Q1. How can I prevent lifting with my gel.
There are a few things you can do to prevent lifting; firstly as with acrylic preparation is the key, make sure that the natural nails are completely dehydrated, all the non living tissue is removed and you have a rough surface to apply your gel to. If you are using a tip, you need to take off the shiny surface otherwise the gel will not be able to cling to the tip and this will leave you with little shiny mirror pockets. This applies to white tips, clear or natural ones. Another way to prevent lifting when you apply gel for the first time is to apply a very very thin layer over the whole surface of your nail; ‘rub’ or ‘brush’ this into the surface of your nail. When I say thin I am talking thinner than polish. You will need to freeze cure this for a few seconds so the first layer will shrink onto the nail and leave you with a tight hold. Continue to apply your gel as normal. Finally if your still getting lifting check that you have the correct strength UV bulbs, remember the bulbs have a shelf life and if they are old they won’t be as effective.
Be gentle with gel; you have to guide it, not shove it with your brush. You should be able to apply gel using just a tooth pick and ‘show your gel the way’. Your gel (assuming it is good quality, self levelling building gel) is intelligent enough to do most of your job for you, so let it! The more you play with your gel the thinner the viscosity….in other words it will get runnier and less controllable. After applying your final gel layer place the finger into the lamp up side down for the first few seconds. Gel will ‘relax’ when it goes under the light and by drawing it down it won’t settle on either side of the nails making them look heavy and fat.
When doing pink and whites or creating detail with colour, it is easier if you have a second clean gel brush. Wipe along the applied gel to give you a clean sharp line. It sometimes helps to dip this brush in some cleaner. Apply the brakes! If you don’t want your gel to go in a certain place on the nail, for example; the free edge if creating a reverse smile line, then don’t apply that first thin layer in this area. The rough surface, will act like a natural stop sign for the gel.
Pinch about a minute after you place it under the lamp, remember if you’re doing a design and placing it under the lamp a number of times to freeze cure, you will find it harder to pinch. I would do the base of your design and then pinch after a minutes cure; you only need to pinch for another min and it will keep its shape. I use transparent pinching clamps, now available from www.sambiddle.co.uk