Advantages For Clients: Very natural looking. Custom tailored. Leaves the clients’ natural nails intact under the gel, rather than cutting them off to fit a tip. No problems with tip separation or adhesive break-down in the future. Super glossy shine never dulls. Client can choose to apply colored polish when she desires, then remove the polish to find her beautiful French Manicure still intact.
Advantages For Nail Techs: Higher service price! Not many other salons offer this service - it makes you unique. Clients will seek you out - instead of your competition. No plastic tips used saves money on supplies and time on application (sizing, applying, blending). No adhesive used is a plus for adhesive sensitive clients. The Permanent French (P&W’s) saves time not polishing or drying nails – especially great when it’s the last client of the day. No polish means no polish smudges – so no re-polishing the nails of clients who just can’t sit still and dry. Her beautiful nails are a walking advertisement, bringing you many referrals.
Step-By-Step Gel Full-Set Sculpt
It is helpful if you have read (and practiced) some of the other gel nails sections on this site before this one. In particular: Full-Set Gel Over Tips, and Gel Terminology and Techniques. These instructions assume complete knowledge of basic procedures (such as prep, form application, etc) - see Nail Tech 101 for detailed instructions.
- Prep nails as usual. Put on the forms - pay special attention to the C-curve, as you cannot "pinch" a c-curve into gels the way you can with acrylics - you may need to reinforce or alter your forms to get and keep the proper curve (see forms section in Nail Tech 101). Apply nail sanitizer, let dry. Prime nails (either liquid primer and air-dry, or gel primer and cure).
- Apply 1 coat of clear gel to the natural nail. Pull the gel out and over the free-edge of the nail. Cure.
- Apply white gel onto form to sculpt the free-edge, overlapping the natural nail as needed (depends on the length of their natural nails), be sure to make a nice smile line with the white. Details: Use the "drawing a box" method to make the white free edge on the form (described in detail in "Gel Terms and Techniques" section of this website). Basically, pick up a large amount of white gel on brush (so that gel is dripping off the brush, also known as a "tail" of gel); touch the end of this dripping gel (the tail) to one side of the nail, at the smile line. Now, using this tail, draw a box from the side, up and onto the form, up to the length desired, then across the top, down the other side, and finally across the smile line. Fill in the box by using the touch-and-go technique: touch the gel on one side of the outline, and then pull it over to the other side. Keep going back and forth, adding more gel if needed, until the box is filled in. Use a clean brush to swipe out a crisp smile-line. To keep the smile line extra crisp, set each nail in the light for 10-15 seconds until it is firm before moving on to the next one.
- Optional: Add fiber at this time if desired (for strength), bridging it over from the clear onto the white. (See Fiber Wrap lesson for step-by-steps on adding fiber to gels). Place fiber in UV light for at least 30 sec. before continuing.
- Apply 2nd coat of clear gel to entire nail (clear nail bed and white sculpted nail on form), adding arching as appropriate. Cure. This coat of gel is important as it acts as the connecting bridge between the clear bed and white free-edge. (See FS Tips for additional info and details)
- Remove forms. Apply 3rd (final) coat of gel with more arching as needed. Cure.
- Cure nails upside down for 1 complete cycle. This will ensure that the white gel has cured completely.
- Cleanse nails with gel cleanser or 99% alcohol on a lint free wipe. Do not rub residue into skin. Lay down the wipe at cuticle and pull off nail in one firm stroke. Move to a new section of wipe and continue with other nails. Don't forget to wipe the backs of the gel extensions as well!
- Do finish work per usual methods: shape, taper, contour, bevel, buff, etc. *If the nails you sculpted are too wide, then use straight bladed toe nail clippers to clip them to proper width before filing.
- Apply gloss coat for permanent shine (most are clear, some come in various shades of pink and apricot, be sure to test them out first as the colorant can be tricky to match up from nail to nail in some instances). Or, if the client prefers a pink or beige FM look (rather than clear) - and you don't have the proper shade in a gel form, then you can simply apply a sheer topcoat polish instead (just as you would with a "regular" client, buff out the nails, have her wash, then apply the sheer topcoat. Since it is only one thin coat, it will be dry very quickly).
When applying white gel you need to create what is called a “Smile Line”. A smile line is the line where the white and clear (or pink) meet. Smile lines should be curved (NOT STRAIGHT) and should drop below the natural nail line slightly. When choosing the placement for the smile line several details need to be considered.
- Duration of time anticipated between back fills. Dropping the smile farther back on the nail bed will allow more time before the natural quick shows through the clear gel.
- Length of the nail bed. You can place a smile line farther back on the nail bed if the natural nail bed is longer. When a client has a short nail bed you have to be very careful not to drop the smile line back too far. Improper placement on a short nail bed will make the nail look awkward, or unbalanced. With clients that have longer nail beds you have a little more area to maneuver.
- Nail growth. Nails all grow at different speeds, some fast, some slow. If you have serviced the client before and have an idea on her nail growth that should be taken into consideration when deciding the placement of the smile line.
With the popularity of pink and whites many gel companies now make builder gels in white, which allow the technician to sculpt a solid white free edge.
- Pick up a small amount of white builder gel on your gel brush, wiping the other side against the edge of the jar so you have one side with gel and the other side will be clean.
- Holding your brush flat (parallel to the nail), with the flat side of the brush with the gel side down, place the gel on the form by rolling the brush to deposit all the gel onto the form. Pull the gel to the length that the sculpt should be, and fill it in as above (touch-and-go), or by pushing and pulling it into shape. Be sure to apply the gel thin for proper curing. With a clean brush draw in the smile line by gently pushing the gel into position or by swiping it.