Perfect Preparation


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The Geek

Grand Master Geek
Premium Geek
Jan 9, 2003
Reaction score
Leeds, UK
Unless you work at 'Lifting nails 4 U salon and Amway club' you will be a bit of a fan of nail preparation.

That’s because the sole purpose of prepping the nail plate is to remove oil, moisture and contamination that could otherwise guarantee your clients nails flip off.

The vast majority of all lifting and bacterial infections are a direct cause of improper prep. If you do experience some of these problems, it doesn’t particularly mean that you did a pants prep job... it just might mean you may not have done as thorough of a job as was needed for that particular nail plate.

Here in todays happy lil tutorial, I will go through the steps I complete to ensure my clients nails stay where I put them.

Preparing to PREP

As you may not know where your clients fingers have been and you sure don’t want to know… I start all of my services with a good ol hand washing.

Washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective and least ‘technical’ of methods for sanitizing.
To top off the sanitizing procedure, I then begin my service with Cool Blue. Cool Blue compliments the sanitizing process and let’s face it… nothing screams ‘Look at me… Im freaking clean’ like a lil Cool Blue.

Free the edge man...

I then shape the free edge of the natural nail plate with a 240 grit abrasive (Kanga board).

Before you ask (and I knew you would)… no, I don’t file side to centre. The reason being is that derms are now suggesting that using gentle motions and a gentle abrasive in a back and forth direction on the natural nail free edge actually helps to prevent splitting and peeling of the natural nail plate.

If I am Sculpting on a form, I ensure that the corners of the free edge are not overly curled. Curled free edges suck as they have a tendency to warp your form fit.
If I am applying a tip and an overlay, I round the free edge of the natural nail plate to conform to the stop point of my tip.

Ditchin the cuticle

The next move is to ‘kick the cuticle to the curb’.

Let’s get one thing straight. The cuticle is an epidermal layer of skin that is virtually invisible. It is shed from the underside of the proximal fold and grows out attached to the natural nail plate from the underside of the eponychium.
What most people call the cuticle is actually the eponychium. Cutting, picking, or any other attempt to remove the eponychium should be avoided at all costs. Doing so greatly increases the risk of paronychia (a real nasty and painful bacterial infection of the nail folds). On top of the dreaded P word, the body replaces the cut/torn/eradicated skin with scar tissue. People who often cut their eponychiums usually grow calloused and hardened eponychiums.

If you or someone you love cuts their eponychiums, get them to stop. Have them use softening and exfoliating products like AHA Cuticle Eraser and SolarOil to soften and exfoliate the hardened skin.

Cuticle Removing

To remove the true Cuticle from the nail plate, I apply a small dot of Cuticle Remover to each finger and then spread it from side to side.

Avoid using your nose, elbow, or other associated body part for this… I happen to use a disinfected metal cuticle pusher. Ensure that you have complete coverage of the Cuticle Remover along the proximal and lateral folds.

I then use a disinfected Curette (in this image I happen to be using a chisel, but I prefer a currette) to ‘scoop’ and of the dissolved cuticle from the nail plate. Use the Curette in small ‘circular’ sweeps along the folds, paying special attention to the lateral folds.

Remove the Cuticle Remover you just removed the cuticle with (kind of a Cuticle remover removeing step) with a fine mist bottle containing water and a tiny drop of CitruSoak and a lint free fibre free pad.

Failure to remove the Cuticle Remover can result in disqualification and lifting. ;)

Shine B' gone
The next step is to remove the shine from the natural nail plate.

The shine in the nail plate is oil locked within the uppermost layers of the plate to keep moisture where it is supposed to be (the nail... duh) and the easiest way to get rid of that excess oil is with a gentle abrasive.

Be very careful here. This is where I see many techs removing up to 50% of the nail plate.

The natural nail plate is the foundation for your nail enhancement (and your business too). Excessively thinning the nail plate will promote service breakdown (i.e.lifting and cracking and breaking).

Here I am using a 240 grit abrasive (Koala buffer) in direction of nail plate growth though I sometimes will also use a Kanga Board to get along deeper folds as it is a much thinner board)
This minimises the likelihood of nail plate damage.

Remember… Once remove shine… twice remove nail.

Scrub away those lifting woes

The final steps of my standard preparation entails a nifty lil product called ScrubFresh.
This product is key to preventing lifting and bacterial infections as it cleanses, sanitizes and temporarily dehydrates the natural nail plate whilst leaving lil pathogen fighting agents behind on the nail plate. These lil pathogen butt kickers help to fight any bacterial infections from forming even after the product is applied to the natural nail plate.

I use very little ScrubFresh on a lint-free and Fibre-free pad (yes, the Brits spell fibre that way for some odd reason... and as they say 'when in Rome...').
The amount of ScrubFresh you use is far less important than the way you use it.
When I do this step, I scrub each nail for at least 5 seconds straight. Yea, yea, I hear you... that equates to a whoppin 50 seconds spent just on this step. Well, I am here to tell you Geeklins, that that extra 30 seconds I spend more than you at this stage saves me a hellova lot more time when the client walks through the door for a Rebalance and no lifting.

It is also important to note that I am scrubbing the entire nail. I focus along the folds as well as the middle of the nail. Why? I can only reply with "Have you not ever seen lifting along the folds? eh? Can't hear you?" :D
Another point to make is that I dont use some mystical 'Spray and be clean' product. Sure, I could dump ScrubFresh into a spray bottle and not bother to actually scrub the nail... but isn't that akin to simply rinsing off your pots and pans after cooking a really hardy meal? Using a little elbow grease here is gonna pay off big when your client returns.

