How can I prevent gel-polish from chipping or peeling?

Never cut corners on prep. Invest in a good pusher that actually removes true cuticle from the nail plate. Too many pushers glide over the surface without removing the tissue that will cause the lifting.

Think about where UV polish chips and lifts. It’s at the sidewalls and free edge, yet techs always focus their prep on the cuticle area. Make sure you pull back the skin at the sidewalls and really get your pusher into those grooves – you’ll be amazed at what you can remove.

Always keep your buffers in good condition and when they lose their grit throw them out; they don't work. Use them to gently buff the nail plate focusing on the side walls and free edge.

Cleanse the nail thoroughly with the cleanser from your UV polish system. It is really important that you don’t mix products from different brands as they have different ingredients and are not designed to work together. You need pressure to really degrease the nail so handle your clients firmly, they won’t break!

Don’t touch the nail with your own fingers while prepping. Most techs aren’t even aware they do this. Have a brush, wipe or nail duster handy to remove debris.

Once you start painting the first hand, make them leave the other on the manicure table otherwise it will be in their hair or their handbag and all your prep work will be wasted.

Apply the polish in thin coats. Thick polish will lift and chip quickly. Cap the free edges so that when you look down the barrel of the nail you can’t see white free edge. Then pull the brush back over the nail as capping can leave a build-up of gel at the free edge, which, again, can cause chipping.

Always cap with your topcoat and make sure that this too is a thin, smooth application. It is all too easy to rush topcoat as it is clear and easy to apply but it can be the downfall of an otherwise perfect service.


Tara Oldham is UK brand co-ordinator for German nail brand Alessandro. She has worked in the nail industry since 2003, including several years as head of education for OPI at Lena White.