Faster Finer Nails


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The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Premium Geek
Jan 9, 2003
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Leeds, UK
Working faster and working smarter by utilising key techniques, you can dramatically impact your earning power.

In this article, I am going to cover a few tips on performing high speed applications to save you time in the salon.

Preping for speed

The basis of all speedy applications is good solid preparation of the nail.

A solid preparation procedure ensures that you don’t spend wasted time and money on costly lifting and infections. This is not an area you want to take shortcuts on, but there are some techniques to help speed you up.

The first technique for speeding up is to use an effective Cuticle remover. I use Creative Nail Designs aptly tilted "Cuticle Remover" to soften up the true cuticle on the nail plate.
One of the more common reasons for lifting is leaving cuticle behind during your prep. Your product will not bond to skin and within days it can begin to lift if left behind.

Cuticle Remover needs to be rinsed off for optimum performance as well as to neutralize the pH. Having your client wisk off to the ladies (or the mens) room to wash can cost you dearly in the old father time department (especially if they dont return until they have finished reading the latest Readers Digest novelette of War and Peace)

An easy and fast technique for removing Cuticle Remover is to have a CitruSoak pump at the table.

CitruSoak is a mild hand soak and cleaner used in the SpaManicure range. A small amount of CitruSoak in the pump with water acts as a great cleanser that you can do right at the table. Change this daily and apply with a lint free fibre free pad to really cleanse it off.

Tip: You only need the smallest bit of Cuticle Remover per nail. Also, try to avoid getting it onto your own skin.

On of the freakiest things that I just clean don't get is the fact that some people do not use professional formulated cleansers during their preparation. Some people use Acetone, some use Formula 409, while others use Everclear.
This cost of using a professionally designed product (i.e. ScrubFresh) to cleanse, sanitise, and prepare the nail plate runs somewhere in the neighbourhood of £.1 per full set.*

One of the more common mistakes that Nail geeks run into is not scrubbing effectively enough. Concentrate on ScrubFreshing each nail for five freaking seconds. This will ensure as clean of a nail plate as possible, thus ensuring that the nail plate will be much less likely to lift.
Some tips

Tip and overlays are the most common method of performing full sets and one of the more costly both in time and in money.

Clear Tips aid the nail designer in reducing their tip application time by being more forgiving. Its much easier and faster to blend a set of clear tips to the nail as you don’t have to have it so exact.
Be sure that you are still making the tip as thin and even to maximise the amount of product you are applying.

I usually avoid French tips. Yes they can speed up a nice Forever French set... But at the cost of being less durable.

One massive time waster at the table is blending and one of the easiest ways to dramatically speed this process up is by reducing the contact area of the tip down to a sliver.
The contact area is designed to give you leverage during application and no more. Excessive contact area can even promote service breakdown as there is more adhesive and ABS polymer and less Product. Your product will offer longer lasting adhesion and much more strength.

On that note, it is essential to get the tip as thin and even as possible prior to application as this will result in a tougher, thinner enhancement.

During down time, prepare your tips by pre-reducing the contact area. The vast majority of applications require very little contact area. Having your pre tailoring done ahead of time can shave several minutes off of your full set application time.

Super Sonic Sculpting

While Tip and overlays dominate the Full Set arena, many Nail Designers are discovering how Sculpting a full set can dramatically reduce your service time and save you money.

As the natural nail plate grows off of the nail bed, it compresses and shrinks as it is not receiving the oil and moisture it was while it was on the bed. This can cause the natural nail to begin to curl and become misshaped which in turn can lead to a massive headache when it comes time to fit your form.

While doing your prep, reduce the free edge down to the shape of your smile. This will reduce the effects of attempting to fit a form under a curled natural nail, and it will dramatically speed up your application.

A sculpting form is non porous and it is designed specifically not to adhere to your product. Your tips and the natural nail are designed to bond to your product. This can cause some difficulty when it comes time to sculpt out Zone 1 as your product will glide over the form, but grab to the natural nail.

Your first bead in Zone 1 should butt up against the free edge of the natural nail, and if you have carved your smile into the free edge, it will create the smile for you. If you need to add anymore product, you can then apply to a surface that is designed to bond with your product instead of a slippery surface like a form.

If you are having difficulty applying the form, chuck it. The more you tweak and play with it, the more wrinkled and misshaped it will become. If your form fit isn’t easy and fast, your application wont be as well.

Avoid sculpting on clients who are better suited for tipping. Tipping offers you more safety and support for nail biters and ski jump nails. You may not be able to sculpt as many clients as you would be able to tip, but you can defiantly sculpt most.

