Are Nail Primer And Dehydrator Really Necessary?




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It’s natural for people to want to optimize their time and to operate as efficiently as possible; removing all of the unnecessaries. That’s why it’s understandable why you want to know if certain steps in your nail polish regimen are necessary or just for frills. Here, I have answered if nail primers and dehydrators are really necessary. 

If you desire a flawless, professional finish for your nails, it is best for you to use a nail primer and dehydrator. They disinfect and degrease the nails so that the polish, gel, or acrylic have an easier time adhering to your nails. The primer also helps the product to bond to your nail plates which prevent chipped nail polish. 

I will advise you of the benefits of nail primers and dehydrators as well as discuss the risks you face by not using them. Afterward, I will explain the types of primers you can use and provide details on how they interact with your nails. Lastly, I will discuss whether you need to use both nail primer and dehydrator. 

Benefits Of Nail Primer And Dehydrator

Your nail primer and dehydrator are the two sidekicks you didn’t know your nail needed. I’ve provided a list of benefits for you to see how well these two work together to enhance the quality of your nails. 

Cleanses Your Nail

Your dehydrator and nail primer removes the moisture, grease, and debris from your nails. It provides a clean and dry surface for your paints to adhere to. Apply the dehydrator first as, between the two, it has more percentage of alcohol to help kill the bacteria in your nails. 

Your skin tends to have tiny cuts and scratches that we don’t know about and it might be dangerous to keep these untreated along with having layers of polish on top. The dehydrator will clean these wounds as well as the grease while the primer will work as reinforcement while carrying out its other functions as discussed below. 

Modelones Gel Nail Polish Primer, Acid Free Natural Nail Prep Dehydrate & Bond Primer, 15ml Nail Protein Bond, Air Dry Superior Bonding Primer for Acrylic Powder Nail Supplies Set

Acts As A Adhesive

Nail primer functions as an adhesive for your acrylic, polishes, and gels. It not only works as a substance for your paints and products to stick to, but it soaks into your nails and changes the pH of your nails to improve their adhesive capabilities. It creates a sealed layer on your nail in order to prevent bubbles from forming beneath your coats. 

Makes Nail Polish Last Longer

When nail primer is added to your nails, the chemicals in its formula react to the chemicals in your polish and gels that form a bond and anchor the product to your nails. This extends the lifespan of your paint job and allows you to enjoy your painted nails a little longer, saving you money in the process. 

What Happens If You Don’t Use Nail Primers?

If you don’t use nail primer, then overall you won’t have a very flawless finish to your nails. It can even be quite harmful to your nails depending on the nail polish you use. 

Unevenly Painted Nails

Primers give you a smooth, even layer for your to lather polish on. Without it, you’re left with the layer you or your nail technician just buffed away in order to help your product stick. 

This rough layer will show through your nail paint and give it an unflattering appearance. That’s why it’s important to use a primer before painting. 

Increased Chance Of Infection

Allowing paint to get into your cuticles and tiny scratches or simply not allowing a cleaning agent to remove debris before painting can cause your nails to get infected. Nail polish blocks sunlight from your nails which creates the perfect zone for bacteria to thrive. If left untreated it can cause severe damage to your nails and skin. 

Some nail polishes actually carry bacteria-killing properties, however, I believe it is safest to ensure you’ve done proper decreasing before applying these products to your nails

Chipping And Fading Of Nail Polish

As I mentioned before, primer forms a chemical reaction with nail polish which helps it to stick to the surface. If you don’t use nail primer, you’ll find that you will have to make frequent trips to the nail salon all the while racking up those prices. Although I’m not sure if there are any nail technicians who don’t use nail primers. 

As your polish will have nothing to stick to, you’ll find that the paint is easier to remove and will easily chip away.

Types Of Nail Primer

There are two types of nail primers: acid-free and acid-based. 

Acid-Free Primer

This type of primer is the one that alters the pH of your nails. As your nails are slightly acidic and your nail polishes are highly alkaline, they will have some problem bonding. However, the acid-free primer brings your nail closer to alkaline to make it easier for it to bond to the paint. 

Not to worry though, the change isn’t permanent, your normal pH will return once the product is bonded. 

Mia Secret XTRABOND No-Burn Acid-free Primer 1/2 oz. for Acrylic and UV Gels

Acid Primer

Your acid primer is the one that does the cleaning around here. It removes excess oils from the nails so that the product can have an easier time sticking to your nail plates. If you have particularly oily nails, I recommend using the acid primer or even using both. 

Always ensure that none of these products are resting on your cuticles however as they may have harsh reactions to the paints and primers.

Kodi Professional Acid Nail Primer and Dehydrator | 10ml (0.33 oz) | Nail Plate Degreaser Gel | Nail Dehydrator and Primer for Acrylic Nails and Gel | Professional Nail Prep Dehydrator | Strong Nail Adhesion

Do You Have To Use Both Primer And Dehydrator?

While I think using both primer and dehydrator will leave your nails with the best finish, you may not have to use the dehydrator. I say this because many primers perform a lot, if not all the functions of the dehydrators. However, each has its own specialty. 

It’s like having a heart condition. You could either choose to go to the general doctor or the “heart doctor”. While the general doctor can help you, you probably would be better off seeing the heart doctor because heart conditions are what he’s all about. 

It’s the same for the primer and dehydrator. The primer also functions as a cleaning agent for your nails but the dehydrator is the “heart specialist” that can do a better job. 

Alternatively, the dehydrator gives a clean, dry surface for your paint to stick better to but it doesn’t quite allow the product to adhere as well as if you used a primer. 

As I have said before I think it’s best to use both products to get the best finish. 


While I can’t say that doing something is particularly necessary, it is best that some things are done to achieve the best results. That is the case with primers and nail dehydrators. They don’t necessarily need to be a part of the nail painting procedure but if you are looking for a quality finish they should be a part of the process.

Here you can read about the importance of primer on acrylic nails.


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