Acrylic Nails are very popular because they are strong and if done correctly and with care will last without lifting for weeks. Infills are best done on a 3 weekly cycle.

To do Acrylic nails you need Monomer liquid, Acrylic powder, Acrylic brush plus other items that are common to all sytems like files, primer,buffers etc.

Acrylic sets in about 40 secs so application needs to be fast. Because it sets in clumps that lie up against each other, Acetone can break the Acrylic application down, because it can get in between the gaps of the set clumps of acrylic, that is why you can soak off acrylic.

After the acrylic is appilied you will have to file the nail to a smooth finish.

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The Nail School

Tel: 0121 559 8055 0r 07886 485867
104 Oldbury Road , Rowley Regis West Midlands B65 0PH 1 mile from M5 J2

Acrylic Dipping Systems Course £199


Is the liquid used to pick up the powder on the brush to apply to the nail. It's chemical name is Ethyl Methacrylate. It has a strong smell due to the vapours it gives off during evaporation. Care must be taken avoid overexposure for yourself and your clients.

Monomers can hook together into extremely long chains; each chain containing millions of molecules.  Very long chains of molecules are called polymers.  Polymers can be liquids, but they are generally solids.  Chemical reactions that make polymers are called polymerizations.  Sometimes the term cure or curing is used, but it has the same meaning.  A monomer is a molecule that makes polymers.

It takes an initiator molecule to begin this chemical reaction.  The initiator molecule touches a monomer and excites it with a boost of energy.  Monomers prefer the quiet life; they don't appreciate too much excitement, so they look for ways to get rid of the extra energy.  They do this by attaching themselves to the tail of another monomer, passing the energy along. When this reaction begins, monomer chains sprout up everywhere.  They grow longer and longer, becoming knotted and tangled  until they are a teeming mass of microscopic strings.  

This game of 'tag' continues the chain of monomers becomes longer and longer until the growing polymer chain can't find anymore monomers.  Once the monomer is all gone, the chain reaction stops and the polymer is formed, although the chemical reaction is not finished.  The surface may be hard enough to file, but it will be days before the chains reach their ultimate lengths. 

All polymers shrink when they form, there is no exception in any nail product.  Monomers don't normally touch each other and bounce around the container at high speeds trying to avoid other monomers.  They join only when the conditions are right, and then they embrace very tight. Imagine billions of monomers suddenly coming closer together -- the effect is very noticeable.  In fact, nail enhancement polymers shrink between 3-20% with some shrinking more than others.  Excessive shrinkage (above 12%) causes many problems, such as lifting, tip cracking, and other types of service breakdown.

Exothermic Reaction

When two monomers join, an extremely small amount of heat is released.  This is called an exothermic reaction.  This happens with all types of nail enhancement products; however, some release more heat than others.  One normally cannot feel the heat released from two monomers, but remember -- it takes billions of monomers to make a nail enhancement.  Can you feel the heat from this exotherm?  The answer is definitely yes!  Under certain conditions it can be quite noticeable, especially for monomers used to make wraps and light-cure products.  Unless the heat causes your client to become  uncomfortable, you should not be overly concerned.  However, exotherms that burn the clients' nail beds can cause damage to the tissue and weaken the enhancement.  

  1. The warmer the monomer, the faster it will cure.  If the room temperature is too warm or the table lamp is above 60 watts, the extra heat makes monomers react faster.  Sometimes, your client will feel their nail beds become very warm, even hot!

  2. It takes time to do things right; faster isn't always better.  Faster means more heat in a shorter time and can lead to uncomfortably warm exotherms.  It may also cause enhancements to lose some flexibility and lower toughness.  An exotherm can reach in excess of 170° F!

  3. Unhealthy or damaged nail beds may be the reason for clients complaining of burning sensations, as they are very sensitive to heat.  Even tiny exotherms are easily felt on these overly sensitive tissues.  Generally, the primary reason for unhealthy nail beds is over filing and over priming.  The heat from heavy abrasives and high-speed drills are usually the culprits.  Drill bits use friction to cut away the surface.  Friction creates heat, and a lot of it!  Even light abrasive files and drill bits can cause nail bed damage.  Filing too hard, too often, or for too long makes nail beds sore and sensitive.

  4. Metal forms can act as a catalyst and cause extra exotherms, but rarely will it cause burning.  

  5. Nipping lifted material will literally 'rip up' good tight layers of product along with vital nail plate layers, making them more sensitive to exotherms.


Primers act much like double-sided sticky tape by making the nail plate more compatible with certain liquids. One end of the primer chain is a perfect match to the nail plate.  The other end of the primer chain is a perfect match to the monomer and polymer chain.  

Acid-based primers dissolve molecules of residual oils from the natural nail.  These microscopic traces are not removed during normal scrubbing procedures and may lead to service breakdown. 

Nail primers must be used with caution as some are very corrosive to skin.  Nail primers, like most professional nail products, should never touch the skin.  To do so can cause painful burns and scars.


Nail dehydrators (Prep) are extremely important.  Moisture can interfere with the adhesive bond which leads to delamination or lifting.  To ensure proper adhesion, always scrub the nail plate, dry thoroughly and dehydrate.  Skipping one step will lead to delamination and may also contribute to infections.  Some preparation products contain pathogen fighters that remain on the nail plate to aid in the prevention of nail infections.  The effects of dehydration are apparent for up to 30 minutes before the natural moisture levels are restored by the body.


