and
then apply oil to nails and rub in. Be sure to
file the nails short. You can then wash the oils
off, and polish with a nail strengthener. Keep
strengthener on at all times, reapplying a coat
a day and then at the end of the week, take it
off with remover, re-shape nails and start the
process all over. It will take 2 to 3 months for
your nails to completely grow out and at that
time, they will be the same as they were prior
to acrylic application.
Gel nails must be filed off. Do not allow the
nails to just "grow out" with
artificial enhancements on them. They will
become top heavy and you could break your
natural nail. Do not pick them off either, as
that will remove layers of your natural nail.
the Nail Technician licensed?
technicians are required to keep their license
visibly posted at
their work station. Most states require that
there be a photo of the license holder on the
license. If you do not see a license, including
a salon license, ask to see it. If this
request is refused, leave the salon and report
it to the local regulatory authority. Unlicensed
practice is illegal.
do I complain to the state board?
you feel that you have a valid
complaint against a salon or technician,
you must file a written complaint with the local
regulatory Board or commission in your state.
All complaints must be in writing and must
contain an address and phone number so that you
can be contacted. Here is the web page for the
complaint form Statement
if the technician uses a mask?
technicians wear masks
to protect themselves from dust and vapors from
products used in nail services. Some also have allergies
that make it more comfortable to work for long
hours in the salon. A mask is not always a sign
that a technician is using MMA, but it can be an
indicator. Check the other indicators of MMA use
if you see the technician wearing a mask. If
most of those indicators are visible, you have
to decide whether you want to patronize that
salon. (I personally
must use a mask on occasion because of
allergies. It is my personal opinion that all
nail technicians should use masks to protect
themselves from the dust. Unfortunately, wearing
masks is now very much associated with the
salons that use MMA, so you must be careful when
making your decision. Feel free to ask the
technician why they are wearing a mask. The type
of masks worn by most technicians would not
protect from fumes.) What are the other
indicators of MMA use? See the next question on
MMA vs EMA.
is the difference between MMA and EMA?
As with any type of machine, drills are safe
when properly used by trained technicians. It is
not the machine that is dangerous, it is the
improper use by the operator that creates a
potential for damage. Electric file bits should
be cleaned and disinfected after use on a single
client. If the bit is visibly dirty, make the
operator stop and replace it with a clean one.
If they refuse, leave the salon. If the operator
is using sanding sleeves, these are single-use
disposable items and must
be discarded after use on any one client.
Do not let an operator use a visibly dirty
sanding sleeve on you. Sanding sleeves are made
of paper and are not able to be disinfected, so
if you see someone using a used one on you, ask
for a new one. If they won't comply, leave the
is when the acrylic loosens from the nail plate,
usually at the base of the nail. This can be
caused by several factors. Improper preparation
of nail plate prior to acrylic application,
hands in water more than normal, or free edge
too long causing too much pressure at the base
of the nail are a few of the reasons.
Whatever the cause, it must be taken care of to
prevent breakage or mold. Call your nail
technician for repair.
my natural nails continue to grow under the acrylics?
your natural nails will continue to grow under
the acrylics. I often describe it as
"taking the acrylic along for a ride".
Clients are often amazed that their nails now
grow "so fast", when in reality, they
simply are just not breaking off now. The common
goal for most acrylic nail wearers is to have
their natural nails with an acrylic overlay -
this will occur within a few fills providing you
don't break one that needs to be repaired with a
tip or a form.
long will it take for my natural nails to return to
normal after artificial nails are removed?
natural nails will return
to normal in two to three months after
removal. If they are applied and removed
correctly, artificial nails do little damage to
your nails. Your own nails will always grow back
in the same condition they were in before the
artificial nails were applied. Be sure to use a
good nail strengthener during the growing-out
process and plenty of cuticle oil.
about salon safety and sanitation?
if you have any questions or concerns. If the
technician or salon owner won't share what her
procedures for sanitation are, then leave. All
implements and files should be disinfected
between clients. They should soak in a
disinfectant for at least 10 minutes before
being used on the next client. Clean towels
should be used, brushes should be sanitized, all
bottles and containers should be marked with
product brand name and the table should be
sanitized between clients. If you are not
comfortable with the cleanliness of the salon,
inform the owner. If nothing is done, don't go
back. Ask to see a copy of their last inspection
report. It should be available upon request.