How to rebalance or re-white nails

The time frame for a client returning for maintenance on a liquid powder system is the same as for any other system. It is the growth rate of the natural nail that will determine the frequency of the appointment and it’s your job as the nail technician to advise and book your client in for the appropriate return time.

Have your consultation card ready so when she returns you can assess her nails, making note of any damages or repairs that may need doing during the treatment.

The return period for this treatment is usually 3-4 weeks, some clients will get longer out of there extensions before this is required where others will get less, this is why it is important to document the growth pattern so you know your client will always return at the correct time ensuring her nails remain strong, healthy and always look there best, (she is an advert for your business and skills so it is in your benefit to maintain these appointments)

The purpose of a re-balance/re-white is simple. It is to re-balance the nail back into its correct zone pattern 1, 2&3. In the 3-4 week period your client is away her natural nail will grow underneath forcing the extension to grow up with the nail, this leaves the extension unbalanced and prone to weakness and cracking. You will see new growth of natural nail at zone 3. Zone 2 (the apex, stress area) will of grown into zone 1 and you will see the free edge of the natural nail below the white smile line. (This will almost be hanging off)

To rebalance follow these steps.

  • Sanitise yours and your clients hands
  • Remove any polish and carry out any cuticle work, it is important to do this every time your client returns as the cuticle will grow with the nails, (if its not removed it will cause lifting)
  • Replace any missing nails (if required)
  • Alter the shape and length, adjust accordingly,  the length should be taken back to the original requested length as discussed at the initial consultation, this will ensure the correct ratio of white to pink and a even looking, balanced nail, if your client request’s the length to be left you need to note this on the record card. As she may encounter problems with a longer extension.
  • With a 240 grit, file down the side walls to straighten.
  • Now with a 180 grit, thin down the free edge zone 1, because you are replacing the white and re painting it into its correct zone, you will need to make sure you file all remains of the old white product of the nail (if its not removed it may result in a shadowy finish and also a thick free edge)
  • File into zone 2 to level it out, you should be removing the bulk of the product off the nail.
  • Now carefully work your way into zone 3 the cuticle area, file this so that you cannot see the seam where the natural nail has grown. (Be careful not to file onto the natural nail though you are only removing old product) If there is any lifting this will need to be filed out before you apply new product over the top otherwise you will see it through the new nail.
  • When the whole nail Is filed it should be even all over, no sign of white tip, apex or seam at the cuticle (it’s a blank canvas to start again)
  • Brush of any loose dust and dehydrate the nails, paying attention to the new growth in zone 3, check your client is happy with shape and length before you apply the product.
  • Clean your work area down, wipe away any dust and lay clean tissue on the desk.  Have your products ready to the side of you, and make sure your brush is clean and the tip is in a point.
  • Apply primer to zone 3 (only on the natural nail, don’t flood the cuticle or touch the skin)
  • Now submerge your brush in your monomer and wipe the full length of the brush on one side. With the side of the brush that is loaded with monomer pull this through your white powder, until you have a bead on the tip of your brush.
  • Press the bead onto the centre of zone 1, (let the bead relax on the nail, you will see the bead sink and then pop back up into shape, like its breathing in and out!!  This is now ready to work onto the nail.) with the belly of the brush press the bead down towards the smile line (this should sit 1-2 mm below the natural smile line), press it into the corners and the side walls, and pull the product up over the free edge to ensure even coverage. Wipe your brush of any excess and then with the tip of your brush tidy your new smile line.

*Note, clean your brush on some tissue or a nail wipe after you have finished you bead application and before you put it back into your liquid, this will stop your monomer from becoming contaminated, and any lumps forming in the bristles of your brush.

  • With your clean brush, loaded with monomer, pick up a bead of pink/clear powder and place it into the centre of zone 2 (stress area/apex) this should sit just behind the white smile line, push this bead out to the side walls tucking the product in to ensure full contact is made with the nail (leave a small margin), and then pull the excess up over zone 1. (there should be no visible gaps between zone 1 & 2, the beads should join together)
  • (Clean brush) Now with a small bead apply this to zone 3, push down toward the cuticle remembering to leave a small margin and press out to the side walls really press the product onto the nail, this will ensure no ridge is left around the cuticle area and will prevent lifting. Pull any excess up the nail towards the free edge.
  • When this has been done to all the nails, allow them to dry before filing.  With a 180 file in the side walls, up the side of the nail, over the top and down to the other side of the nail (follow a c curve when filing, for a nice shapely nail) then buff with a white buffing block (or similar)
  • Apply oil and buff in, remove any residue with a dry nail wipe and then use your 3 way buffer to finish to a high shine.
  • Polish if required.
  • Remind your client about the aftercare routine and if you are selling products now is the time to recommend oils and hand creams etc
  • Book the next appointment before client leaves and ensure she is happy with the finished result.

This post was written by Polly Saunders, a tutor at Next Step Beauty. If you have any questions or would like more information please contact us

Next Step Beauty is a private nail and beauty college offering a range of nail and beauty courses including a complete nail technicians course.