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Full Version: Advice with changing from Acrylic to Gel
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I am having a lot of new referrals for clients taking off their acrylic. they have been going to a place where they thought they were getting gel but of course we know the story.
I have removal down well. The 3 I have had (have 2 more coming in) all wanted to go to gel polish.
What do you suggest in the interim while growing out the damaged areas.

Kara.. best not to dwell with them as to what they thought they had VS what you know they had Smile just make the switch Smile

So.. what I suggest is a thin layer or 2 of hard or soak off gels under the gel polish.. you can discontinue that after 4-6 2 week visits.. this will allow the transition, enough flexibility to help them learn how to behave with less product on their nails, product that is more flexible and less rigid than what they had. Educate them well as to what they can expect... some level of lifting and or peeling on the free edge for a while.. if they have too much its possible they nails just cant tolerate the lighweight gels and they need acrylics. You can try primer on free edges to help the peeling/lifting too. As their nails grow out, they should return to their normal thickness and strength.. so just keep reminding them its not a miracle process, but patience process!

to transition them, I'd put a layer or two of hard gel down, then apply the sog over it. The hard gel will give the nails strength as they continue to grow out. Filling it would be an option and it will give you an opportunity to educate the client on what REAL gel is supposed to look like.

oops, sorry, I see Deb basically said the same thing. We were posting at the same time.

Thanks very much. That's what I was thinking but was unsure to use hard gel or soak off gel. The first I did just gel polish and it lasted ok, about a week and a half , but free edges are so fragile I thought she needs more strength. I will try the soak off gel first. Do you charge extra for this? Should we also keep the nails fairly short? I was thinking this would be better.
I have said it will be a process and will take time as you have said so that I had that right Smile I think its frustrating for them as they think they are bugging me when they get an issue. I am fairly new still and trying to build a clientele so I want to make sure I do it all as best I can and provide great customer service but also getting what I am worth.
I had not really thought about what they were used to doing with acrylic and they will also have to make that adjustment and behave ( I love that lol)
Thanks ladies!
let them know they are not buggering you Smile The soak off gel (not gel polish here but "soak off" - soaks off in 20 minutes +/-) is softer than hard gel.. so you need to make an executive decision there based on what you see, what their day to day is (heavy cleaner or princess!)

Charge more?? personally I would not.. sounds like you have the time (not booked solid) so I would extend myself this way.. gently letting them know you are doing so.. and gently thanking them for allowing you to learn with their transitions.. I never shy'ed away from telling my clients it was experiment time and they were the guinea pigs Smile I also never went dipping into their wallets.. they appreciated that and spread the word I was fair and decent - oh and did nice nails too Smile

(Donna when I saw your post I figured we were reply at the same time Smile )
All you are saying about not charging more is what I have been doing thus far. Some on here say charge for every little thing you do etc, but I was thinking that same as your saying. And that's why I think they are referring to me. Its nice to hear others feel the same as me. Thanks again for your post and is has helped a lot. Being an older new nail tech (2nd career) i have lots of experience is great customer service, I just sometimes second guess what I am doing. i will add either the soak off gel or hard gel depending on the client for this 6 week period. Smile
When someone comes to me with acrylics from another salon, and potential (likely?) damage to the natural nail, I've had great success with filing off most, but not all, of the acrylic, using the following process:

-Shorten the nails to fingertip length (before removing any product) by filing, not clipping
-Thin the existing product down so that it still provides some strength, but not very thick. Taper the product at the free edge so that it will be thinner and just make sure there is a smooth transition at the cuticle end
-Continue with prep and application of gel polish as usual

-When they come for the next appointment, I file a bit more acrylic off, and by the third appointment they are typically down to just gel polish on their nails.

The biggest reason I do it this way is that I never want to expose the unhealthy (thin) nail all the way. By leaving some of the old product on, the free edge is far sturdier so clients can go two weeks without chipping.

If you are planning to soak off the gel polish, this system probably wouldn't work for you, but it is another alternative. When I do gel polish, I never soak off - I file off old product. This is one of the reasons that I always do two layers of base coat, since it gives me a buffer zone for filing off without going down to the natural nail. I also always use Cuccio's gel polish top coat, since it is the strongest one of all the ones I've tried - it all but eliminated chipping with all my clients.

As for charging - I generally charge $15 for the transition service (this is half of what I charge for a full soak off), plus my regular price for a gel polish manicure. Clients know in these situations that they are getting more work done on them, and they really aren't ever shocked when they have to pay for said work! I'm not sure why charging for your work and your time (not to mention your tools, product & overhead for the time) is being looked at as dipping into the clients wallet or charging for every little thing. If you had a bad color job and went to a stylist to get it stripped out, then a new service done - they would charge for the extra step. If you go to a restaurant and want an appetizer before your dinner, they would charge for it. If you were a secretary and your boss only wanted to pay you for 40 minutes of every hour worked... you get the idea! Smile

There are many perks that I build into services with no extra charge - my loyalty program that lets them earn free add-ons/retail items, a gel top coat for every service (including acrylics), sugar scrub with hot towels at the end of enhancement services are just a few. But when it comes to something that is not normally part of a service, you should be compensated for it IMHO.

