Month: January 2017

Everything old is new again, same old song: Are Tip-n-Dip Nails Better?

It’s all the rage! Artificial nails that are kinder to your nails! Faster to apply, easier to remove! Won’t damage your nails like Acrylic!

Wait. We’ve heard that song before, haven’t we?   Didn’t someone sing that song when UV Gel launched? Didn’t we hear that same song again when Gel Polishes hit the market?  Everyone wants healthy and strong natural nails. This isn’t new. Neither are Tip-n-dips, they’re not new and neither are their marketing tactics.

Tip-n-dips aka ‘Gel Resine” aka “Resine et Poudre”  aka “Acrylic Dip” aka “Powder Dip”. Here on out, I’m calling it T&D in the interest of brevity.

T&D recently is touted by Brand Manufacturers and Distributors as ‘the newest thing’.  I have been using T&D since back in the early 80’s, about 30yrs ago (eeeeks, showing my age!), so first off, it’s NOT so ‘new’.  In Quebec Canada, they have been popular for decades.

All sorts of promises and claims are spouting up everywhere.  I blogged about some of those claims last year  Please take a moment to read that, then come back here.   In short, most of the claims are marketing nonsense.  That should be no surprise.  Most marketing is word-play, to lead you to think a certain way, to influence you to make a purchase.

So what is T&D?  First and foremost, as I explained in the previous blog- it IS an Acrylic product!  It’s the application of Resin adhesive (made from acrylic cynoacrylate.) and Polymer Powder (traditional Acrylic Powder, usually a combination of polyethyl methacrylate/PEMA, Acrylate copolymers, and PolyMethyl Methacrylate/PMMA).  HEY Look at all that ACRYLATE!  Yes folks, that IS Acrylic!

There are brands that wish to mislead you and tell you it’s “silk powder” or “calcium powder” and/or that it’s infused with vitamins and calcium.   Good luck looking for an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for a T&D powder that doesn’t list acrylates in it’s ingredients.  There is no such thing as calcium nails or silk powder nails.

Sidebar:  Your nail plates have absolutely no use for nail enhancement products that contain vitamins or calcium as they can’t absorb them. Additionally, your nail plates are dead.  The only way vitamins are of any benefit to your nails is through ingestion so that your blood stream can supply the matrix whilst it creates the nail.   (See here to hear what leading Industry Chemists have to say on the subject:

I hear the cries “it’s gentler to the nails”.  I have said it before, and I will say it again – Nail enhancements are inanimate. They do not ‘cause’ damage.   What cause damage are the techniques used to apply and remove them by either the Nail Technician or the Consumer.   Whether it’s Traditional Acrylic, UV Gel, T&D, Gel Polish:  if any of these are NOT applied in the correct fashion and/or removed in the correct fashion, you will have damage. NONE of them are ‘gentler’ to the nail plate.

What causes Damage?  1-Improper prep  2-Improper removal 3-Picking/prying/forcing off enhancements 4-overfilling during any of the other stages.     These issues do not change just because someone changes the product.   These issues happen with ALL systems:  Gel polish and/or Shellac, UV Gel, Traditional Acrylic, T&D, Wraps, etc.  I have seen damage result from the misuse of ALL product lines and brands.  If you google, you will find the same results.   There is no such thing as a ‘less damaging system’.  Only less damaging techniques!

Now I’m sure some have their knickers in a twist and have come to the conclusion that I don’t like T&D.   I suggest that you scroll back up and read my words again.  Here, let me help you.  I said ” I have been using T&D since back in the early 80’s”.

Some old pics from back in the day when I used it more often (please be kind, these were before receiving BETTER training).


Yes, have been using and still use it today.   Although it’s not my preferred system, it has it’s uses.  There is no such thing as “one size fits all” in life, it’s a fallacy.   Same applies here.    What do I use it for?  I like to use it to create an extension under gel polish for my gel polish clients when they break a nail and don’t want to have an obvious odd finger.  I use it for clients wanting only very temporary nails for short term who prefer to soak off at home (such as high-school graduating students).

Here are some Pros and Cons for your review.


