We advise that you read UV Gel Systems under Nail Product Chemistry, and to print out and follow the Nail Preparation Guidelines before performing this application.
The thickness of the gel coating has a great effect on the degree of cure. It is much better to use three or four coats rather than one or two thicker coats. Thinner coats allow more light to penetrate the layer, thereby reducing shrinkage. Shrinking is normal, but above 12% causes many problems, such as lifting, cracking and other types of service breakdown. Gel enhancement products shrink up to 20%. Clients can sometimes feel the effects of excessive shrinking, commenting that the enhancement may feel ‘tight’ or complain of throbbing and/or a heat sensation on the nail bed. These symptoms can occur immediately or up to 24 hours after application, and depends entirely on how much the gel shrinks. Excessive shrinkage is not only discomforting, it can cause damage or trauma to the nail bed. Excessive shrinkage can squeeze the nail plate, causing it to ‘pop’ free of the track that holds it to the nail bed. Once the separation has occurred, it easily travels farther up the nail plate and infection can occur in the space between the nail plate and the nail bed. Other causes of trauma are over-filing, heavy abrasives and high-speed drills, over-priming or wearing nails that are too long for the clients lifestyle, activity level and nail plate shape.
Shrinkage can be minimized by applying multiple, thinner coatings of gel. Clients with thin, damaged nail plates are easily injured by excessive shrinkage and other trauma. Remember, clients pay you to care for their fingernails first, then to give them beautiful enhancements. Keep the natural nail plate and surrounding skin healthy, and they are less likely to have problems. Always read, understand and follow the manufacturers instructions for proper preparation, application, curing and finishing of your gel product. The success of the service is entirely up to YOU!
Gel Application (Using Calgel)
Follow the steps of preparation already outlined on the Artificial Nails page. Proper preparation prevents problems, so to do it right, don’t cut corners.
Carefully scoop a small amount of gel onto your brush, keeping one side clean by swiping it on the edge of the jar.
Apply a thin coat of gel over the entire nail plate beginning in the center of the nail and working the gel toward the cuticle. Stroke the gel in much the same manner as a polish application, pulling the brush to the free edge. Seal the free edge by swiping your brush lightly across the leading edge.
During application, be sure the brush hairs do not ‘fan’ out. If they do fan out, you are applying too much pressure and not enough gel will be left on the nail plate to allow for shrinkage during cure, and the result will be tiny ‘craters’ where the gel has pulled away during the curing process. Should this occur, re-apply a thin coating of gel making sure to apply less pressure. Do not over-work the gel as this will result in air bubbles and/or an uneven cure.
Repeat this process on all five fingers of the hand. Before curing, check your work again to be sure the entire nail plate is evenly covered with a thin layer of gel. Check the cuticle and sidewall lines to be certain that no gel is touching the skin, and if so, remove it with an orangewood stick. Be sure your have left a tiny margin all around the cuticle and sidewall line free of product to allow for proper shrinkage and to prevent repeated and prolonged contact with sensitive skin.
Place the nails under the UV Light for a full 3 minutes to completely cure the gel. Apply a second coating of gel and cure for 3 minutes.
NOTE: With clear Calgel, the normal recommended curing time is 1 minute. This will be long enough to obtain a total ‘cure’ if you have applied THIN coatings. However, to standardize the curing time, 3 minutes will cure both Clear Calgel and Coloured Calgel.
Remove the hand from the light and clean the nails with a lint-free nail wipe saturated with Calguard (or the cleanser that came with the product system of your choice). This will remove the sticky ‘uncured’ layer on top of the enhancement, even though the nails will still feel slightly tacky which is normal. Inspect nails for an even surface, and if ‘craters’ are evident, apply one thin layer of gel and cure.
Apply gel to the other hand following the previous procedures. Should you find that some gel has touched the sides or the cuticle area, remove with a 240-grit file and then buff until smooth. Finish by applying a sealer (Calcrystal) and the nail enamel color of your choice. If the client prefers a permanent French Manicure, use a white color gel (Calgel color 01 or SW) to the free edge.
Calgel can be used to extend the length of the natural nail, without the application of a tip. Calgel is far more flexible than an artificial tip, yet is tough enough to withstand everyday usage.
Prepare the nails as described in the Preparation Guidelines.
Fit a re-usable nail form to snugly under the nail. Check the form fit from a side view, as well as the front view, to be sure it is on straight and is shaped to the desired form.
Apply a thin coat of clear Calgel over the entire natural nail and sweep forward just onto, but not covering, the nail form.
