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You may have heard about nail wraps but aren’t quite certain what they are and how to use them. With the different types and the different ways they can be applied compared to all the other ways to get synthetic nails, I understand that it can be a whirlwind of information that you just want to get sorted. That is why I will be explaining to you everything you need to know about nail wraps.
Nail Wraps are strips of fabrics made from silk, linen, or fiberglass that can be used to repair nails or even create synthetic nails. They require resin activators and nail glues for them to harden and stick to stick to the nail plates. They are less durable than acrylic but are easier to be removed and preserves the health of your nails
I will describe how nail wraps became popular and explain how they can be used. I will also compare them to acrylic in terms of durability, ease of removal as well as affordability. I will also guide you on how to apply them, remove them, and how use them together with acrylics.
Table of Contents
What Are Nail Wraps
Nail Wraps are fabrics that are strips of fabric that are used with resin to make synthetic nails. Its origin can be seen back in the 1920s when nail techs used to get creative and use coffee filters and tea bags to repair broken nails. It progressed and enhanced over the years that, around the 1980s, the nail wraps we use today, paper, linen, silk, and fiberglass found their way as the most effective nail wraps.
Nail wraps can come in almost any design, but can also come as plain fabrics so that you have the opportunity to design them yourself once you have placed them on your nails. Many companies make nail wraps as they have grown to become quite popular in the nail tech industry. I’ll give you a rundown of three of the best companies to get your nail wraps from and why you can trust them to give you great nail wraps.
High’s Nail Wraps
If you’re looking for a wide range of nail wrap designs, then you can try High’s Nail Wraps. These are mostly for those who prefer to just stick those nails on and go instead of having them prepped, painted, and designed by yourself or nail tech.
I prefer having more control over how my nail wraps are designed so I would use clear nail wraps over-designed ones every day. But for those who want to make their nail appointment a lot shorter and easier these various designs will retain some originality on your nails.
These are for the creatives among us. Born Pretty offers DIY nail paper for you to customize nail shape and size by cutting them out of the roll.
While my hands, which are gifted to cut straight lines into crooked ones, probably couldn’t go up to the task, if you’re looking for originality then look no further. You have full mastery of what you want your nails to look like.
If you have used nail wraps before you know that sometimes they don’t fit your nail shape and size. If this is usually your problem, then making tailored cuts may be right for you.
Maybe you want more control of your nail wraps than what High’s give you, but you don’t want to go full Michelangelo like Born Pretty offers, then Blulu offers nail wraps that set you right at the midpoint. They offer blank nail wrap strips that you can place your own design on.
This is more my genre I must say. I can unleash the Da Vinci in me as I am offered a blank canvas for my designs. If you like this level of freedom with your nail wraps, then I would suggest this type for you.
Types of Nail Wraps
As I said before we have different types of nail wraps, each with its benefits. I’ll discuss the benefits of each.
Silk Nail Wraps
For the most natural-looking nails, you will want to use silk nail wraps. This is because it has a smooth texture that you can easily apply paint on, so it mirrors the smoothness of your natural nails.
You can wear these without color for a natural smooth appearance. It also gives your nails some “breathing room” as silk has tiny holes in its fibers. However, among the other nail wraps, this material is the weakest and will not last as long as the other types.
This may be good for some as removing these nails are easier than removing fiberglass and linen. All you need to do to remove silk wraps is to soak them in water. The water will dissolve them from your nails.
This is however bad for wearing silk wraps while performing everyday activities like washing your hands. Water can easily lift the wraps off the nails.
Linen Nail Wraps
You will find that linen wraps are stronger than silk wraps so naturally, they will last longer. Unlike silk wraps, linen wraps often come in white though which isn’t easily covered by resin activators. So, if you were planning on wearing these nail wraps without painting them, just know that the linen color will be peering through.
Some silk nails will have bits of linen in them to help with durability. So, you’re able to get the best of both worlds with these two.
Fiberglass Nail Wraps
If linen nail wraps were the prince of durability, then here you will meet the king. Fiberglass is made from melting glass into a plastic-like material that is strained through small holes to get thin hair-like fibers.
They are then woven together to form the strips that we use on our nails. This is why if you look closely at fiberglass nails you can see the weaving pattern. It is the most durable of the three materials. It may be the reason they are so expensive, even more than an acrylic job. They are however easier to remove than acrylic pain and are less damaging on the hands.
How To Apply Nail Wraps
You must first prepare your nails before applying your nail wraps. Buff your nails to increase adherence, then brush away any dirt or particles leftover from buffing. A material known as a resin activator will be required.
You’ll also need nail adhesive. The resin activator and nail glue will be used to strengthen and build up your nail wraps.
Shellac is frequently used to make resin. Shellac is the secretion of lac insects that live on trees in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. As these insects consume tree sap, they create a secretion that is gathered and used in items that require hardness and gloss, such as wood varnish, or even food products such as confectionery.
This resin will be used to strengthen the fiberglass during the application procedure. To begin, apply a layer to your natural nail plate. Using a tool, apply the nail wrap strip to the nail.
