iGel Academy

Nail Prep Starter Guide: What You Need to Know

Nail Prep Starter Guide


Prepping your nails is essential whether you're wearing a DIY press-ons, gel polish, or acrylic. Preparation is the key to setting a solid foundation for your nail art. Prepping your nails may take time, but the results can be worth it; think of nail prep similar to baking your favorite cake recipe.

Of course, there may be a lot of ingredients and processes to do before you can pop the tray into the oven. Still, the result will always come out mouthwatering and aesthetically pleasing every time you do the important step of preparing.


Why is nail prep important?

Anything that is rushed is not bound to last; preparation is important for any nail service. If you want to avoid nail problems such as infections, lifting or marbling prepping your nails is a must. 

You want to make sure that the nails have strong adhesion and are long-lasting, which keeps your customers coming back.


Things you will need for nail prep:


• Buffer 
• Dust Brush
• PH Bonder
• Ultra Bond Primer
• Base Coat
• Nail Polish Remover
• Cotton Swabs
• Nail Clippers
• Cuticle Pusher (Optional)
• Hand Cream/Moisturizer (Optional)


Steps in prepping your nails effectively:

STEP 1:  Remove the old nail polish / art


To begin, take off your most recent nail art design. Clean slates are what you're going for, so get yourself some cotton swabs and get to work by soaking it in nail polish remover! It helps avoid lumps on your nail floor and ruining the basis of your next nail art; make sure you remove all previous polish before you start. If you have acrylic, gel, or dip nails, soak them for 10 to 15 minutes to remove the polish.


STEP 2: Trim and shape your nails


Grab a nail clipper and clip your nails (if needed). Best to cut 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. You can also use a sharp nipper to remove any lifted or dead tissue on your nails.

Shape- There are several nail shapes you can choose from when nail prepping. Read our blog on the 8 Popular Nail Shapes & How to Achieve Them.

Keep in mind that the order of prepping your nails may differ according to the preference and knowledge of the nail tech. For example, some would immediately start the nail prep process by pushing back their cuticles, while others would soak their hands in cuticle remover. Thus, nail prep can differ, but the goal remains the same: setting the stage for your new nail art.


STEP 3: Buff the surface of your nails


Buff the surface of your nails with a mildly abrasive buffer for best results. Buffing aids in the adhesion of the polish or acrylic. However, it's important to remember not to file your nails too much. Excessive buffing and filing weakens your nails and makes it difficult for the lacquer to adhere correctly. If you're unsure about which drill to use, you can read our guide about Drill bit.


STEP 4: Soak your nails 


Soaking is the next step. You can soften your cuticles and eliminate all the grime and residue by adding a few drops of fragrant soap to a bowl filled with warm water.


STEP 5. Trim or push back your cuticles


Keep in mind pushing back the cuticle means pushing back the layer of skin to reveal the cuticle to remove the dry and dead skin. Russian manicure also has cuticle removing techniques, but in the U.S., there are restrictions on which areas can be nipped off during a manicure, and it depends on the client's preference. 

You can use a drill bit to safely remove the cuticle without causing any damage to the nail plates or living skin. Also, pushing back your cuticles will help make your nail art design last longer.

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.


STEP 6: Moisturize Your Nails


Apply fragrance-free cuticle oil or apply hand cream or lotion to your nails and the skin surrounding your nails. Softening your cuticles and replenishing your skin are both aided by moisturizing. Wait for at least half an hour to let the moisturizer and oil dry thoroughly. You may learn more about the significance of nail care in our blog post.


STEP 7: Make sure your nails are clean and dry


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 the nails. It will help remove any oil or residue that might be present on your nails' surface.


STEP 8: Apply Primer or Base Coat


Apply a clear base coat or an acid-free nail primer to seal in all of your hard work. Primer removes any dirt, grease, or residue from your nails so that your nail polish can adhere properly.

A clear base coat is sufficient if you're only going to paint your nails with polish. If desired, use a basic Top Coat on top of your finished design.

One must know how to prep nails effectively since it's a non-negotiable, whether you're doing it DIY or professionally. It's the key to having beautiful and long-lasting nails. If you want to learn more about nails, join our
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