Perfecting your prep

Prep, Prep, Prep. As a nail technician, you often hear that perfecting your preparation is crucial for achieving long-lasting, picture-perfect manicures. That’s why in today’s knowledge hub, we’re going to break down why it’s so important and how you can perfect your prep the HONA way.

Why is prepping the nail important? 

Avoiding Infections: Thoroughly cleaning and sanitising the nails and surrounding skin before applying gel polish/builder gel helps to prevent bacterial and fungal infections. 
Smooth Application: Prepping the nail ensures that all non-living tissue tissue is removed and even. This is essential for the smooth application, helping to avoid bumps or uneven thickness that could affect the manicure's appearance and durability
Prevention of Lifting: Lifting can be a common issue with manicures, especially if the nails are not prepped correctly. By cleaning and dehydrating the nail plate, you remove any natural oils or residue that could prevent the gel from adhering properly.
Longevity: Well-prepped nails are the foundation of a durable manicure. When done correctly, nail preparation can significantly extend the lifespan of the manicure, ensuring it looks great for weeks.
Health of the Natural Nail: Complete prep helps protect the health of the natural nail. It involves gentle handling to minimise damage from filing and avoiding overly aggressive techniques that could weaken the natural nail.
Added Adhesion: Removing all non-living tissue and etching the nail plate is a key part of nail preparation to ensure added adhesion and long lasting perfect sets.  

Why does it differ from brand to brand and for HEMA Free brands?

The key to long-lasting results is in skilful prep of the natural nail, this is especially true for HEMA-Free gel products. You might be wondering why. Let's break down the reasons. HEMA is the monomer that enhances the adhesion of a coating on the nail plate. Higher percentages of HEMA allow for maximum adhesion with minimal nail prep. When HEMA isn't present, prep becomes more important to ensure a safer long-lasting manicure.

Our guide is here to help you perfect your HEMA free prep and get amazing retention.

Let’s get started:

Products you’ll need 

Step 1: Sanitise and Dehydrate

Sanitise your client's hands before you start. It is recommended that you spray both of their hands and arms with an anti-bacterial spray like HONA PureClean to ensure that you are working with a clean surface avoiding bacteria.  

Pop on some nitrile gloves, We always recommend wearing gloves when doing your client's nails, it is not only more sanitary but avoids the risk of chemical exposure on the skin. 

Dehydrate the client's nail, scrub the side walls, under the free edge and ensure all oils/residue has been removed before continuing with the next steps. Dehydrating first will ensure oils are removed from the nail plate. 

Step 2: Prep

Push back the cuticle: holding the tool the same way you would a pencil, gently push back the cuticle area using a cuticle pusher to remove non-living tissue from the nail's surface. Let the weight of the tool do the work for you.

    Nip excess cuticle: being very careful, nip away any excess non-living cuticle tissue with cuticle nippers - you will know it's non-living because it will be dry and white. 

      Step 3: Dehydrate 

      Before you etch the nails, it’s important that you remove any debris and excess oil from the nail's surface. You can do this by saturating a lint-free wipe in 100% Acetone - scrub the side walls, cuticle area and under the free edge. 

      Removing the excess oil will ensure that the gel polish adheres to the nail effectively. 

        Step 4: File 

        Check out our guide on how to master the art of nail filing 

        File the free edge using a 240-grit nail file to shape the nails. File in one direction heading towards the centre of the nail. Then repeat this starting from the other side of the nail and back to the centre. This is to prevent the nail from breaking and splitting. 

        File the surface of the nail plate using a 100/150 grit file. Applying next to no pressure and stopping as soon as the nail is filed, you will be left with a roughed-up surface for the product to hold onto. Make sure the top of the free edge, the cuticle area and the side walls aren’t neglected - these need to be etched too. 


        Step 5: PureBond/Base Coat

        Once you have prepped the nail, you can then opt to choose a bonder or go straight for your base coat! 

        PureBond is HONA's multi-purpose bonder. Perfect for your heavy-handed clients, PureBond can be used after your prep but before your base coat for extra adhesion. 

        Wondering what PureBond is and how to use it? 

        P.S. Always remember to cap your free edge.