Tip Tuesday: Is your gel cracking or breaking?

For this week’s Tip Tuesday, we explore the main reasons and cover some FAQs.

The thinner the nail, the more flexible it will be. The natural nail is the base that supports your nail product, if bends beyond the flexibility of the gel on top, it starts to create stress fractures. They start off small, but with repetitive bending (or bumping), these can lead to visible cracks or even breakages. Once the nail breaks below the gel, the gel is likely to snap too.

Improper removal or over-filing are normally the key reason the nail plate becomes thin. If removal takes place outside of the salon, ensure your clients are taught how to remove their nails safely.  Safe soak off should not be rushed.

Any force needed to remove the gel will cause delamination and therefore thin the natural nail. If clients experience lifting, advise them not to pull off the remaining gel, but to safely soak off or book in for a removal.

Infills reduce the risk of damage to the natural nail. Infills should only be carried out if the gel is 100% intact with no lifting or cracking.

If you’re using a hard top topcoat over a more flexible colour gel system, this can also lead to cracking.

Your client may simply have more flexible nails and require a softer gel than the one you currently use.

Over-filing or thinning of the natural nail is one of the leading causes of nail issues and service breakdowns. We never advocate for ‘roughing’ the surface of the natural nail or using e-files on the natural nail – even with proper training; there is always risk of damage to the natural nail. A gentle buff with a 240 grit to remove the shine is all that is needed with our gels for adhesion.


What to do if your client has very thin, weak nails?

If damage has been caused from unsafe removal or prior over-filing, we would advise to reduce the length of the nail and start a nail ‘rehab’ program. This will allow them to grow out any damage. Keeping nails short and without a free edge will reduce the risk of the nails getting bumped or flexed adding stress to the nail plate. If your client prefers to have longer nails, we recommend using full cover tips to add length, keeping the natural nail short.

Do not use any gels that require ‘roughing’ the surface of the nail. Ideally, you want to use a gel that doesn’t require this as it will add further damage.  If you feel major damage has occurred, we advise to NOT proceed with gel application.

If my client’s nails are really damaged and thin, why shouldn’t I apply fresh gel?

Excessively thin nail plates can allow products to soak through the nail plate and into the nail bed. This increases the risk of allergic reactions and chemical burns, especially if you are applying build layers of gel.

It is always safer to allow the nail to regrow stronger before returning for gel application.

My client is experiencing heat spikes when curing but this hasn’t happened to them before.

Feeling a burn in the lamp is another indicator that the natural nail has become too thin. It can also mean your gel has been applied too thick. But, if you use a system that doesn’t normally cause heat spikes or pain when curing, thin nails are probably the reason.

I’ve safely, and carefully, soaked off my client’s gels, but their nails feel more flexible.

If you know you’ve removed the gel carefully and didn’t rough up the surface before the initial gel application, don’t be alarmed if their natural nail feels more flexible. While wearing gels, or nail coatings, the water content of the natural nail can increase, this in turn, temporarily increases the flexibility of the nail. If nails remain bare, the water content evaporates and nails will return to their normal state. Source