Tuesday, March 29, 2016

From Short to Long - A Hard Gel Nail Growing Journey.

I recently shared a collage of my friends nails, done by me, on my Facebook page and I thought why not share it here as well. I shall go a little more in depth than I can in a Facebook post.
Katie's Nail Journey
First Visit. Nude Gel Polish with Glitter Fade

Katie first came to me wanting a nice, pretty, natural looking set of nails as she was to be a bridesmaid in her friend wedding. She didn't want extensions at the time because she did not want to be the only bridesmaid with false nails. So we kept it simple and went for a nude gel polish with a bronze glitter fade. You can see how I did these nails here.

2nd Visit. Purple and Gold Negative Space Nails

One week later Katie came back, although the nude design was perfect for the occasion, it didn't quite match Katie's personality. She decided she wanted to try Hard Gel Extensions, so I gave her fairly short, square extensions. We kept them short so that it wasn't too hard for her to get used to them and we kept them square because that is the shape she had always had her natural nails. Again we did a fairly simple nail art design which you can watch here. I will not that the same evening I did these nails, Katie had an incident with a cheese grater and managed to grate off the corner of her right thumb nail extension, so she did return the nest day to have this fixed.

3rd Visit. Dream Catcher inspired nails.

Two weeks later (total 3 weeks since first visit) it was time for a design change, we had a couple of millimeters of new nail growth. I filed off the gel polish design and removed any lifting, there was barely any, then infilled the hard gel and changed the nail shape to more coffin, we did not file down any length, before applying a new nail design. This time she chose a dark teal green which I thought would look great with some dream catcher inspired nail art, you can see how I did this here.

4th Visit. Negative Space and Bling Nails

Another two weeks (total 5 weeks since first visit) and it was again time for a design change. I infilled the hard gel and maintained the coffin shape, we still did not file down any length. For the design this time we kept it super simple with a little bit of negative space and a fair bit of bling. If you would like to see how I did these, click here.

5th Visit. Rainbow gel polish and pigment nails.

Two more weeks later (a total of 7 weeks since initial visit) and we decided it was time for a colourful design. This time while infilling the hard gel, I filed the extension at the free edge down to her natural nail length, turning the hard gel extensions into a hard gel overlay. I then went in and applied the design with gel polish and pigments. You can see how I did this design here.

To sum this all up, in 7 weeks we were able to grow Katie's nails to a length she is happy with. We had no nail breaks barring the one that was attacked by a cheese grater and also minimal lifting. You could definitely achieve this with out adding any extension and just doing an overlay from the beginning and wait for the length to grow. But if your client wants instant length you can do it the way we did. I made this post to say that there is no need to remove extensions to reapply, I personally prefer doing infills and overlays as I feel I can get an overlay to look much more natural and you also don't have the chance of the extension tip breaking off. As much as I love doing overlays, there are certain nails that will not be suited to overlays, if a client has nails that curve too far up or down than you would like, you may need to file the natural nail short and apply extensions every couple of infills, you may find you only need to do this to a few nails and not the whole set.

For reference I use Akzentz Proformance Hard Gel and Bluesky Gel Polish.

I hope you found this nail growth story interesting, and feel free to ask any questions as I am sure I have left something important out.

Thanks for reading.

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