You cannot apply the strip with your hand since the oil from your skin would dampen the wrap, causing it to lift. Also, make sure the wrap doesn’t cover the nail all the way to the cuticles. It’s important to avoid applying the product too close to the cuticles since this will cause the wrap to lift, as it is with most nail grooming procedures.
After you’ve inserted and precisely positioned your wrap, apply a thin layer of glue over it using your nail glue brush. After you’ve secured it, you can cut your wrap to the length you want. The longer you want your nail wrap to be, the more layers you’ll need at the tip of your nails to sustain the wrap’s length.
Spray your resin activator on your nails once you’ve glued and clamped the initial layer to help the wrap harden.
Apply adhesive and resin to each layer to strengthen the nails. After the nails have sufficiently hardened, lightly file the nail to the desired form. After that, buff your nails to remove any weaving patterns that may have remained visible through your resin and adhesive layers.
A good way to improve the finish of the nails is to apply gel polish. For even stronger nails you can also apply tips to your nail plate before starting the process.
How Can I Make My Nail Wraps Last Longer?
One of the major drawbacks of wearing nail wraps is that it doesn’t take long before they start to lift. You could maybe get two weeks out of them at most. But there are things you can do to make them last just a little longer.
When your nail wraps are exposed to high temperatures, it weakens the wrap and causes it to tear. You might be wondering “Well that’s easy, where am I going to feel high temperatures anyway?” But we do in fact come into contact with heat.
From hand dryers to blow dryers to even cooking on an open flame, if you’re wearing nail wraps they can get damaged by the heat coming from these items.
Try to minimize heat by maybe towel drying instead or air-drying hair instead of blow-drying whenever you can. It will extend the life of your nail wraps.
Yes, I know we spoke about applying top coats when we discussed applying nail wraps to fingers. But here we’ll be talking about extending your nail wrap’s life expectancy using top coats. You can achieve this by applying a fresh dose of top coat to your nails every two days.
Any more frequent than two days and you will end up with clumpy thick nails. As top coats form a layer over your nail wraps you need to ensure that your first defense is fortified. So, keep adding your top coats to refortify those nails.
Buy Better Brands
Not all nail wraps were created equally. The strength of nail wraps differs between brands and it’s in your best interest to use nail wraps from the best ones. Of course, most times the better the brand, the higher the price so expect to spend a little extra for these longer-lasting nail wraps.
Avoid Water On Nail Wraps
This doesn’t apply to all nail wraps. Silk wraps react the most to water. As we mentioned before it only takes a quick soak in water to have them dissolve.
So, avoid leaving your hands in water for long when you use the silk nail wrap. For instances where you have to come into contact with water, ensure to properly dry your hands immediately afterward.
Nail Wrap v Acrylic
To answer which is better for you we’ll assess different expectations we have for our manicures and use that to measure how satisfactory one is compared to the other.
Acrylics are malleable where it concerns being able to easily manipulate the formula to set how you would like. However, that is only the case when the formula is still wet. Once it hardens, your only hope of shaping the nails is to file it but even then, you might not get what you want.
Nail wraps on the other hand, as it is fabric-like, are easier to shape by simply cutting the material before hardening the nails with a resin activator. I would say that nail wraps are better options if you’re looking for flexible nails.
Of the two, acrylic nails are stronger than nail wraps, lasting up to three weeks per nail job. There is a chemical reaction that occurs when the polymer and monomer are mixed and hardened, which gives it commendable durability. Personally, it would be my go-to if I need durability but don’t want to do gel nails.
Fiberglass on the other hand will have more of a resemblance to natural nails because of its thin finish. But this thin finish is precisely why it is not durable. If you’re lucky you may be able to get away with having it in for two weeks.
As Fiberglass is the most durable, it’s needless to say that silk and linen wraps don’t match up well against the durability of acrylic. So, if you’re looking for a manicure that lasts, I would have to say to use acrylic.
If you find that you do a lot of washing or just frequently have your hands in water, I would advise you to not use fiberglass nails as they can be broken down in water over time.
Acrylics and fiberglass are similar in that they both require many soaks in acetone to be removed. However, removing fiberglass is easier for me than removing acrylic.
Because of the many layers, we may have used when setting acrylic, it takes a long time to break down. As a result, a more durable solution like acrylic will be more difficult to break down.
Silk wraps, on the other hand, are the easiest to remove of them all. The only drawback is that you can end up removing them by accident if the water stays on them for too long.
Here you can read more about acrylics and how to take care of them.
Using Fiber Nail Wraps With Acrylics
Step 1: Using Fiberglass As The Protective Layer
You will find that one side of the fiberglass wrap has a bit of adhesion to it. You can use some nail glue to help it stick to the nail. If your nail is cracked, I would advise you not to buffer them before putting on this layer as buffing can further damage them.
Once you have placed the fiberglass on your nails, you can use your nail glue to secure it, all the while avoiding your cuticles. You have now formed a barrier between your natural nails and the pending acrylic.
This method is beneficial even if you don’t have cracked or weak nails. You will find that your manicure will last longer on the fiberglass than if it were applied to your nails directly.
