iGel Academy

How to Prep your Nails Like a Pro

Preparation is often neglected. However, it is vital for long lasting, non-lifting, chip-free nails! Surely, art is the most creative and fun part of the nail journey: polishes, acrylics, gel (the whole spectrum!), but preparation is the pedestal and canvas of your artwork. The foundation is just as important as the art, as it keeps it perfectly balanced.

Tools. Prepare to prepare!

• Buffer
• Dust Brush (May come in blue, purple, red)
• pH Bonder
• Ultra Bond Primer
• Cuticle Pusher (Optional)

• Nail Polish Remover
• Cotton Swabs
• Nail Clippers
• Hand Cream/Moisturizer (Optional)

• Base Coat (Optional)

Get gorgeous salon-quality nails by prepping. Preparation is Key!

Prep Your Nails (Like A Pro) In 8 Easy Steps

Firstly, keep your workspace clean and tidy. Be sure to cover the desk, table, or any surface you’re using. Don't underestimate the strength of acetone! It could ruin your paints and varnishes. Cover that table with a scrap paper or a towel unless it's made of glass.

Read-y, Set, Go! 8 easy steps to prep your nails like a pro:

1. Take it off! Remove Old Nail Polish.

Get rid of the debris! Grab that cotton swab, and soak it in nail polish remover. We need a clean canvas.

Placing new polish over old one is like sweeping dust under a rug. It causes bumps and accumulates on your nail floor.

Recommendation: An acetone-based nail polish remover (Less product, higher efficiency). However, if you are more comfortable with an acetone-free solvent, that is fine as well. To take it all off, make sure to soak your nails for 10 to 15 minutes if your nails are acrylic, gel, or dip nail. 

2. Snip-snip! Trim And Shape Your Nails.

Trim. Grab a nail clipper and clip your nails (if needed). Best to clip your nails to a short length, but not too short (the white tip should be visible). Afterward, take a nail file that is not excessively coarse and smooth out the edges.

Shape. Beauty comes in all shapes and forms! There are several nail shapes to choose from. Read about them in 8 Popular Nail Shapes & How to Achieve Them.


3. Buff Love. Buff The Surface Of Your Nails.

 Take slightly abrasive buffer and gently buff the surface of your nails. Buffing allows the polish, or the acrylic to adhere properly. But keep in mind not to buff too much. Buff with love! Excessive buffing and filing not only weaken your nails but also prevent the polish from adhering properly.

 Don't know what drill to use? Try reading our article Drill Bits 101.



4. Soaking Sanctuary. Soak Your Nails.

The next step is soaking. Take a bowl and pour warm water into it. Enjoy to water for a few minutes. If you're feeling a little fancy (or if there is any dirt on your nails in particular), you could wash your nails with your favorite soap before soaking them. Alternatively, you could add a few drops of scented soap into the bowl. The choice is yours! Soften your cuticles and remove all the dirt and residue. Listen to some music and wash away your worries while you're at it! ♡

5. Cute Cuticles. Trim or Push Back Your Cuticles.

Cuticle pushing or cutting make you squeamish? No worries! Pushing them back instead of cutting or filing them off will ensure that nothing nasty can get in your body! Remember, the skin is the largest organ that protects us from infection. We need it! So if you are more comfortable with leaving them as is, you may do so as well.

However, by pushing back your cuticles you would have longer wear during nail growth.

Option 1: Trim. Take a cuticle trimmer to remove your cuticles. Just cut off the free edge of your cuticles. Don’t try to cut your cuticles if you don’t have any prior experience. You might accidentally hurt yourself and get an infection.

Option 2: Push Back. Beginners should gently push back their cuticles using a cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick. Be sure not to push the cuticle too far as it can damage your nails. You can also remove any hangnails you have. Still, you have to be careful not to hurt yourself by cutting too deep.

Option 3: Leave them be. 

6. Soft Massage. Moisturize Your Nails.

Go on, you deserve it! Treat yourself. After removing or pushing back the cuticle, gently moisturize your nails. Apply fragrance-free cuticle oil and/or apply hand cream or lotion to your nails and the skin around your nails. Moisturizing is important to soften the cuticles and replenish your skin.

Wait for at least half an hour to allow the moisturizer and oil to dry completely.

7. Clean and Dry. Make sure it sticks.

 After the mini-spa session, make sure that your nail is dry. Even if the moisturizer has evaporated, it could prevent the polish (or acrylic) from adhering properly. So, take a nail polish remover and lightly apply it over the entire surface of nails. It will help remove any oil or residue that might be present on your nails’ surface.





8. Prime Time: Apply Primer or Basecoat. 

Although oil makes your nails shiny, it definitely does not help with the adhesion. Remember, oils make smooth surfaces slippery! (After all the buffing, your nails are smooth) To top off a great preparation, apply an acid-free nail primer or a clear basecoat. Primer ensures proper adhesion by removing the remaining dirt, oil, and residue from your nails.

If you’re just painting your nails with a polish, a clear basecoat will do. The basecoat will act as a primer for the nail polish so that it will last longer.

You are now ready to place your nail masterpiece over this clean canvas, but if you love it so much, you could add a simple Top Coat as well. 

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