Not confident in nails


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Jul 21, 2020
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Hi all I apologise in advance how long this is but:

I’ve never been the most confident with my nail paints (even just normal lacquer) I’ve never had any complaints but I know that they’ve never been 100% and compared to the other people that I work with mine don’t compare. I can’t seem to get a close enough to the cuticle without flooding it or it not looking clean and uniform.
But anyway, where I work they’ve shown me how to use their gel system (OPI) but I’ve not been properly trained if that makes sense so I try to avoid doing gel polish as much as I can. Anyway I’ve done a couple of sets that have been okay but some of the polishes seem to have separated and cause bumps of colour on the nails and I’ve noticed that one of the lamps isn’t curing the nails properly. ( As in when you wipe the tacky layer it removes half of the polish that hasn’t been cured). That and the fact that one lamp is a very old OPI lamp and the other isn’t even a branded lamp. I have seen the thread on here about matching the lamp with the brand and have tried to encourage them to get new lamps to no avail. So with that and the fact I’ve never been a confident nail painter I was wondering if you had any tips on being more confident with nails? I try and practise as much as I can but maybe nails just aren’t for me?


Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2014
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You say you've not been properly trained; is this just with OPI products or nails in general? How long?
It may help to shake the bottle right before you use it, but also I find that if a gel polish has separated in the bottle, it's usually time to get a new bottle.
You are most likely right in that they need new lamps and lamps that are designed and tested to work with their gel system ie OPI. Even if the polish seems cured on top, the layers underneath may not be fully cured still, and this could lead to overexposure and allergies.
Regarding your actual paint job, it really is practise makes perfect. Practise on yourself, family, friends. Don't have too much product on your brush. Idk about OPI but alot of nail brands need thin application (if you are applying in thick layers, that could also be a reason for undercuring btw). And when you're applying you wanna start not too close to the cuticle, you wanna butt up to the cuticle slowly and gently. Also try pulling back the sides of the skin to prevent the polish flooding the sides. If you're too scared to go too close to the cuticle, use a small detail brush dipped in a tiny bit of the polish and go around the cuticle that way.
Something else that may help with cuticle application is prep. Make sure there is no dead keratin left on the nail around the cuticle and sides or the polish can just flood easily into these areas. And also if the cuticle is pushed back and dead keratin all removed, it allows you to get closer to the cuticle.


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Jul 11, 2019
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Lubbock, Texas, USA
A common technique is sometimes ignored. Balancing the pinky finger to allow the hand and wand to move with precision.

I work with a tech who for 30 years has ignored this and wondered why her clients always complain of their nails getting caught in their hair as the polish grows out. It’s bumped up to the cuticle. ☹️

Shaking or rolling gel polish will never mix the way it needs. The white pigment will collect at the bottom and needs to be scraped up and stirred.

I use a thin metal spatula to mix every time I use the color.

As for OPI, I find that colors ‘shrink’ more often than other brands. I find myself ‘capturing’ with 5 sec. flashes to hold it in place. Thus, only 3 OPI in my selections.

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