How long is too long?
Aesthetically, the right length is a matter of personal taste. Scientifically however, the right length is a matter of balance.
Ideally, the free edge (the part of the nail that extends past the fingertip) should never be longer than the nail bed (the part of the nail that is attached to the finger).
When the free edge excedes the length of the nail bed, the nail is off balance, requiring less pressure at the tip to cause lifting or breaking.
Wearing your nail at the proper length will greatly improve product performance and reduce the risk of cracking, lifting, or infection.
Repairing a nail
If you happen to break a nail and can't get in right away for a professional repair, there are a few things you need to know before you try to fix it yourself.
Before you do ANYTHING, wash the area with soap and water. Then apply a good antibacterial product such as Bactine or hydrogen peroxide. Then get out your blow dryer and make sure the area, especially underneath any lifted product is completely dry before applying JUST ENOUGH glue to seal the break or lift until you can get in to see us.
If you happen to break one so bad that it bleeds and hurts like crazy, try to remove the broken free edge and wash with soap and water and apply an antibacterial. Do NOT put a bandaid on it if you can possibly help it! Bandaids just trap in moisture providing a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
We used to get told that cuticle oil would make acrylics and other nail products lift. Now we know that the exact OPPOSITE is true. Using a quality oil at least twice a day will actually PREVENT lifting and cracking.
Oil acts as a lubricant, penetrating the product to keep it flexible so that it can sustain more wear and tear before it begins to break down.
Oil also helps prevent lifting by adding moisture back into your cuticles and natural nails to prevent them from shrinking and pulling away from the product when your skin begins to dry out. This is especially a problem for people who have their hands in water often.
We recommend using a quality cuticle oil at least twice a day to keep your nails looking right-from-the-salon fresh at all times!
Of course we recommend that you purchase one of our professional oil blends from us directly so that we can rest assured that you are using a top quality product. However, it is not necessary to invest in fancy salon formulated cuticle oils. Any botanical oil will work on your skin. We personally prefer olive oil, but any vegetable cooking oil you may have in your kitchen will do the trick! (but it won't smell as good as ours!)
Just stay away from mineral oil, Vaseline, and products containing mineral oil! These are petro-chemicals, synthesized from crude oil. They are not absorbed into the skin to replace lost moisture, but instead, sit on top of the skin and leave you feeling greasy. Petroleum products may even leech more moisture OUT OF your skin, contributing to dryness!
Lotions are good for skin, but even the best lotions will not replace moisture as effectively as a good botanical oil. So keep your oil with you in your purse, or put it next to your tooth brush so you don't forget to use it! It only takes a few seconds a day and will protect the investment you made in your nails like no other homecare product!
Keep your hands out of your mouth!
Saliva contains digestive enzymes that are designed to help break down food before it gets to your tummy. These enzymes do a nifty job on the bond between your natural nail and your enhancement products too. Making the product more likely to let go of your natural nail with very little effort. It doesn't matter if you're not CHEWING on them, just having them in your mouth is bad for them!
So don't come in and tell us that they "just popped off" cuz we know better!
Infections: Bacteria VS Fungus
The most common type of infection associated with nail enhancement products is a green stain on the nail that is often erroneously referred to as "fungus." This is actually a bacterial infection caused by a common little cootie called Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is everywhere, but when a nail product lifts and moisture is trapped underneath, it provides a lush environment where Psuedamonas A. can flourish.
The greenish discoloration on the nail plate is actually caused by a byproduct of the bacteria and although it might fade, the green stain will stay long after the bacteria has been killed. Usually the stain must grow out with the nail before it is gone for good.
Wearing nail enhancement products by no means CAUSES infections, but it can increase the likelihood that you will get one if you don't take good care of your nails. Fortunately, Psuedamonas A. does not have to be a major problem and is usually no reason to remove a nail.
HOWEVER, it is very important that the infection be treated fast and properly! We remove the product enough to expose the natural nail and apply an antibacterial product such as Bactine, hydrogen peroxide, or Thymol to the infected nail and allow it to dry before reapplying product. Usually this is enough to take care of the problem and the nail will grow out with no further problems. Ocassionally the infection will require removal of the product for a few days to allow it to dehydrate completely before new product can be applied.
It is very important that you take care of your nails. This bacteria must be treated properly or it can become a severe infection! In extreme cases the bacteria can consume the nail plate to the extent that the natural nail will appear black and crumbly and may have to be removed permanently. And it is possible for the infection to become blood born, landing you in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics! So make sure that your nail technician is qualified to spot this and treat it properly to avoid developing into a serious health risk!
Fungal infections come in a variety of colors and symptoms and require medical treatment. They are far less common than bacterial infections, but also much harder to get rid of. If we suspect you have a fungal infection we will refer you to a doctor and may refuse service until you provide us with a release form giving us the green light to service you again.
Both bacterial and fungal infections are contagious. This is why we insist on strict disinfection of all our implements. If it can't be properly disinfected, it gets tossed! If you are not currently a client of the Art of Nailz, please make sure that your regular salon professionals are using proper disinfection routines to ensure your health and safety.
Taking off your enhancements
When you are ready to take off your enhancements, please let us do it professionally-- and painlessly! Too often people bite, clip or pick the product off their nails. This will damage the natural nail, making it look ragged and ripped up. And not feel real good either. Our professional product removal procedure is PAINLESS and will avoid damaging the natural nails!