Applying Acrylic Nails?

I have just trained as a nail technician and I am finding things very hard. When I have applied the acrylic it looks great but after buffing I am getting lines in the acrylic and the tip seems a bit lumpy and bumpy.


Please help, I am losing heart.

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July 25, 20060 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hey Dawn, the first thing I would do it get a wider brush than the one you were taught with that seems to make it easier. Then take your time and make sure you've got your acrylic nice and smooth on each nail before moving on to the next. Take a little extra dip back into your liquid with your brush, wipe off the excess and go over the nail one more time to get that extra smoothness. Better to spend more time on the acrylic application than on trying to remove imperfections afterwards!! If you are finding bumps and stuff when you go to buff then you aren't getting it on smooth enough to start with. Of course then go forward with your roughest buffing and on down to smooth until it looks like glass. Don't give up it just takes practice!!!



By Katherine (Guest Post)
September 16, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hello Dawn, I am a nail tech of 8yrs now and your right it is hard. Over the years I have given up and started again numerous times, but after practising on my self over and over to work out the lifting problem I finally got it. Make sure you prep the nail bed as best as you can, etch out any shine on the natural nail. you then apply your tips and blend in. Then apply your primer sparingly. When you are ready to apply your acrylic make sure the ball is not too dry as this will cause lifting, however so will a very wet ball. So the secret is to dip your brush into your powder and count to 3 until all dryness disappears, if it takes too long then your ball is to dry. Apply your last ball at the cuticle in a small size so you can pat it down, then using the point of your brush, go around the cuticle edge to make sure no acrylic is touching the skin. Don't make your acrylic balls too big to start off with so really you should have the perfect nail before you even buff, otherwise you will be filing for ever. GOOD LUCK I hope this helps! Katherine

By Nailtech2. (Guest Post)
September 18, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

The lines you are getting is most likely due to not using the proper grit files. When using tips (I hate using them, I sculpt for the most part), use a 180 grit to reduce the sidewall, and a 240 grit to reduce the length and to blend-in the tip.When applying the acrylic, avoid "patting" the product. Instead, "press" the product with your brush, and move from side to side. Always leave a tiny free margin along the sidewalls and cuticle area of the nail, as touching product to the skin could result in lifting and possible overexposure. Never use the brush to clean up excess product from the sidewall, cuticle area or under the free edge. When applied correctly, there should be no need for any 'clean up' in the first place.


When you are done, refine the shape using a 180 grit file to remove imperfections. After that, move to a higher grit sponge file (buffer) of 220/280 grit. First, use the 220 grit and go over the entire nail. Then use the 280 grit side and repeat. If done properly, by now all lines should be gone from the nail surface. If you are going to be applying polish, then you can stop at this point. If you are going for a high-gloss shine, then continue to buff, but this time move up in grit once again to a buffer/shiner of high grits one each side. There are many different available, but they are run anywhere from 600 or so grit on one side, to 1200-3000 grit on the other side. Some have 3 grits (2 on one side, with the highest grit on the other side for finishing the nail to a high gloss). First use the lowest grit portion, and go over the entire nail. Then, move to the next higher grit (or highest, depending of the file), and repeat. When you are done, you should have some very high gloss nails which are line-free, free of any lumps and bumps, and are consistent in thickness. The proper filing technique should have been taught to you in school. If not, then seek the help of an experienced tech. There is a certain way in which you need to file, and finish nails. It is not a matter of just going over the nail surface in any old direction. Its more of a skill which needs to be perfected over time. Same goes for the acrylic application. It is a skill that takes time to master. Keep practicing, and try to learn from others. It offten helps to sit with an experienced tech who is fully trained, and skilled in her ways. Good luck.

By Sassy Farr (Guest Post)
October 16, 20060 found this helpful

Hi Dawn, I am also a Nail Tech and I get most of my information and very useful hints and help from a nail tech web ring. I suggest that you use it as it's just FANTASTIC. Any question that you have will be I hope it helps. Your marks in your acrylic nails would probably be fixed by using different grit files.


It does take practice and it is extremely hard to do it on yourself if that is what you are doing. I have an electiric file (e-file) and I am still practicing with it, but I find it cuts down on time and if you use the right drill bits, you get a smoother finish. But the key is practice, practice, practice. Good luck.

By kelly. (Guest Post)
December 16, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, I'm having problems with acrylic nails lifting at the cuticle. What am I doing wrong?