Without curing, apply a ‘smile’ of Calgel white gel onto the nail form where you would like to begin the white tip section. Allow the gel to ‘drip’ into position and gently guide it into shape. Apply in this manner to one nail at a time, making sure not to over-work the gel. Cure for 3 full minutes under the UV light.
A second application of Calgel is applied to the natural nail and the nail form to produce the desired length of nail. Apply another layer of white Calgel to the extension edge to obtain the proper dimensions for strength and flexibility. Cure this second coating for a full 3 minutes under the UV light. Proceed with the application on the other hand while the first hand is under the light.
Remove the nail form and perfect the shape with a 240-grit file, then buff the edges with a 3-way buffer to plasticize and seal.
Cleanse the nail with Calguard to remove the sticky surface residue. Apply Calcrystal or the enamel color of choice to complete the service. Never leave the Calgel unprotected. It is always a wise decision to use an enhancement ‘sealer’ to prevent the enhancements from becoming stained by the pigments in nail polish, household cleaning solutions, makeup, tanning solutions and other ‘staining’ materials and chemicals.
Colored Gel Application (using Calgel)
Prepare the nails for enhancements by following the Preparation Guidelines. Follow the same procedures for the regular gel application as listed above.
The thickness of the Colour Calgel on the nail is very important. Apply too little and not enough photo-initiator will be available to cure the layer of Calgel. Apply Colour Calgel too thick and the pigment will prevent the UV light from reaching all the way through the layer to reach with the photo-initiator and fully cure the Colour Calgel. Under this condition, only the top of the layer will be cured and a ‘shell’ of cured Color Calgel will be sitting on top of uncured or partially cured gel, thus resulting in poor or no adhesion to the natural nail underneath. Do not over-work the gel as this will result in air bubbles and an incomplete or uneven cure.
Place hand under UV light and apply colored Calgel to the other hand.
Color Calgel is semi-transparent which makes application thickness less critical, therefore there will be less chance of adhesion problems due to partial curing. Full color is achieved by applying two or three of these translucent layers resulting in a complete cure of each layer.
Place hand in the curing lamp for a full 3 minutes, apply a second coating of Colour Calgel and cure. Apply Colour Calgel on the other hand. Wipe the nail with a lint-free wipe saturated in Calguard. Complete the application and finishing as in the previous applications, and apply Calcrystal or a matching nail enamel to seal the gel.
Colour Calgel Fill
Remove nail enamel and inspect the nail, checking for any loose or lifted material. If lifting is present, buff with a 240-grit file in the direction of lift to remove and to blend with the natural nail plate. Do not over file the natural nail plate as this results in the loss of too many vital nail plate layers, and can leave a trench, or a reddened ‘circle of fire’ in the nail plate.
Use a 100/180-grit file to reshape the nail, keeping the sides straight and the form even. Taper and reduce the dimension (thickness) of the free edge. Buff the entire remaining surface with a 240-grit buffer to ensure all shine has been removed and there are no remaining areas of lift.
Clean all nail dust from the surface, then cleanse with a nail wipe saturated in Calguard to clean and sanitize the nail.
Scoop a little of the correct Colour Calgel onto the tip of a clean, flat application brush and apply to the new nail growth. Carefully push the brush toward the cuticle to spread the gel, but do not allow it to touch the skin. Leave a tiny free margin all around the cuticle free of gel to prevent lifting and to allow for proper shrinkage. If gel does touch the skin, use an orangewood stick to remove unwanted gel and to prevent product overexposure and allergic reaction. Be sure this application of color is thin as in the previous application procedures. Smooth and blend onto the existing color.
Cure for 3 full minutes under the UV light.
Apply one layer of Colour Calgel over the entire nail and cure for a full 3 minutes under the UV light. Apply the second layer and cure for an additional 3 minutes.
After both layers have been applied and cured, wipe the nail with a lint-free wipe saturated with Calguard, then seal with a clear topcoat (Calcrystal.)
If the client wants to change to a darker color, the undercoat must always be done with the existing color. Then, after curing, apply one coat of the darker gel over the entire surface.
If the client wants to change to a lighter color, the existing gel must first be removed by soaking in Calaway. Please refer to the Product Removal instructions.
To successfully print out this page without cutting any borders, click on FILE, then on PAGE SET-UP, change the margins to .5″, then click PRINT.
Should you be interested in purchasing Calgel or requesting more information on this product, a link has been provided on the Nail Links page or click on the Calgel logo at the top of this page.