Nails – Your Questions Answered

Working as a nail technician and educator I am often faced with many challenges and problems relating to nails, without the guidance and support of other nail technicians I would not have been able to achieve what I have done to date. The problem in the industry is not enough nail technicians ask questions relating to problems with nails, either due to lack of support or lack of confidence but this is how you learn and itʼs an ongoing learning cycle that everyone needs. For this reason I feel it is important to share this information and helpful hints and tips with all the new and existing nail technicians in the beauty industry. Below I have chosen just a few of the regularly asked questions by new and existing nail technicians. So just take a few minutes to read the following and see if you can use this advice or have any additional information to add to this.

Victoria answers some frequently asked nail questions…

“My clientʼs Acrylic Nails are lifting from the cuticle after 2 days?”
Many factors can cause lifting. It is important to start with correct preparation of the natural nail. The natural nail should be gently filed using a 180 grit file to lightly remove the surface shine paying particular attention to the sides of the nail and cuticle edge, these are the areas prone to lifting. Spray the nail using a nail antiseptic spray as this will remove the oils and dust from the nail plate. Note that it is important not to touch the nail plate with your fingers as this will place oils back onto the nail. A good nail primer or preparation product should be applied to the natural nail to temporarily dehydrate the nail prior to the application of acrylic. Acrylic should be applied very thinly around the cuticle area using the 3 Zone procedure, if the acrylic is too thick or close to the skin then lifting will occur within 24-48 hours after application. Cuticle oil should be applied daily to give the acrylic flexibility and prevent the cuticles from drying out which can also cause lifting.

“The UV Gel Nails are cracking across the centre of the nail several days after application, what could be causing this?”
Gel is not as strong as acrylic so first you need to establish if UV Gel is the right system for your client. Often clients believe that UV Gel is a better system than acrylic, however, this is not the case and if applied correctly with the correct products acrylic is more suitable for a client who is heavy handed. If you decide gels are suitable then it is important to build the stress area of the nail, this can be done by applying a cross of extra gel to the apex or stress area of the nail, then turning the clients hand over to allow the gel to level itself out to create an arch over this area and then cure for 3 minutes. Be aware that a client may feel an exothermic reaction with the more gel you apply in one area so although you need to apply more to the stress area, be careful not to over load the nail with gel. Note that it is important to explain to the client what the exothermic reaction is and how to stop this if it happens. Ensure you are not over filing the Gel Nail at the end of the procedure as this can result in underlying cracks in the gel that can appear more visible after several days. It is important to check that your UV lamp is at least a 9 watt bulb and it should be changed at least every 6 months to allow for full curing strength when placing the gel under the lamp. This is often a common problem, as many nail technicians have not been told this at the time of training. I would recommend placing a sticky label on the base of the UV Gel lamp with the date it was last changed to help prevent over using the bulbs.

“My clientʼs nails are turning green underneath the acrylic, why is this?”

This is a very common problem, often caused through poor preparation or lack of maintenance of the nails. Throughout my career I have seen this when nails have not been maintained and when the Acrylic Nails/ UV Gel begins to lift, water and moisture seeps under the overlay and then leads to green patches or discolouration of the nail. To prevent this it is important to dehydrate the natural nail prior to any nail application using a nail prep spray or sanitiser, work cleanly and hygienically with your products and ensure your clients return for regular maintenance every 2-3 weeks. If any green or discolouration patches occur on a clientʼs nails underneath the overlay you must remove the product immediately, assess the nail underneath if the discolouration is removed with the overlay, then you can sanitise and prep the nail for a fresh nail extension, removing every time the client returns ensuring the discolouration does not re-appear. However, if once you have removed the nail extension and the natural nail plate appears still slightly green or discoloured, it is important to recommend the client to seek further medical advice from their local GP. Often the doctor will treat the nail as a fungal infection advising the client to allow for full healing before their next set of nail extensions.

“Is it ok to use nail drills or should I always use a hand held file?”

This is a topic that is definitely at the forefront of discussion in the industry. I have always used a hand held file and feel that there is no need to use an electric file when you can achieve the same result. I know many nail technicians that use an electric file and feel that they are safe and effective to use, however there are many nail technicians that will not use them due to the bad press about them. I recommend that if you are going to use an electric file you should have the appropriate training on how to use them correctly as a lot of damage to the natural nail can be caused by them.

There are many questions that you as a nail technician will come across and at times you will need some guidance and support. For any further questions or information please contact me at

Next Step Beauty provide complete nail technicians courses across the UK, for more details call 0800 012 4248