Salon owner, educator, former Scratch columnist and award-winning nail stylist, Katie Barnes, assesses the demand for traditional lacquer – and how to make the most of a nail polish service…
With the popularity of gel polish, traditional polish may be viewed as outdated by many techs, so is there still a call for it? Client preference, allergies, job requirements and policies mean that the service is never likely to become redundant, even if the demand is less than once was.
It can become too easy to forget proper techniques and aftercare protocol in a service we may not be performing so regularly, which is why correct education in polish techniques is even more important now than ever.
Due to the nature of nail polish, I always educate my clients that nail polish can last between two days and two weeks depending on their lifestyle and home care routine. This is true, but there are a number of other reasons why nail polish application may also not last as long as expected. These are mainly to do with inadequate nail preparation, the consistency of the nail polish used and the time and care spent on application. If the nail polish has become chipped or starts to peel, it should be removed and not painted over.
- flaking nail plate
- nail polish too thin
- no base coat applied or incorrect one used
- nail surface unclean
- nail polish not allowed to dry correctly
- client not following aftercare advice correctly
Reasons why nail polish may peel:
- nail polish applied too thick
- incorrect use of top coat
- no top coat used
- applying another coat before previous one is dry
- nail surface unclean
- not following aftercare advice correctly
It is paramount to invest in a good quality base and top coat to prolong polished nails. The base coat protects the natural nail from staining and acts as an anchor to the nail plate. Think of it like a primer for your foundation. The top coat seals everything in and protects the polish from wear and tear while also providing a super shiny finish.
Not many people realise that once polished, nails will be touch dry in 10 minutes but ALL nail polish takes 72 hours to be completely dry, so clients must be careful in this time. Yes, some brands state ‘dry in 60 seconds’ but this is touch dry, not fully dry. Have you ever had a hot bath the day after painting your toes and noticed smudges of the colour on the bathtub or peeling of your varnish? This is because although it seems dry, it is not fully dry underneath.
Plunging wet nails into ice water or using a hairdryer will not make them dry faster. Polish dries when the solvents within the formula evaporate – putting them in water or heating will actually halt this drying process.
My top aftercare tips to prolong nail polish services are:
- the nails are jewels not tools
- do not pick or chew nails
- wear gloves when gardening, doing housework or washing up
- avoid over washing hands and alcohol gels
- moisturise hands and use cuticle oil at least once a day
- wear gloves in cold weather to protect your hands and nails
If the nail plates are dry and clients are over washing their hands, this will be one of the worst things for the longevity of polished nails. If the natural nail underneath is dry and brittle, the varnish will just chip off. If nails are kept hydrated, the polish will bend with the nail rather than chip and break off so regular use of cuticle oil is paramount for longevity.
So, long lasting nail polish services requires time, patience and care but it will be worth it when your clients polished nails go the distance.
Love Katie B x