Step 2: Acrylic Layer
If you followed my instructions on how to apply fiberglass nails, you will see that the next step is to use a resin activator to allow the nail to set. This step can actually be skipped and acrylic may be used instead. However, if you want to ensure that your fiberglass stays stable under the acrylic, you’ll need to use some expertise.
First, apply a very thin coat of acrylic to your nails by dabbing a little quantity of liquid monomer into your brush and softly pressing it into the acrylic powder.
Then, touch the base of the nail and draw it all the way over the fiberglass. Take care to smooth out the coating so that it is as thin as possible. With this method, the acrylic is acting as a resin to harden the fiberglass before applying another coating of acrylic.
After the first coat has dried, you may apply the acrylic as usual. To produce the required texture, combine the powder and liquid. For thicker acrylic applications, use less liquid and a bit more powder.
If you want your acrylic to be runnier, soak the brush a little longer before softly tapping it into the acrylic powder.
For longer nails with more of a pointed shape, you can employ one of two methods.
Method 1: Fiberglass Structure Before Applying Acrylic
Before putting the acrylic, you will shape and lengthen your nails with fiberglass. This will require the use of more than one layer of fiberglass. The less you use to form the nails, the better because you don’t want thick, unnatural-looking nails.
As I directed earlier, for longer nails, put tiny strips of fiberglass wraps closer to the tip of the nails to strengthen the base of your length. Once you’ve achieved the appropriate length, put the thin coat of acrylic I mentioned before over the nail. Then, using your file, shape the nail to your liking.
Once the nail is shaped you can buff the layer of your nails and apply your additional layers of acrylic over the full expanse of your constructed nails.
Method 2: Using The Acrylic To Construct
You can use acrylic to construct your nails instead of fiberglass. Once you have placed the fiberglass on your nails as previously directed, you will need to add several layers of acrylic to achieve your desired length.
Although you can achieve this look without using a nail former, I would recommend using it to get the best result. Place the nail former over your fingers and ensure the top is snug underneath your fiberglass nails. Bend the nail former into the shape that you are trying to achieve.
You will use the same motion of pulling the acrylic mixture from base to tip. After your first application repeats the same process, however, tap your powder a bit further from the base and gently pull the mixture past the tip of your nails onto the nail former. This method works best with runnier textures as it prevents the constant addition of acrylic from bulking up.
Each time you move away from the base ensure to run over the gap between your initial starting point and your new starting point to ensure a smooth flow. Once the acrylic has dried you can remove your nail former. Use your buff to make your nail shape more precise and to prep the structure for the coming nail application.
Gentleness On Hands
Any unnatural chemical reactions happening to your body aren’t good for you. As the acrylic formula is being set on your nails, you can actually feel the warmth from its reaction to the liquid. It isn’t healthy for your nails and will help them to weaken.
However, nail wraps don’t have that risk. You place it on your nails and set it using glue, no chemical bonding is needed.
It can actually act as a barrier between your nails and acrylics.
Acrylics are the less expensive of the two. Nail wraps can range in price from $50 to $100. As I said before, considering that it does not last as long as acrylic, the cost adds up quickly if you do your nails regularly.
The cost of doing fiberglass nails twice a month might be as much as $200. Acrylics, on the other hand, cost no more than $50 and last far longer than nail wraps. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option I would suggest sticking with acrylic.
How To Remove Nail Wraps
First, remove any nail polish you have using acetone or nail polish remover. Although you will be using the same product to remove the fiberglass that you’re using to remove the nail polish, I prefer to remove the nail polish first.
The reason for this is if you soak your nails in acetone with the nail polish on you will find that the color will seep onto your fingers which may be a little difficult to remove. So, dip a cotton tip into some acetone and gently rub the polish off.
Once you’re done place some of the acetone or nail polish removers into a bowl and dip your fingers in. You do this at three-minute intervals wiping away the product off your nails each time to ensure that all the fiberglass is removed.
You want to ensure that you don’t keep your finger in the acetone for longer than three minutes at a time. You can damage your skin by allowing it to soak in the acetone for that long.
If you find the fiberglass is still difficult to remove, do not tug at it as you can ruin your nail bed and damage your cuticles. Just keep soaking and gently working the material from your nails.
For a more incubated approach, you can wrap cotton balls that are soaked in acetone around your fingers and hold them in place using aluminum foil strips. Bear in mind you don’t want to leave this on your skin for long either.
Afterward, buff your nails to regain their smooth texture. Nails become weakened after being under products like fiberglass for an extended period of time, so ensure not to buff too hard as you may damage them. As acetone and nail polish removers are very drying substances, ensure to rehydrate your skin and nails with cuticle oils and moisturizers.
Nail wraps are creative ways to create smoother, more natural-looking nails using fabrics like silk, linen, and fiberglass. You will find that they are easier to maneuver when applying and dissolve when removing than their acrylic and gel counterparts. They are also better for your nails than acrylic as they form a layer between your nail plates and your nail polis or acrylic. They are however not as durable and more expensive. So depending on your preferences nail wraps may be right for you.
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