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19 May 2021
Posted by in Nails

Ultimate nail fails your clients make at home and how to fix them at the salon

nail art fails

Whether it’s wrinkling gel polish, cracked acrylics or nail art fails, here are the salon solutions you can give your clients!

With your nail bar reopening, it’s likely you’ll have hundreds of clients who tried to recreate Insta-ready manicures during lockdown. For some, the results are successful. For others, they may have been hit hard by expectation vs. reality.

As a nail technician, this where your expertise comes in. Follow our guide on the types of nail fails your clients can face and how you can fix them in your salon or freelance business.


Sturdy and long-lasting acrylic nailsare great for clients that want a more elaborate manicure. However, problems can arise if they haven’t applied them correctly at home. Some of the most common issues can include:

  • Cracking or lifting
  • Incorrect acrylic powder to liquid monomer ratio
  • Too much product on the nail

To fix acrylic nail fails we need to start by cutting and filing them down to avoid further lifting or damage to the nail bed. Then remove your client’s acrylic polish, with acetone or an electric file, and push the cuticle down. Finally, using a form, apply a bead of acrylic polish and mould it to the shape and size of your client’s nail. Leave it to dry, file to shape and finish with a final top coat.

When applying your client’s acrylic polish, remember to clean your brushbefore each nail to avoid affecting the powder to monomer ratio. Keep the polish thin on the cuticle and thicker on the rest of the nail to stop it reaching the matrix (the area where the nail grows). The reason for this is to avoid any further damage or even a potential infection.

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Gel Nails

Gel polishis great for clients that want a long-lasting and shiny manicure, but some of the common DIY issues that you’re going to be faced with are:

  • Wrinkling and peeling
  • Chipping and dullness

There are a variety of causes behind these problems, from your client using incompatible nail products to not curing their gel polish for long enough, and this is where your expertise comes in.

The best way you can fix your client’s gel manicure is by simply removing and reapplying. Start by soaking the gel polish off with acetone and then buffthe nail to avoid residual oils affecting the manicure. If your client’s nails are brittle or ridged underneath then you’ll need to apply a nail strengthener before their base coat. After this you can give them any gel finish that they desire.

If the damage really is minimal then you can save time by filing the uncured gel polish and reapplying a new layer on top of their cured base coat, but it’s always best to start again.

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Nail Art

Nail artwas really popular over the past twelve months, especially because of Instagram, but it comes with a whole set of problems if your client hasn’t used the right tools or products. In some cases it can just involve you polishing their design with a small nail brush. For others it might mean removing everything with acetone and starting again.

Whether it’s fixing simple stripes or taming an elaborate galaxy look, you can rescue your client’s nail art with:

  • Nail brush
  • Nail dotter
  • Nail tape
  • Mixing tool

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Your chance to shine

Your client’s DIY manicure problems are likely due to improper preparation or aftercare. So use their appointment as a chance to offer advice and demonstrate why a consistent care routine is vital to maintain their manicure. Your client’s specific needs will vary, but there are some essential nail careproducts to recommend.

Nail Strengthener

Nail strengthenersare essential if your client has ridged, thin or brittle nails because they feature wheat protein and calcium. These are key to keeping nails strong and healthy. If you’re looking for the right strengthener for your clients, we recommend the OPINail Envy range.

Base and Top Coat

Base and top coatsare critical in the effectiveness of your client’s manicure. Base coats protect the nail from the effects of the polish whilst a top coat seals it in place. Available in a variety of finishes, using these together can avoid the common manicure problems of chipping, peeling and splitting.

Cuticle Oil

Cuticle oilis another amazing way of keeping your client’s natural nails healthy and strong. Stimulating regrowth and adding protection against possible infection, make sure you recommend that your clients use cuticle oil daily to maintain their look.

Hand Cream

Hand creamis the perfect finish to your client’s manicure, and it’s also fantastic for nails! It doesn’t just moisturise the hands, it’s also ideal for fixing cracked cuticles and can even improve circulation around the nail bed.

For more information on all the essentials for fixing your client’s DIY manicure fails, read our blog 10 Essentials For Removing Gel and Acrylic Nails.

Shop your essential nail care products

You’ll find everything you need to fix your client’s DIY nail fails at Salon Services, and remember to visit our advice pagefor more tips and inspiration.
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