How To Etch Nails Like A Pro

Welcome back to another home of nail art tutorial. Today, we're going to be talking about etching, what it means and how to achieve the perfect etch on all of your manicures.

Our fabulous educator Gaia has put together a video tutorial, which covers the  intricacies of etching, highlighting key techniques and product recommendations that align perfectly with HONA's vision of creating a smarter, stronger, and safer nail industry.


Video Transcript

We're starting off with a fully prepped nail, I have just done a removal so there is a tiny little bit of product still left on the nail plate, and we're going to be focusing most of our etching in this cuticle area.

Before we even think about picking up a nail file, the first thing we need to do is completely scrub any of the oils and debris from the nail plate using 100% pure acetone. The reason we dehydrate first is so that we don't ingrain any of those natural nail oils into the grooves that we create when we start etching.

We aren't just wiping the nail over with acetone we're scrubbing so every area the sidewalls underneath the nail and the free edge itself is all dehydrated before application.

Once I've scrubbed as much as I can using the lint free wipe, I also like to use an orange with stick with an acetone soaked lint free wipe wrapped around it. And I just use a stick around any areas that I couldn't reach before. So, just swiping it around the cuticle area down the sidewalls and anywhere else that I couldn't get to.

Okay, so we're all dehydrated, let's talk files. So I like to use a 150 Grit file or a 100 grit file. Depending on the clients natural nail health, we don't want to use grit any higher than 150. And remember, the higher the grit number, the softer the file. So we want to use a rougher grit, but very, very gently in order to create these patches and grooves for the gel to adhere to. If we use anything higher than a 150 grit, then we're at risk of smoothing and buffing rather than creating that texture that we need.

The way that you hold your file is also important. So, I don't like to hold my file right at the other ends. Because you have this massive surface area of a file that's really hard to control. So instead, I moved my hand closer to the area of the file that I'm actually using. And that way I'm able to control the motions a lot easier without the risk of injuring my client. We also need to be mindful of the pressure that we're applying. So I'm resting the file on the nail plate with no pressure whatsoever. And I'm filing one area you can see I'm pulling that side wall back as well to get right into the side wall.

As soon as one area is etched, I'm moving on to the next area. And again, no pressure at all, we don't want to start filing into that nail plate. It's just the very surface that we want to create these little grooves and arches for our gel polish to adhere to later. Out of all of the steps in the manicure treatment, this is the one that I tend to take the most time on and I'm very very, very vigilant with my etching because this is what's going to get my clients the retention that they need.

We're using a hypoallergenic brand so following these prep steps is absolutely vital. I also like to wipe down the nail plate with acetone throughout the action process and this will highlight any areas that I might have missed. So you can see I missed a little area next to that side wall and a little bit in the corner that's the cuticle and that could have been an area that lifted because I hadn't etched it properly.

Remember our analogy as well of sanding down your skirting boards before you've lost them. Nails are very similar you need to create that texture for that gel to adhere to, again making sure that your pressure is minuscule. And lastly I also like to just give a little once over on the free edge because we kept all of our edges and again this is going to be great adhesion when it comes to applying gel.

Once you've finished give the nails a little dust off and a wipe down and admire the lovely etches you've made in preparation for your gel application. And remember when your client comes in for that infill, you only need to etch the new growth area. I really hope you enjoyed this video. I hope you've learned something. Please let us know if you have any comments or questions and I will see you in the next video.

Looking to hone your prep skills further? Check out our Nail Filing Guide.

HONA Nail Filing Guide