Why do my client's nails lift?

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Answering why your clients nails lift is a tricky one.  Unfortunately there isn't just one single answer...

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Why do my client's nails lift?

Let's start with the basics;

  • When doing your cuticle work do this dry, do not apply any cream or oil.
  • Be sure to exfoliate the entire nail plate, pay particular attention to the cuticle area and the sidewalls.
  • Clean the nail plate, and the surrounding skin, with a sanitising alcohol based product.
  • Ensure you have followed the manufacturer's instructions for the products you are using.
  • By following proper preparation procedures and correct product application we can ensure this doesn't happen.

Why do my clients nails lift?


  • If the lifting is around the cuticle area it could be due to improper preparation of the nail plate.  Allowing the product to touch the skin around the cuticle area during application could also be the cause.
Nail extension lifting at the cuticle
Nail extension lifting at the side wall

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  • Lifting at the sides is most commonly caused by the powder and liquid ratio being wrong.  It is important to know your liquid to powder ratio for the best adhesion when working with acrylic.
  •  If it's gel, or acrylic, the product may have been applied too close to the skin.
  • Incorrect preparation of the natural nail can also be a cause.

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  • Product lifting at the free edge could be due to improper preparation of the natural nail.
  • If lifting occurs after a fill it could be that you did not remove any lifted product before applying the new product.
  • It may be that the natural nail is very dry and is curling underneath away from the product.
  • If this happens with gel nails, did you "cap" the free edge correctly.
Nail overlay lifting at free edge

It might be due to the client...

Does your client pick at her nails trying to remove the product?

Does your client have a habit of continually tapping one nail?

Is she following the home care leaflet that you gave her?