If you want to offer an incentive to new clients, that's great, and done right can really help you build. But just be careful that giving services or add-ons away for free doesn't become part of the mind-set for your clients, because that's one thing that can be really hard to change going forward. It can also be really difficult to change if it becomes part of YOUR mindset, where you are afraid to charge what you must in order to be profitable - I've seen it over and over where techs who have been in the business for a long time realize that their prices are too low, and that they should be charging for add-ons and extra work, but now they're afraid to make the necessary changes for fear of losing clients.
Thanks for your reply Candice. Always lots of good stuff! I should say I did charge for the time it took to file down the acrylic. That I do want to be compensated for. I was mostly asking about extra gel etc. lots to keep learning and I appreciate the time it takes to post answers! Thank you Smile
I guess charging for the product depends... what does your service menu look like? On mine I have a hard gel overlay with gel polish as one service, and a gel polish mani as another. So in that case if I were to decide to use the hard gel as a strengthener as others have suggested, then I would charge for the first service. If I were only applying the gel polish then I would charge for the second. Still, of course, charging something for the filing off. For my menu this wouldn't be a matter of charging "extra" for the hard gel, it would be a matter of charging according to what I'm putting on the nails and what my menu says that service is.
That was a really weird way of saying that - hope it makes sense.
Totally makes sense...My menu is basic but I see as I am growing and learning I need to add more.

you have said that you always do 2 coats of base for gel polish.

I am doing SOG overlay first...Steps

1) prep

2) ph balance

3) axxium base coat 1 coat

4) axxium SOG clear overlay 1 coat ?? or 2?

now can I go right to gel polish or do I need to put the base for the OPI colorgel on over the axxum

Their directions are not clear.

Thanks so much!

I'm not really sure what those different products are... are you trying to do all gel polish? or a combination with a soak off builder gel? I will try to list steps both ways, for less confusion instead of naming branded products, I'll say hard gel for traditional gel, or gp referring to gel polish lines... hopefully that will make things clearer

If I were going to convert to hard gel overlay with gel polish:
-file off 90% of old acrylic
-prep new growth area, blend in old growth area so the nail is relatively smooth
-I don't use PH balance unless the client has oily nail plates
-protein bond over the entire nail
-hard gel base coat, cure
-thin layer of a hard builder gel, cure
-*two layers of gp color, curing each of course Smile
-**gp top coat, cure

*There is generally no need to use the gp base coat if you are applying gp on top of a hard gel. Any time there is a need to wipe off a sticky layer (regardless of the reason) I always reapply protein bonder to make everything sticky again.

**Any time I use color gp, I finish with a gp top coat, even if I have builder gel underneath. Just my experience that the gp top coat holds the shine better than using a hard gel top coat over the top of gp.

If I were going to convert old acrylics straight to gel polish:
-file of 80-85% of old acrylic
Then continue the exact same as I would if the client came in with nothing on their nails
-prep new growth area, blending in old product
-PH balance for oily nails
-protein bond over the entire nail
-gp base coat, cure
-gp base coat, cure
-gp color, cure
-gp color, cure
-gp top coat, cure

*Even though I'm leaving some of the old product on, when I go into my gp application I do it as if that acrylic doesn't exist - I am counting the old acrylic as if it were just a client's natural nail, since the purpose of leaving it on is to shore up the weakness of the unfortunately damaged natural nail.

I hope that makes sense and that you can just substitute the specific products from your OPI line. They really muddied the water by having gel polish, soakable, and hard gels under the same product name. Fail. Big Grin
Perfect! Got it and thanks again!!
You're welcome... hopefully if anyone else has variations in how they do it they can add their specific steps here. When one way doesn't work for you, it can be helpful to know of other tricks/steps to try!
If I have someone transitioning from acrylic to gel, I just fill with gel, but I use the Nailite extra hard gel as opposed to the stylus. For a couple fills anyway. If someone wants just gel polish, I will do that, but as a rule, my clients, unless a princess, don't care for just plain gel polish. Most of them want/need the durability of a hard gel underneath. I use one or two layers of the hard gel, depending on the thickness of their nails.
The advice about filing off all the acrylic over a couple of sessions is great, I need to try that in the future.

Also just chipping in to say I have used just 1 coat of gel base under my SOG's and it's worked very well for thin/overfiled/any kind of previous damaged nails
This is too funny... I've converted three ladies from acrylics to gel polish in the past week! It doesn't usually come up so often. Smile
Candice Ea and beautytech, I really love how you guys give such comprehensive responses, how nice of you both to give your expertise so easily, it's really fantastic to get opinions and views from experienced nail pros.

On this subject, can I put my twopence worth-moving clients from A to GP is sooo easy,if you are using Gelish fill with structure gel( file off as much product as you can first)then apply gelish as normal.
If you are using Shellac file off as muchacrylic also and then apply smoothing gel then apply shellac as normal and ditto with whatever brand you have chosen-keep it simple x
mrs o, thanks! You've got the procedure down to a science for your brands.. its really just a matter of a stronger gel as a base for 4+ fills then you should be able to start discontinuing that and just stick with the gel polish. The client must be informed that there is the possibility their nails may not be strong enough to gel polish alone when they have completely grown out.. I don't think its a good idea to keep them in the dark about that possibility..
(10-15-2013, 11:22 PM) Wrote: [ -> ]mrs o, thanks! You've got the procedure down to a science for your brands.. its really just a matter of a stronger gel as a base for 4+ fills then you should be able to start discontinuing that and just stick with the gel polish. The client must be informed that there is the possibility their nails may not be strong enough to gel polish alone when they have completely grown out.. I don't think its a good idea to keep them in the dark about that possibility..

I 100 per cent agree, and while I adore Gel polishes for their simplicity, there are clients who want length and are not candidates for this service. I think moving a client from enhancements to GP is great for those who wear short nails anyway, and is the obvious step.
However this is where the real pros come in...the people who need more can have a consultation and start with L and P or Gel enhancements( full sets) with a view to grow their own eventually and then move to a GP service
Thanks Mrs. O. Just to put it out there - with my application methods and the 2 brands of gel polish that I favor, I have many clients who wear their nails quite long with just gel polish. My nails I start them with reapplication at almost 3/8" past the end of my finger tips, and sometimes go 4-6 weeks with no chipping or breaking. Though I really do try to keep them fresh by doing them every two weeks. Smile