Did you notice?

Can I also point out the fact that the natural nail plate, though kind of a lovely chalky white colour is scratch free?

Give that client about 45 minutes and the natural shine will gradually return to the clients nails as the oil accumulates back into the upper layers of the plate. This is very important if you want to prevent natural nail plate damage. The products I use do not require an etched or rough surface to adhere to. Etching and roughing up the surface of the natural nail plate causes the vast majority of nail plate damage that clients experience and in my opinion is a cardinal sin ;)

Prepped to go

Thats it. Honestly.

I think the next step was form fit (or maybe a tip and overlay) which is shown in the other tutorials.

However, thats not always all you may need to do.

For one, if your system requires a primer (mine doesnt)... you will of course need to apply a primer at this stage. Also, if this is a client with very oil nail plates (and hence lifting problems), I may opt to use NailFresh to predehydrate the natural nail before I apply my ScrubFresh as this allows ScrubFresh to do a much more effective job. The reason I would use the NailFresh before the ScrubFresh is to ensure I am still leaving behind my lil Pathogen Butt Kickers.

Anyhooo. Happy Prepping all.
This tutorial has helped me so much!!!

After many attempts, I am now getting clients coming back with very little or no lifting!!! WOO HOO!

Thanks Master Geek xxx
Reinforcing these basic but crucial elements, in a way that is so accessable for ALL!!!!Many thanks.. I know there is ALLWAYS the next 'need to know' the learning never stops.Cant help but have a chuckle,,, first thing that came to my head after absorbing your info WAS!!!!! Next time Mrs Joe Public say's in their big educated 'Nailknow how' news flash....... Would it be rude to suggest they 'they go be a GEEK 4 5 mins & then come back & havachat....No excuse not to know now the priceless info you & all supply 4 us......Kind Regards...jnail AUSTRALIA....
Oh dear lord, now i get it.

Thanks to you, the lifting should be minimal to none. Oh yeah!!!!

Thanks so much.

Islandnails. SVG
What products do you use that doesn't require etching the nail? I am a fairly new new tech and etching was what I was taught in school. But I too am having problems with lifting within several days. I thought it may have been from me over filing. Help!!!!
i would like to know hoe to apply gel nails its been few yars since i last done them
This is just the information I needed - I am training to do gel nails - and my main problem is lifting - I will definately try everything you suggest and let you know - Sue
thanks so much for this, it has been a huge help to me.

Holy Cow,,,, I too have been out of it for a bit.. 2 kids and a Divorce later I want to secure a future for my kids.... When I went to school...I was Never taught any of this.. Nothing just taught us what we needed to know for the State boards... Book smart Yeah But this site is aweeeessssssoooommmmmeeeeeeeeee... I plan to come here a lot.... Need a refresher. However reading your tutorials has helped me big time!!! Thanks . I have lifting on my own nails that i do becuse no one here is clean enough for my taste. Thats why I am doing on my own. Clean and sanitized!! I usually use OPI powders and mononers.. which do you all prefer and L & P I am having a brain fart? that is that again... I guess I should hit my book lol
Kirsten said:
This tutorial has helped me so much!!!

After many attempts, I am now getting clients coming back with very little or no lifting!!! WOO HOO!

Thanks Master Geek xxx
Hi could you please tell me more about Cool Blue and where I can get it. meny thanks.xx
Give Designer Nails a buzz on 0113 216 3028 :)
thanks for the refresher. that was a lot of stuff that i needed to remember. this site is wonderful
hi iam new on here not sure what iam doing,i read what u sait about pep,could u pls tell me what Cool Blue and Scrubfresh is and how much it cost ,were to get it from pls.xx:o
i would also like to know where to get scrubfresh? what is in it? just in case i can't get it here and there is another product the same only called a different name . thanx for the lifting tips amazing you are cool at your work keep it up wishes emma.:D
Hi all,

I have just done a foundation course in L&P at Creative in London with the lovely Ketan, and applied my first set of tips finished in the L&P french. My model called today to say the thumb has started to lift at the edge by the nail wall. Would this be caused by incorrect prep or not applying enough product near to the nail wall? I go back to Creative in two weeks for the rebalance day 4, but want to try and correct the lifting before then.

thanks for your help

mel xx

Geek in training :)
Wow that was amazing to read. I did my training years ago and i was taught to etch the nail plate really well for the tip to adhere better. No wonder i have most clients with lifting including my own. I have just started working again from home and am having problems getting clients but this information really helps alot. I can let my nails grow back now due to excessive filing they are not in good condition and use your wonderful advise to redo my own nails and also for my few clients and hopefully all the new ones i shall get after reading this tutoriol. WELL DONE THIS IS FANTASTIC.
Outbackbabes - Chezzy Sydney AUstralia
I love this site!! Another great tutorial!! I will be printing these off and passing them to some of the girls in my class!! And of course introducing them to the world of the Nail Geek!!

Thanks Again!!
i am so glad i found this site while surfing the net last year,i am even happier that i can be amongst the best in the world of geeks,there is always great tecniques and tutorials online.please keep up the good work.

:hug: Florentina Alexander
[email protected]
Nails At Last
another great tutorial,i am so glad i found this site while i was surfing the net,definately overjoyed and had to join this great site of nail geeks.please definately keep up the good work.:hug: :hug: :hug:

Florentina Alexander
[email protected]
Nails At Last

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