Applying some speed

The nail designer usually spends the minority of their time during PREP and application. These are the areas that you want to spend more of your time so that you can spend less of it during finishing. Lets look at some techniques to help you apply product faster without sacrificing long term performance.

There is nothing that will kill your time like a clogged brush. Most clogged brushes are a result of cleaning in a contaminated batch of monomer.
Begin your day by taking a clean, lidded dappen dish and fill it half way with the liquid you use. After each application session, use that jar to clean out your brush to avoid getting product dries in it.
Having a separate brush or brush head can save you the trouble and aggravation associated with finding product dried in your brush. Sooner or later, you will need another brush. Having that one on hand can result in you being prepared versus unaware.

Dappen dishes

Always use fresh monomer in your applications as old monomer can begin to polymerise and become contaminated. Fresh monomer for your applications is imperative in creating beautiful, long lasting, easily sculpted enhancements.
Avoid pump dispensers, or large holding jars.
Pump dispensers leave a very shallow area in which to draw your liquid from. This means you will be more likely to be drawing from contaminated liquid.
Large holding jars (the kind you just keep topping up when they start to run low) are bad news.
As you work, left over contaminants fall to the bottom of the container... slowly breaking down the fresh liquid.
If you keep topping this up, you will be diluting your liquid with contaminated liquid.

Use a deep dappen dish instead of a shallow one. A deep dappen dish will allow contamination to fall to the bottom which enables you to draw from the fresher monomer up top.

Finishing first

The thinner the enhancement, the faster it is to rebalance or repair. In order to create thin, tough enhancements you must reduce your finishing time and effort. The easiest way to so this is to “Sculpt with your brush and not with your file”. Make the nail look like the end product before you take an abrasive/file to it.

The majority of a nail designer’s time is spent finishing the nail enhancement. Finishing is one of the fastest ways to weaken the enhancement. After two to three minutes, your product will be about 60% cured, the last 40% of the curing process happens in the next 24 to 48 hours. Directly after application, the enhancement is most vulnerable to forming micro-cracks that weaken a beautiful application.

Your goal should be to buff the nail after application, not file it.
If you usually finish with a white block buffer, then make it your goal that when your done applying your product, that you only use a white block buffer.
This can take practise, but it can easily be achieved (trust me)

Perfect the form of the enhancement with a gentle abrasive and a light touch, then buff the nail, don’t file it.

The less time you file, the softer the grit of the abrasive and the less pressure you use, the tougher and thinner the end result. Remember, the thinner the enhancement, the less time it takes to rebalance it.
Rapid rebalancing

Most of the designers work load is spent rebalancing. You can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent rebalancing if you can reduce the thickness of your application while still maintaining the toughness.

The thicker the nails, the longer it will take to rebalance them. This is why many nail technicians use aggressive techniques to rebalance. The problem is that it is these aggressive techniques that are weakening the enhancement and therefore the cause of the thickness!

During rebalance, use the abrasive you need to get the job done. I recommend a 120 grit to lessen the amount of damage to the enhancement.

Thin out only the areas that need attention to. If you are performing a single colour rebalance, and there is no service breakdown, you really only need to file the enhancement to put the shape back in.

If your client is experiencing some type of service breakdown, put on your sleuth hat and get to the bottom of it! Repeated service breakdown is a sure fire indication that you should modify the clients prescription to better suit her needs. Remember that not all clients can wear four inch long enhancements!

Much time is wasted waiting for your client to decide on the colour they wish to wear. Having a complete rack of the enamel you stock at or near your station will allow your client to be able to pre choose their colour while you are performing the service.
You are an absolute genius!:)
That is a fantastic article and extremely helpful - thanks. Look forward to seeing you in Leeds very soon!
What is Everclear and 409 never heard of it.
I saw, what ever am i going to do without this webbie??!
brilliant, just brilliant. What on earth would we do without you? (and the site too of course)
Great article. I currently use CND cuticle eraser. Is there an advantage to using remover? when you say it needs cleaning off. Do you soak the nails in Citrusoak, or scrub as you would with scrubfresh with Citrusoak to remove.
avivajoy said:
brilliant, just brilliant. What on earth would we do without you? (and the site too of course)

I agree and I've only being using the site for a few weeks - the tips and articles are invaluable:Love:
This is really great, cant wait to try and put some of it in to practice.
At the risk of making your head swell, I have to say that was brill (as always)
Thanks Sam, what would we do with out you:Love:
Ever thyought of moving out to hte Caribbean??? You're SO needed here.
Fab article! Thank you for sharing your wisdom GMG x
:) Thank you for this great article. Very helpful indeed!
what do you need to change everyday if you have citrisoak handy?:confused:
I love this! Total sense but you need a reminder every now and then. :hug:

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