The worst thing about having beautiful nails is : lifting.
Lifting means that acrylic "lifts" off of your natural nail, leaving behind a visible line or spot where air can come under.
Not only does it look bad, but it can also be a breeding place for bacteria.
To prevent lifting, you have to start out with these steps:
sanitize all your implements and utilities
work in a clean environment (dust, dirt and moisture is a big NO NO)
what ever you do, do not eat or smoke while you are doing nails
nicotine or crumbs can stay behind on your nail plate causing lifting
If you have serious lifting problems I do not recommend washing your hands (or your clients' hands if they have lifting problems)
your nails are porous and contact with water will cause your nails to suck up the water
(when you take a shower/bath or do dishes you notice that your nails or weak and have changed its appearance)
I know that is not very hygienic but you sure need to use a sanitizer in this case
it contains alcohol and it will evaporate
A good preparation is the key to have a long lasting set of nails
I do not recommend using cuticle removers. Those are products that dissolve the cuticle making it easier to push back and remove.
Cuticle remover can be sucked up by the nail as it is 99% of the time a liquid substance.
liquid = moisture = lifting
What I do to remove the cuticle is, spray nails lightly with a dehydrator (contains isopropyl alcohol and it will evaporate)
gently but sure push back the cuticle with a cuticle pusher in a circular motion, as this is easier and not as painful to some people
(remember tools don't hurt people, people hurt people)
(but some people can not stand that their cuticles are being pushed back and find it "painful")
with the other end of the cuticle pusher, "scrape" off the loose cuticle
If needed clip away loose and excessive cuticle with cuticle nippers.
FOTO cuticle pusher
Whether you are doing an infill/rebalance/etc or a new set,
take away the shine of the natural nail with a SOFT nail file.
DO NOT overfile the nail, because that may weaken the nail and even worse, it can damage your nail, which in turns can cause lifting as well.
Some nailtechs don't take away the shine of the nail, that is up to them.
I have been taught that the natural nail needs tiny "scratches" for the acrylic to adhere better/best to the nail plate.
I use a nail file with a 100/180 grit and I use the 180 site of an OLD DISINFECTED file.
An old file is so much softer than a new one.
(the higher the number on your file, the softer it is)
Make sure to go around the cuticle area and that there are no shiny spots left.
Next, remove the dust. I use a kabuki brush.
Then I take a cotton wipe and IBD prep and dehydrate the nail plate.
It takes away the oils and any dust that has left behind.
This will dry within a couple of seconds.
FOTO wipe and IBD prep
Do you need a dehydrator? No you don't but I prefer to use it.
As far as primer goes, there are a lot on the market.
Acid free, non-acid and acid.
I use NSI superbond.
It is an acid based primer so caution is needed!
(note: caution is needed with any chemical)
After you dehydrated the nails, take your primer and open the bottle.
Take out the brush and DRAIN the excess primer on a paper towel.
FOTO draining primer
Too much primer is not good. Draining the application brush will have just enough primer on it for 5 nails.
If doing a new set, put primer all over the NATURAL nail and not on nailtips (plastic)
If doing an infill, only primer on the new nail growth (natural nail).
If you put primer on acrylic or gel, it can cause yellowing, and we don't want that.
When the first coat has dried (NSI superbond dries to a chalky finish) I apply primer right before I apply my acrylic, each nail at a time.
NOTE : If you prefer or if needed, you can use a total of 3 coats of primer.
Don't let the primer touch your skin.
Now that you have prepped your nails, it is time for the application of acrylic (or gel)
Your pearls cannot be too wet or they'll flow right into the sidewalls and cuticle area.
The perfect pearl should be bumpy when you pick it up, and should become smooth when placed on the nail.
With the body of the brush, pat down your pearl to the desired shape and thickness.
Using the tips of the brush as a barrier, prevent acrylic from running into the sidewalls and cuticle.
If acrylic runs in the cuticle or sidewalls and it stays there it will cause lifting.
Simply use the tip of your brush and wipe the acrylic away if it ran into that area before it dries.
When you are working clean and precise you don't have a lot of filing to do.
When filing, file the acrylic flush to the natural nail so that there aren't any visible gaps and bumps.
It should seem as if the acrylic is a part of your own nail.
FOTO flush nail
After filing remove dust, this time you may wash your hands, but don't spend too much time in the water.
Whether you buff the nail to a shiny finish or use a UV sealer, that is up to you. I prefer using a UV sealer (NSI Glaze 'n Go)
Do not put any UV sealer on natural nails, it is designed to be used on artificial nails only.
NOTE: Don't ever touch your natural nail wit your fingers after prepping. Oils and dirt/dust will transfer to the nail plate and you will undo anything what you have done.
When you know your prep and application is not the problem that is causing lifting.
you must be aware of some other causes.
*Don't use old or bad products (dust builds up and contaminates your product)
*use quality brands or products. Cheap in this case does not mean better.
And sometimes cheap products from ebay or the internet contain MMA, which is a hazardous chemical, and is not to be used for nails! If you buy a kit and it doesn't come with a list of ingredients, DO NOT buy it.
Better safe than sorry...
*Medical causes :
Heart problems, diabetic, bacteria, medication, an allergy for the products... all these can cause lifting
Sometimes lifting occurs by fault of the client:
*using nails as a tool
*ticking your nails on a table
*not wearing any gloves while doing household chores: gardening, using chemicals for cleaning,...
*Doing dishes or been in the water right before coming in for having their nails done
(Always mention to clients that they have to keep their nails dry at least 2 hours before coming in)
*Being too long in the water (bathing, shower, dishes, washing hands,...)
If all these steps fail to succeed, and you have done all you could,
it can simply be genetic.
These are my personal experiences and what I have learned over the past couple of years.
You learn by trial and error, don't give up if you don't succeed.