Your reputation as a master of the manicure and a prodigy of the pedicure proceeds you…
But if your arsenal doesn’t include a handful of ways to fix the tear, the break, and the all-out nail disaster then you’re missing an opportunity to cushion your bottom line and a sure fire way to satisfy your clients, regardless of their nail emergency.
An initial program that prepares you for state licensure as a nail technician includes comprehensive training in nail repair. However, as with anything else, practice certainly does make perfect.
Different Types of Nail Repairs for Different Types of Nails
Your arsenal should include a number of fixes for broken, split, and damaged nails. Established nail technicians have many tricks of the trade for seamless fixes that will turn a broken nail back into a beautiful one.
You will find that some of these repair jobs will speak to you and some will not give you the pristine results you demand. In other words, assembling your collection of repair tricks will definitely involve some trial and error.
Here are just a few types of nail repairs that today’s nail technicians frequently use:
Gel Nail Repair
Gel nails are often the most straightforward when it comes to making repairs. To repair a tear on the edge of the nail, file the top layer of the last gel fill, near the break, making sure to avoid the natural nail. Prime the nail, apply a small amount of clear gel along the break, cure the nail, and then apply a top coat of gel polish.
Natural Nail Repair
Insert a small amount of cotton into the nail crack and apply nail glue over the cotton. Spray glue dryer to set and then buff the nail until smooth.
Acrylic Nail Repair
Acrylic nails can be fixed! Repairs are not only easier to do than soaking off the nail and starting over, they can save the client’s natural nail, as well. If the crack is low and the natural nail is also cracked, you can generally peel off the acrylic, clean the crack with disinfectant, and cover it with a thin layer of acrylic.
If the acrylic is cracked and not the natural nail, take off the acrylic near the crack, and file down the rest of the nail. Prep the exposed nail, fill in the area, cut the nail to the break, put a form underneath it, and extend it again.
If the crack is below the free edge of the nail and involves the natural nail (or extends more than halfway across the nail), remove the product and apply a new nail. Anytime the natural nail is bleeding or showing signs of infection, wait until the nail grows out to apply fresh product.
Steps for Repairing Nails
Many times, nail repair involves the use of fiberglass or silk patches/wraps. The general rule of thumb for repairing a break with a wrap involves the following steps:
Step 1: Assess the damage: If the damage is a short distance from the free edge, it may make more sense to file down the other nails so they are the same length. If there are any signs of nail infection or finger irritation, do not repair the nail and recommend medical treatment.
Step 2. Buff the nail using a nail file: The goal of buffing the nail with a nail file is to “roughen up” the nail so the fiberglass or silk patch will better adhere.
Step 3: Spray the nail with rubbing alcohol: Rubbing alcohol will remove the nail dust caused by filing it.
Step 4: Cut and apply a piece of fiberglass/silk cloth: Apply a small piece over the cracked portion of the nail, taking care not to touch the skin. Many wraps/patches are adhesive to ensure a precise repair.
Step 5. Apply Nail Glue: Soak the piece of fiberglass with the nail glue and dry it quickly using a glue dryer product.
Step 6: Smooth the nail with a block buffer: Once the nail is dry, use a block buffer to smooth the repaired area. Be careful not to over-buff and wear away the fiberglass patch.
Step 6. Apply polish or a top coat as usual.
Nail Repair and Fill Products and Tools for Nail Technicians
There are a few items that every nail technician needs in order to perform a quick and painless nail repair:
Nail glue/brush-on resin: Nail glue is like a super thick super glue that dries pretty quickly once applied.
Adhesive fiberglass/silk wraps: You will soon find you prefer fiberglass over silk or vice versa when working with wraps.
Glue dry: Although nail glue tends to dry quickly, glue dry (usually sold in a spray bottle) really speeds up the process. Instead of waiting 5 to 10 minutes for nail glue to dry, glue dry takes care of the job in about 5 seconds flat.
Files: You probably already have a slew on hand, but files of different grits (180, 240, 400) will allow you to file down cracks and splits in no time.
Nail block buffer: A good nail buffer will allow you to buff the applied wrap until it is smooth and ready for a coat of polish.
Some of the big names in nail repair supplies include:
- Starlight Nail and Beauty Supply Inc.
- Princess Nail Supply
- Sally Beauty Supply
- Premier Nail Source
- Born Pretty