Bad overlays


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Apr 28, 2003
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Somebody out there must be able to help me!!!!!!!
I always have trouble with a natural nail overlay whether it is gel or L&P (I`ve never done fibreglass over a natural nail). Whichever I do the natural nail always seems to break away underneath the overlay, so what am I doing wrong?????????????
i can't help you! but can sympathise. i have done many silk overlays and found most have no strength at the tip. they start to chip away. have recently done a l&p overlay and await her return.

i would really love some advice on this subject too. :rolleyes:
I have complete faith in this forum Steph, someone will come up with where we are going wrong.
Hiya Steph - is that Steph who recommended this forum to me? It's Michelle here! :D

I'm eager to see what our experts can say here too cos I dread when people say they just want a natural nail overlay instead of tips because I, too, find that the product lifts away a lot more on the free edge than on a tip and then this in turn makes the natural nail underneath break off :( :?
Hi :)

I have this problem too, My mum has overlays and I dont really have that many problems with them except that they start to like chip away at the free edge and the sides on the free edge, she has them quite long and for now i have just been filing down the sides and the free edge and applying more acrylic to these areas , her overlays have no other problems that i can see yet, although i am doing the creative enhancement course in a few weeks so im sure that i will find lots of other faults after i do that :D

When i did my training we were never trained with overlays and really dont have that many people that ask for them , but would love to offer it more if i didnt have this problem.

But im kind of relieved im not the only one having this problem and would love to see from the experts what im doing wrong :)

Kerrie :)
What we call 'curling' or as you describe it, the free edge coming loose from the overlay IS a very common phenominon for several reasons.

Imagin, when you apply L&P or any other system for that metter, to a plastic tip, the two become one because they are both plastic -- no chipping, no curling -- both the same density and they are inseparable.

When you apply most products to the natural nail, you have two different surfaces and two different densities. One - the natural nail is porous and flexible. Two - the acrylic overlay is less porous and less flexible SO when any trauma occurs to the overlayed nail, the natural nail 'gives way' and tends to split from the overlay.

The other problem is the nail plate being porous. It is continually soaking up moisture and then drying out - soaking up and drying out - this in itself tends to break down the adhesive where the nail tip was glued on and can lead to the natural nail 'curling' under the tip.

A few tips for maintaining natural nail overlays -

always extend the natural nail overlay just past the free edge so that it affords some protection to the plate underneath and always during the rebalance, make sure you wrap the product around the edges of the sides of the free edge, so that it catches the natural nail and stops it from curling. And remember not to file away everything youve done when you are finishing the nail to a shine. It is really because the edges of the free edge (if you see what I mean) are not coated that this problem tends to happen. ;)
Thanks geeg!

Im going to try this next week when mum gets her infill, i seen them today and they didnt look so bad , there were a few spots that were chipped, but i now see i have been making it a little too thin on the free edge and then filing on top so it makes sence :idea: that it starts chipping and wearing away.

kerrie :)
Thanks Geeg,
You are fast becoming my new best friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Your advice is as always absolutely brilliant.
My only concern though Geeg is what if when the overlay have cured it needs tidying up a bit on the free edge. Once this is filed then it's back to the natural nail being exposed again :? :? :(
Thats a very good point, also I do a lot of nails of ladies who need them quite short, how do you make sure product is totally wrapping edges of nails (especially at sides of free edge) without product touching skin.
Very good point too Debbie. Geeg or Geek, please help :? :?
Keeping your abrasive at that crucial 45 degree angle at the free edge will ensure that there is always a bit of product protruding farther than the natural nail.
As for the sides of the free edge - BE CAREFUL - when filing and use soft abrasives to finish.
Use the point of your brush to apply the product here so that you don't slop it on to the skin - fraid you'll have to be delicate with the brush and the abrasives in this area, but the tesults wil be worth it.
Remeber that all products shrink as they cure.

A lot of times, chipping after a natural nail overlay can be from the product shrinking back from along the edges of the natural nail. It shrinks back and exposes the edge of the plate which can catch.. snap back... and cause the overlay to chip.
If you couple that with a excessivly wet and thin application around the edges of the plate (VERY frequent with natural nail overlays) than the shrinkage and chipping will be even more profound.

Building on what Gigi said... Always 'Clamp' in your overlay. In other words... make sure that you have a thin line of product running along all edges of the plate. That way when it shrinks and cures... it pulls to the plate instead of away from it.
I always sculpt out a teeny weeny bit for overlays to facilitate this process.

Hope this helps :)
some great tips in there for me to try, but just to confirm; in order to allow the free edge of acrylic to be a little longer than the natural nail i should use sculpting forms?? i enjoy using these but like the others have never been taught overlays so wasn't sure.
You don't have to use forms when doing an overlay (though I thinkn they can make it easier until you get the knack of clamping)

You can just cap the edges in product almost as if you were capping during an enaeml or gel application.
ahh, i see. thats sounds sooo much less hassle and makes more sense. thanks for the quick reply :D
Thank you Geeg and Geek, It seems as if I hadn`t learnt anything at all until I found this site and you two but I`m certainly learning now. Thanks loads
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