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For sure you have noticed the latest trend between us ladies – who will have longer nails with the most original design. The music and film industries have really popularized artificial nails and it is understandable how their road to fame was so sleek – they save you the trouble of polishing your nails every couple of days and, at the same time, make them stronger.
The nail techniques are numerous and various. But one thing they all have in common is that there are few crucial steps that need to be followed in order to achieve a long-lasting manicure. One of the unavoidable steps is using primer, but it can dehydrate the nail, so many women are wondering if it is necessary.
The primer must be used before applying acrylic nails to ensure the duration and best possible adhesion of the acrylic. Other nail techniques like gel nails, may or may not require using the primer, depending on your nail structure and quality.
Further in the text, I’ll discuss more things that can contribute to your decision to use or not use the primer. I’ve seen that many ladies tend to mix a nail primer and basecoat. Their purpose may be the same, but there are differences, so let’s start by explaining them first.
What Is a Primer Used for in Acrylic Nails?
So let’s make a difference between using a nail primer and a basecoat. Although the purpose of both of them is to prepare the nails for a long-lasting manicure, there is a difference in how they are applied and which technique they are used for.
Basecoat is the first coat your nail technician will apply if you decide to go for basic nail polish technique or if you choose to with gel nails. On the other side, primer is used as a method of preparation for acrylic nails appliance.
To explain the importance of primer, let me explain what acrylic nails are. From a scientific point of view, acrylic nails are a mix of powder and liquid monomer that is combined and formed into a sticky dough mass. This mass is then applied to your nails and shaped into a specific nail shape. It also allows your technician to easily achieve the length you would like.
The difference between acrylic and gel nails is the method of drying – gel nails need a lamp to be cured, while acrylic nails are air-dried. Because of this, acrylic nails allow more freedom, meaning you can easily change the natural shape of your nails or achieve the extra length that wouldn’t be possible to manage with the gel technique.
Before applying acrylic nails, a primer must be used. This is to ensure that the acrylic would stick to the surface of your nails. Primer usually works by either dehydrating the surface of your nails, leaving no water or oil behind, or by covering the nails with the super thin and sticky coat, ensuring there are no air bubbles trapped between your nail and the acrylic.
There is another variant – some primers create tiny holes on the nails so the acrylic would penetrate the nail structure and, as a consequence, adhere better. Don’t worry, these “holes” are microscopic and not visible to the human eye. This technique is no more damaging than the first two.
In most situations, if it’s applied correctly, the primer would be just enough for your acrylic nails to stick to the nail surface. In extreme situations, if you have nails prone to chipping, peeling, or lifting as I do, primer can be used in combination with a basecoat. This acts like double protection and ensures the nails are going to hold for a long time.
Is Primer Necessary for Gel Nails?
The answer to this question really depends on two things – your nail structure and your nail technician. The advice I received from my nail technician on this matter the first time I went to get gel nails is to – test them. If the nails last for more than two weeks without breaking, lifting, or peeling off – you are good to go only with a basecoat. But, if your nails are prone to the aforementioned issues, then the primer must be used to ensure the duration of gel on your nails.
Sometimes customers just want to be sure their nails will last, so technicians go for the primer as a part of standard procedure. There are two options here – to use non-acid or acid-based primers.
Acid primers are much stronger and they are recommended to women who have hormonal issues or take medication that can affect nail quality. Non-acid, or acid-free, primers are the perfect solution for “standard” issues you may encounter with gel nails – peeling, lifting, and/or breaking.
Applying acrylic or gel nails are invasive techniques used on the nails, and if you decide to take a break, your nails would need some time to recover. Contrary to the popular belief, the type of primer used will not affect recovery time in any way, so you should not worry about that and just focus on choosing the right technique for your nail type.
What Happens If You Do Acrylic Nails Without a Primer?
Once, my nail technician had a really busy schedule during the day, I slipped in between two appointments, and in a rush, she forgot to apply the primer on my nails! Truth be told, the chances you may end up in a situation like mine are higher than you think!
But don’t panic or be worried if this happens to you. Not having a primer does not mean your acrylic nails will fall off per se. Actually, the duration of any manicure depends on multiple factors – your nail quality, skin type, your day-to-day activities, how hard you are on your nails, the length of the nails, the quality of the products used for your manicure, and many other things. I could go all night if I tried to list them all!
Just be extra careful and gentle with your nails. Try not to put them in the water for an extended period of time, not to break them, and avoid making any physical damage to them as much as you can. If you just adhere to this simple advice, your nails would last as long as they would with a primer!
On the other hand, if your nails peel off or break soon after your appointment, it is time to visit your nail technician again and correct this. Just make sure to give her a kind reminder to put primer before applying acrylic.
In the end, it all comes to one basic principle – you need to take care of your nails. There is no technique that would guarantee you 100% that your nails will last for a month if you are not careful. Even though the techniques themselves are very different, you should decide which one is the best for you in agreement with your technician.
Here is something to read if you want to know how acrylic nails dry.
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