Nail Tech, or Nail wreck?


You want to get get your nails done and have no idea what to get or what to ask for. As a Licensed Nail tech for 7 years, here are some options and what to look out for. Nail health is important and while we may want to run in and out to get our nails done as cheaply and quickly as possible, our nail health is very important and can cause other health related issues. Let’s keep our nails pretty and healthy, shall we?

Acrylic Nails-


Acrylic nails are the use of a powder and liquid called monomer. The two when combined cause a chemical reaction that hardens within seconds. Acrylics can be put over tips or sculpted over a form to your natural nail. Sculpted nails provide a stronger nail, less likely to break at the tip, but in the event of lifting at the cuticle it is important to soak the acrylic off with acetone as to not damage your natural nail. With tips, lifting can occur because of the natural curve of our nails and the glue wears away, again it is important to always remove the nail if lifting occurs to prevent water getting between the acrylic and your nail and leading to the potential of the growth of fungus.

Gel Nails-


Gel nails are just as strong as acrylic but are applied quite differently. (In my opinion they’re a pain to do but they are pretty) A gel, applied in multiple thin layers must be cured under a UV or LED lamp for a minimum of 2 minutes. They too can be sculpted over a form or applied over a tip. While it is less likely to get lifting at the cuticle, gel over tips can lift for the same reasons as Acrylic over tips. Gels also should be removed by soaking in acetone.

Gel or Shellac Manicures-


CND Shellac Top Coat

These are commonly used in place of polish because they last longer (typically two weeks ) without chipping when applied correctly. They are cured under a UV or LED lamp the same as gel, however they are only used to replace regular polish, not as nail enhancements. These also can be soaked off with acetone.


A major concern in the nail industry that many are not aware of is the use of a Monomer called Methyl methacrylate.  (MMA)  Here is information about this toxic monomer used widely and illegally in 30 states.


Read more about Methyl Methacylate Liquid Monomers here.

The fact that the FDA states it is a myth concerning birth defects in unborn children is still up for debate, and I personally would not take the chance. I have personally seen videos of the damage this monomer can cause. It scary and should be avoided.
A quick and simple way to determine whether MMA is being used is if your Nail Technician is wearing a mask. Another way is if your acrylic nails only cost $20-$25 for a full brand new set this is another indication because MMA comes in gallons and is very cheap. You get what you pay for.
Research your nail salons. It’s unfortunate that they will not show you a bottle of monomer that states it’s MMA because again, it’s illegal. They will put it in a reputable quality monomer bottle to avoid the state from shutting them down. There is no testing kit for the state to use to prove the chemicals being used.
Safety and care of your nails-
Even in reputable nail salons for quickness, many nail techs will use a drill to file your nails. Drilling over your nail bed and around the cuticle can cause “Rings of Fire” and damage the nail bed. ALL MANICURISTS ARE TRAINED TO HAND FILE. The only time it is okay to use the drill on your nails is to shorten them, clean under the free edge and to create a well for a back fill. Do not be afraid to tell your Nail tech you want to be hand filed. It takes a little longer, but the health of your nail is worth that extra time.

NAILS SHOULD NEVER BE FILED OFF with a drill, (Electric file) or ripped off, these are just a couple of the major causes of nail damage, thinning and weakening of the natural nail.

MMA Monomer Acrylics Pried off.

As a nail tech, I would not put another set of nails on this person until they are fully grown out and healthy again, which can take months.

Photo Editor_EcH3rd
Tammy Taylor Soaked off acrylics. (These are my nails)
While my nails may not be pretty to look at, they are hard and there is no nail bed damage or thinning of the nail. I wear acrylics always because I’m a nail biter. ( I know, bad habit)
All Metal utensils should be washed with soap and water and then disinfected in a Marvey jar or similar container with Hospital grade disinfectant after each use for at least 10 minutes before the next use. Once disinfected they can be stored in a baggy.
Porous items such as files, buffers, porous drill bits and wooden sticks should be discarded after each use. EVEN IF IT SAYS WASHABLE! (Like the file above)
If you are concerned about sanitation of your items, feel free to bring your own and sanitize and disinfect them yourself and take them with you when you go.
Nail health is important, please do your research to find what is best for you and the best salon in your area that uses only quality products such as the few I listed above.
~Spread Your Wings

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