–        Quick to apply

–        Usually, easy to remove

–        Usually, soaks off quicker than traditional acrylic

–        Low odor

–        Usually thinner than traditional acrylic, thicker than gel polish.

–        Stronger than Gel Polish aka Shellac

–        Lower cost


–        Brittle and porous, prone to ‘clouding’ due to micro fissures (miniature cracks).

–        Does not rebalance/refill well, requires frequent soak-offs and new sets to maintain.

–        Takes longer to soak off than Gel Polish aka Shellac.  May even take as long as acrylic depending on how many layers the Technician applied.

–        The frequent soaking off ‘can’ lead to drying out the nail, and the constant blending of nail tips ‘can’ lead to thinning of nail plates.

–        Not as strong as traditional Acrylic or Hard Gels.

–        Can’t repair single nail without removing and starting fresh.

Now to address common myths about T&D.

You can’t create an apex“.  Actually, yes you CAN create an apex via sectioning your layers of application. It’s all in technique.

They can’t be worn long“.  Yes, they CAN be worn long.  As with every other system; be it gel polish, traditional acrylic, uv gel; length is determined by the client. Is the client heavy handed or not? Does she lead an active lifestyle or hold a job that is harsh on her hands?   With T&D, these considerations are no different.

You can’t do a pink and white french“.  Well, this one is somewhat debatable. It’s all in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.   You can either use a french tip, or use the dipping method. However, it will NEVER look as a proper french should, with a crisp smiling line, no matter how much you practice.  If you’re not fussed over a crisp smiling line, then enjoy.  Personally, I am NOT a fan of the fuzzy french smile. Looks smirky to me and no one likes being smirked at.

You’re limited in art“.  No, you’re not.  You can do glitter fades and color dips, encapsulation, and a bunch of other things.  Just like with other systems, you have to use different techniques to achieve the look you want.

I’m allergic to acrylic, so I can wear T&D“.  WRONG!!! T&D is an acrylic product, so if you have acrylic allergies, do NOT wear T&D either.

For the consumer:  My advice to you is to choose a salon based on safety, hygiene and education.  Do NOT choose a salon based on whatever brand or system they are using, or marketing spiel they are handing to you.  Type of brand or system is no indicator of what kind of salon they are.  Find a salon and/or tech that you can talk to, that is open to answering all of your questions with high standards of hygiene and education. For more information on how to choose a salon, visit here to learn more

Now would someone mind pulling that 45 from the turntable, it’s a broken record – Better for your nails –  and getting on my last nerve.

9 Things to Know Before Your Next Manicure

From:   dated 7March2014

Athena Elliot’s Checklist as featured on ABC 20/20 on March 7th, 2014

BeforeYou Go For That Pedicure, Be Sure Take a Closer Look at Your Nail Salon


March7, 2014—

When it comes to nail salons,it’s not just about the glitter and polish. Before you make that next trip toget a manicure or pedicure, heed this advice from industry insider AthenaElliott.

“There is a lot of money tobe made out there. And unfortunately, there is a lot of money to be made, atyour cost,” Elliott told ABC News’ “20/20.”

Tune into “TrueConfessions” on ABC News’ “20/20” on TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET

Elliott has been a nailtechnician for 34 years. After realizing how many of her peers ignored theindustry’s sanitation protocol, she said she wants to expose the habitualhorrors that put customer safety and health at risk. So every week, Elliottgoes undercover and reviews salons’ cleanliness for her website,

“What [customers] don’trealize is that there is … really danger lurking everywhere,” Elliottsaid. “The potential for infection is greater than people realize.”

Here are some of Elliott’s tipsfor what to look for in a nail salon.

Nail Salon Know-How: 9 Things to Know Before Your Next Manicure

1. Communicate With Your Technician, Do SomeResearch Online

“Are you communicating with your nail technician? Are they notlistening to you?” Elliott said. “There is more to having a goodservice than just picking out your nail color. If you can’t communicate,chances are you won’t be happy with your service. Miscommunication is a primarycause of nail salon infections and lawsuits from infections.” Check if thesalon has an Internet presence, reviews and if you can find out anything aboutthe salon’s protocol.