By Renee (Guest Post)
May 6, 20070 found this helpful

Hello I am a licensed Esthetician and I had stopped doing nails due to having babies, I just started doing them again but i have noticed that they look like they have bubbles throughout them. Why is this happening? HELP! Thank you

By Helen Mahoney (Guest Post)
August 2, 20070 found this helpful

Hi there. There is no such thing as acrylic or gels harming the natural nail. It is what the NAIL TECH does prior to the service that harms the nail. All sorts of bad things can happen with a bad technician.


If you get a fungus, it's because the tech was not hygenic enough! If you get a fungus DO NOT GO BACK TO THE TECH THAT PUT THEM ON! Find a professional! PLEASE!

By deb (Guest Post)
August 28, 20070 found this helpful

I was told when applying acrylic not to over pat, because too much patting will cause lifting. Is this true?

By Christine (Guest Post)
August 28, 20070 found this helpful

I have studied acrylic nails. I apply them step by step as I have learned but I cannot understand why they start getting unglued from the nail from the next day. Can anyone give me a suggestion please?

By Nailtech2. (Guest Post)
September 18, 20070 found this helpful

Dotty: Acrylic nails are not unhealthy. However, if the wrong type of acrylic product is used (MMA), then yes, they can be harmful. Although a lot of places like Sally's carry DIY acrylic kits, I highly advise against anyone using them for two reasons 1) Anyone applying acrylic enhancements should be thoroughly trained - this means going to school for it and completing the requirements, and getting licensed. 2) These kits are cheap junk in terms of acrylic. In order to be able to have any access to professional products, you first need to be a licensed nail tech. The companies which make the best products do NOT sell to the general public.


Fungus: Is caused by improper prep, or improper application. Acrylic does NOT cause fungus.

Gloria: Superglue does not cause fungus. I just stated the reasons fungus starts in the first place - improper prep and application are the two biggest causes. If you don't apply the acrylic correctly, then it is easy to get 'pocket lifting', a separation of the natural nail from the acrylic nail. This in turn traps moisture, and water, between the nails and creates a breeding ground for fungus. It is NOT the super glue.
Nail glue: It generally contains Ethyl Cyanoacrylate as the active ingredient. And guess what glues like Krazy glue, Super glue and others like that contain? Either Ethyl Cyanoacrylate, or just Cyanoacrylate itself. I find the 'Ethyl' containing versions to be stronger. But its the same thing. Just labeled differently. Of course, there are better glues than others. This is one of the reasons that people should NOT be doing this stuff at home! Lack of knowledge and proper training can cause many problems. Either leave it to the pros, or go to school and learn how to do it the right way. It is not as easy as you may think.

By linda (Guest Post)
November 11, 20070 found this helpful

Could any one tell me how to apply nail blender and what it is for? this is in my kit and have obviously never used it.

By Shelley (Guest Post)
November 27, 20070 found this helpful

How do you clean the brush when you are done? With the Acrylic Liquid? or should I buy a special brush cleaner?

By Newbee (Guest Post)
November 27, 20070 found this helpful

Hey, I have a question I have been out of nail school for about a year now and Ive been doing natural nail care. I want to start to get into acrylics, but I don't remember much from school how to apply them. Is there a tape with what products to buy so I can practice at home? Or just a video with training? Or any workshops? Thanks for any help you can provide. Newbee

By Pat (Guest Post)
April 19, 20080 found this helpful

I have started doing my own nails and they look pretty good except the cuticle area. When it grows out a little it is sharp feeling around the edges and not smooth. What am I doing wrong? I am not interested in doing this for a living as I am retired and just like to learn things as a pastime and I rather not go to a salon if I can do them myself. AT

By jasmina (Guest Post)
June 30, 20080 found this helpful

Hi I bought some nails at our local pharmacy and I ran out of glue, can I just use super glue instead? How will i be able to get the nails off?

Editor's Note: Do not use superglue on any part of your body. Acrylic nails are difficult to remove using the correct type of glue. I would consult a nail technician or beauty supply store.

By anisha (Guest Post)
September 10, 20080 found this helpful

I want to get acrylic nails with an airbrushed white tip can you please tell me the steps that the nail salon will do it in and how will my nails look after they remove the acrylics of my natural nails.

By Pat (Guest Post)
October 8, 20080 found this helpful

I am a retired beautician but still keep up my license. I want to apply my own acrylic to my nails but I never get a nice line around the cuticle and wonder if I get it on too thin--do I need to apply it thicker so it doesn't feel "sharp" and look like an "edge" instead of a rounded look?? Am I holding my grinder in the wrong position? I would appreciate any help as this is my new hobby to do myself. Pat


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