Certain types of cyanoacrylates are used as tip adhesives and are formulated differently.  They are sensitive to moisture and work best when there is no air.  Most set slowly or turn to a rubbery gel in the presence of air.  When the air supply is cut off, the adhesive quickly sets.  This feature is beneficial for the nail technician, allowing maximum working time and a quick set once the tip is properly placed.  Thinner adhesives set faster, but this is not always good because extremely fast setting adhesives give lower strength.  If you have a client whose tips just don't seem to hold or they separate in a few weeks, try a slower-setting thicker adhesive.

Tip Adhesives

Thin adhesives work best if the tip to nail plate fit is perfect.  If there is a gap between the tip as there generally is with ski-jump nails, nails with missing sidewalls, bitten or broken nails, then the thicker, slower setting adhesives will give the best retention.  Thicker adhesives (gel adhesive) will fill in the gaps and irregularities and allow for a tighter bond.  With gel adhesives, less is more.  These adhesives usually contain dissolved methacrylate powder to give the bond more strength, especially in the gaps.  Some adhesives contain special wetting agents which help improve nail adhesion, strength and clarity.  Since these adhesives are not cross-linked, they are affected by moisture.  Clients who frequently wet their hands should be warned that all cyanoacrylates are moisture sensitive, and should be instructed to wear gloves whenever possible.

Two-part (Liquid and Powder) Acrylic Systems

The 'liquid' is really a complex mixture of monomers.  The 'powder' is a polymer which contains the initiator and other additives.  The polymer acts as a carrier, holding other ingredients -- some of which are coated on the outside of the polymer.  The mineral titanium dioxide is used to create a more natural appearance.  This is the same pigment used in white house paint and children's finger-paint. Dyes are added to give the polymer a pinkish or bluish color.  Pink dyes will also cover-up yellowing and product discoloration.  Blue coloration acts as an optical brightener; whites look whiter when a small amount of blue is added.

A heat-sensitive initiator is added to the polymer; usually benzoyl peroxide .  This is the same initiator that is found in acne creams.  The heat of the room and hand is enough to break a molecule of benzoyl peroxide in half.  Each half is capable of exciting or energizing a molecule.  When a molecule breaks in half, it is called a free radical.  Free radicals also play a role in wrinkling and aging.  Many skin care products contain chemicals which eliminate free radicals -- so, as you can see, some free radicals are beneficial while others are not. Free radicals are very excited molecules that cause many kinds of chemical reactions and can be found almost everywhere.  Once a free radical excites the monomer, it is completely eliminated.  Monomers are mixed with polymers containing benzoyl peroxide.  Heat will break the initiator in half, and each free radical will energize a molecule.  The energized monomer will attach to another monomers tail, passing the energy along until all the monomers are hooked together into a teeming mass of long chains.  Only the monomer can make a new polymer.  The growing chains of monomer wrap around the polymer.  The polymer powder does NOT react; it is only a carrier for the initiator to the monomer.  

So where does the polymer powder come from?  As you might suspect, the polymer powder starts out as monomer.  The monomer is placed in a large mixer which may hold over 1000 gallons.  solvent is added to dilute the monomer, initiator and catalyst are added and the blend is mixed rapidly.  After several hours, the monomer polymerizes into tiny beads, the solvent is drained away, and the beads are dried and packaged.

Mix Ratio

Consistency is determined by the amount of polymer powder used.  The polymer powder gives the enhancement much of its strength.  When the monomer polymerizes, it surrounds each tiny bead which reinforces the entire enhancement.  Nail Technicians sometimes use extra monomer to smooth the surface of the enhancement, or use too wet a consistency during application. Too much monomer lowers consistency and reduces strength which results in excessive breakage.   The highest strength is obtained by using the correct ratio of monomer to polymer.

Too dry a consistency causes breakage and lifting, but too wet a consistency is worse.  If the mixture is too wet, the enhancements may seem strong , flexible, and adhere well to the nail plate, but don't be fooled.  Too wet a consistency is one of the leading causes of allergic reaction in clients and nail technicians.  Wet consistencies may give better adhesion, but they lower strength.  Dry consistencies have equal amounts of monomer and polymer and offer the best strength, but less adhesion.  Medium wet consistencies give the best of both worlds; they are strong, flexible and offer good adhesion. 

A medium-wet consistency is a mixture of 1 1/2 parts monomer to 1 part polymer.  To determine if your consistency is correct, make a bead in your normal fashion.  Carefully lay the bead on top of a clean tip, placing the bead directly on the center or the apex.  Do not pat or press the bead -- it should form a small mound or dome.  Watch the bead for 15 seconds and note what you see.  Does the bead begin to settle or flow out almost immediately?  Does the height of the bead drop halfway or more in 15 seconds?  Does the bead seem to lose most of its original shape?  Can you see a ring of monomer around the base of the bead?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, your bead is probably too wet.  If you answered yes to all of these questions, your ratio is probably greater than 3 parts monomer to 1 part polymer.





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