2. Ask How They Disinfect Their Tools

When visiting a salon, learn more about how the salon disinfectstheir tools. “Do they use the state’s protocol with liquid disinfection,or do they use an autoclave to sterilize their implements?” Elliott said.These are both acceptable and what you should look for in a safe salon. Anautoclave, according to Elliott, uses steam and pressure to kill all livingpathogens. Don’t be afraid to say, “Can you show me how you disinfect yourpedicure chairs? Can you show me your cleaning log? Are you using single-usefiles on me?” said Elliott.

3. Are the Technicians Wearing Gloves?

A good sign is a technician wearing gloves. A survey by NAILSmagazine revealed only 17% of nail techs wear them regularly. According toElliot, gloves can help reduce the transfer of bacteria to a client.

4. Is the Floor Dirty?

Check out the salon’s floor, and make sure it’s clean.”Because if there are scattered clippings from people’s toenails andfingernails, as if I am the 20th client of the day, that’s the first thingthat’s going to turn me off,” Elliott said. “You should be cleaningup, after every service.”

5. Inspect the Bathroom

“If you walk into a salon and the restroom is not as clean asyou like your restroom to be at home, you should take that as a sign,”Elliott said.

6. Are They Reusing Dirty Tools?

Watch where the salon employees pull their tools from. “Arethey tools that have already been disinfected and that you can tell, or arethey being pulled out of a kitchen, you know, out of your drawer?” Elliottsaid. Depending on the state’s laws, some tools may be single-use items. Besure to check your state’s cosmetology rules and regulations to know what toolsare approved or banned and how they should be cleaned.

7. Know What Chemicals They Use

You should always know what the chemical is that they’re using onyou, Elliott said. “It should always have a clear, defined label,”said Elliott.

8. You Shouldn’t Be in Pain

Pain is absolutely a red flag for Elliott. “It’s about goingto a place that makes you feel comfortable about the service that you arehaving,” Elliott said. “And if you are met with that kind ofresistance, you need to search [for] another salon.”

9 Take This Precaution Before Your Next Pedicure

Never shave before going to the nail salon. “It’s a portal ofentry for the bacteria to go in,” Elliot said.

Copyright © 2014 ABC NewsInternet Ventures

Do Nails Eat and/or absorb vitamins?

Copied from my “Notes” on my Facebook Biz Page: dated 18Feb2013

Nails can absorb water.

But can they absorb and METABOLIZE vitamins and minerals & strengthen the nail?

The story from Nail Talk Radio.

The actual story starts at 44:30 of the recording.

Some comments shared on the show:

AthenA and Naja contacted Industry Scientist- Doug Schoon. Some of the things they report he said were that  that it’s very difficult to penetrate the nail plate with anything but water. That the nail plate contains virtually no calcium & that calcium is NOT a benefit to the nail.  He also states that vitamins may not be added to cosmetics because they have no nutritional value.  If vitamins are added to artificial nail coatings, most will remain trapped inside the nail coating and very little if ANY will be able to penetrate the nail plate. If vitamins did penetrate the nail plate, they would not help except for those that are free-radical scavengers could prevent formation of potentially damaging free-radicals, kind of like vitamin E.

He also states ‘puffery’ is one thing, but companies that make blatantly false claims such as ‘chemical free’ should not get your business. He says the best way to keep nails healthy is to properly apply and remove nail coatings. Improper removal of nail coatings causes a tremendous amount of damage to client’s nails and is easily avoided.

AthenA and Naja also chatted with Industry Chemist – Jim McConnell.   He shared with them “any company that makes a claim that putting calcium or any other additive into a uv nail product is simply selling you more than uv gel (insert humour/sarcasm here).  Don’t take these claims to heart, and think about whether a mineral or oil when added to a uv gel could actually make your nails stronger, OR is it just the gel making the nail stronger (as in not affecting the natural nail at all, but simply PROTECTING it with an armour).


If you want to keep on top of things in the Industry, you can find Nail Talk Radio here on Facebook at

And their online radio station is found here

Athena & Naja give the straight talk on the nail biz! Current trends, interviews w celebrity manicurists, industry leaders & product reviews. Experts nail it right here! WHEN IS NAIL TALK RADIO ON? Monday evenings …