Pink & White Gel Fill

As a set of Pink & Whites (AKA Permanent French Manicure) grow, the white line (smile line) moves up, exposing the natural quick line, as well as gap of growth at the cuticle. Because gel is as clear as glass, this natural quick line becomes unattractive. A P&W backfill is a technique that allows you to move the white smile-line back to optimal placement as you perform the other necessary functions of a fill.

Pink & White Back-Fill Steps

  1. Regular pre-service and prep steps: wash, sanitize, remove polish, push back cuticles, etc.
  2. Shorten the nails the amount they grew - or whatever length you and your client have agreed upon in advance. Some techs report success using a one-cut tip-slicer to shorten gel nails, others use a drill or by hand - whatever your usual and customary method.
  3. Rebalance the nail. By hand-file or by drill, move back the arches, take down thickness at the FE (free-edge), remove about 1/2 the white there, allowing for more white application, so it doesn't get too thick! (Sometimes this can mean removing almost all of the old white, so a drill is most helpful!) Bevel the new FE.
  4. Blend the cuticle and side-wall areas.
  5. Trench the new smile line with the back-fill or FM (French Manicure) bit of your choice. Trench from where the new smile line should be to where it used to be, maybe a bit more. ORFile the FE by hand or with a regular drill bit; reduce the thickness of the entire FE, more than you would in a regular fill. This is to accommodate the additional white gel application - thus preventing the nails from becoming too thick after multiple fills.Re-examine nails for any other re-adjustments as necessary.
  6. Normal prep and re-product application steps: dusting, pre-primer or de-hydrant or pH balancer, primer.
  7. Apply your white Free Edge (FE). * Use the "tail technique" (see FS or Terms lessons) to "draw" your new smile line, either right onto the nail at the new smile line, or INTO the trench you drilled. Now gently pull the gel out from the smile line over the FE. (See French Manicure polish steps Nail Tech 101 for more about "drawing" the perfect smile line.) For crisper smile lines with gel, set nails up one at a time (10 to 20 seconds to set), alternating hands, then cure the entire hand.
  8. Now, continue with your normal fill. Apply I thin coat of gel to the nail bed, from cuticle up to smile line, but not on the white FE yet, and cure.
  9. Apply second coat of gel as per your usual steps, but this time apply to entire nail, bed and free-edge. Float this coat over the entire nail (including the white FE now) and add arches as necessary for re-balance etc, and cure.
  10. Cleanse tacky dispersion layer with cleanser or alcohol as usual. If nails are PERFECT (hopefully! But this takes time and practice!) then send client to wash and you are done! If not perfect, then continue with your usual finishing work, (see previous lessons for these steps if needed) which should be VERY minimal if you sculpted well to begin with. Blend cuticle area gently; check side-walls and FE. Now contour top ONLY as needed, if at all! (Strive for no contouring to reduce lifting later, sculpt with your brush, not your file.)
  11. Buff out as per your usual procedures, then send her to wash, and finally apply a clear or translucent French manicure topcoat color (in lieu of gloss coat application). OR Buff out nails to remove all shine and dust. Now apply gloss coat (see Gel Terms and Techniques), cure and cleanse. Send the client to wash (yes, even if you're not polishing, removal of chemical residues is critical to help prevent long-term client sensitization!).
  12. Post-Service: take your payment, book her next appointment, and now you're all done.
Time: Super-pro: 40-45, Pro: 45-60, Fast Average: 60-75, Slow Average: 75-90, Novice: 90-120

In the client's mind, it's OK if she spends more time in your chair, as long as that amount of time does not significantly exceed her past total time she spent in the salon for the service and polish drying time combined. You will of course charge more for this service because it does take more of your time, and because it requires more skill to perform well.