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Full Version: how long does it take to do a full set??
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I am getting back into doing acrylics and it has taken me nearly 2 hours.... I feel like this is forever lol. I think the majority of my time is spent prepping and filing. I've finally started to perfect my application so it doesn't require as much filing...
You're on the right track about perfecting your application skills. How long it takes depends on your skill level. For the most part an hour is the accepted amount of time to do a full set.
I certainly am struggling with my time on doing a full set but it seems I can get a full set on nails that have nothing on them (maybe a bit more than an hour) but am closing in on that.

The problem I am having is clients that come in for a fill. That is taking me an enormous amount of time to get completed; partly due to the perfectionist in me. If the client have several nails needing repair, I typically will take down most of what is left and opt for applying a new nail altogether. By the time I get the nails done we are at the 2 hr plus mark.

Keep in mind the clients I am referring to are not regulars but first timers. In other words, since I am building, I did not put their sets on.

Should I be expecting to increase my speed on these types of clients eventually or is there other wisdom you can share?

It's has been rare to date that I see a client for a fill (again first time visit) that I can lightly file back of old acrylic, prep outgrowth and then apply new acrylic.

At this rate, I think I should be charging more for fills!
When someone comes in for a fill, and their nails have a lot of problem, then I think you're doing right by removing literally all of the product. Here's something you can do to speed it up some, if it can apply to the set of nails you're filling. If the client is going to wear polish over her nails, then it's not critical that all signs of lift need to be filed away. Remove the bulk of the lift without nipping by scoring along the edge of the lift with the corner of your efile bit. A med. carbide works best for this. Once you've scored the outside edge of the lift, you'll be able to use your nippers to raise the lifted edge of the acrylic and it should snap off right at the score line.
Remove all lift first, so you can see the edges of how far it's lifted easily, then prep the new growth as you normally would. I'm sure you're not going to like the look of it, but like I said, with polish over it, it's not going to show. Explain to the client that if they want to be able to wear their nails natural or p/w, then they'll need to book out enough time for you to remove the old stuff and apply fresh.
I've got a step by step in pix if you want to see it like that....and yes, fills DO take longer than f/s's and truly they should cost more, not the other way around!
Donna, I would love to see the pics. Thanks!
If you'll email me at my addy below, I'll send them out to you......there's too many to put on here....and anyone else that wants to see....


It takes me about 40 min to do a set with tips, and 60 for p/w sculpts. A fill is 30 min and a backfill is 60. I also try and keep up on the rebalance every other time so doing the back fill isn't so much work. I would rather paint the white on but my clients don't like it. I believe Donna's steps to be dead on.
It takes some of us longer than others and thats perfectly normal. I would say the hour is one to shoot for, for a new full set.
actually, I found I've got these pix saved in photobucket, so let me see if I can get them up here, reduced in size.

[Image: liftdnaiol-1.jpg]
[Image: trenching.jpg][Image: remvl.jpg]
[Image: trimdnail.jpg]
[Image: prepd.jpg]
[Image: finished.jpg]
sorry for all the different sizes......I tried to reduce them but obviously not doing something can see from the first pic, it had started lifting from the corner, and she tried to 'fix' it on her own by nipping at it with nail clippers which pulled it down even worse......
Thanks, Donna.
It is always nice to have a visual. Smile
It takes me an hour and a half to do a full set. I would like to get in done in an hour. I do all hand filing, no drill.
I file by hand. It takes me about an hour and 15 minutes from sit down to washing and polish.
It takes me about an hour 15-30 minutes (depending on if there is art involved). I would love to be at 40 minutes polish only and 60 with all art done.


When I was an instructor I noticed a lot of students and fellow nail techs doing steps that made it take a little longer.
For me, I do not do any nail shaping until the finish file, while I watched them apply tips, blend them, cut them and shape them, then apply product, and have to re-shape them and instead of apply product more careful, they relied on the file for all the refining work. I steered them away from double steps. Shaping once can cut about 10 min from a set. And building the nail to the desired length, shape, and curve, along with thickness, will help not having to thin the new nail out, or file thick spots out. Does that make sense. I hope I don't sound like I think your doing it wrong, it was just something I have seen over the years.
sobeit :
> When I was an instructor I noticed a lot of students and fellow nail techs
> doing steps that made it take a little longer.
> For me, I do not do any nail shaping until the finish file, while I watched
> them apply tips, blend them, cut them and shape them, then apply product, and
> have to re-shape them and instead of apply product more careful, they relied
> on the file for all the refining work.

It seems like you have a lot of experience. I take longer than I would like doing artificials. Partly because I do more pedicures and Shellac than anything else. Right now I'm at an hr and a half for full sets and for fills.
But this includes a gel top coat and I also hand file.

It has been a while since school and I'm sure that I'm doing double steps.
Do you have or do you know of a good video that shows the best and most efficient technique?



Disneymom, I like Nailzoo on YouTube for acrylic application and fill work. Young nails are not my favorite as I personally think they build their nails way to thick and file it down. Tammy taylor vids are sloppy with the liquid so keep from those.
In my opinion hand filing can be just as quick or quicker than an efile. I think application and double shaping work are usually the slow down. During sculpting take your time applying it as close to the shape and length as you can so your not having to remove length or corners or to much bulk. If your using tips, Blending can be time consuming so if you can, use no well tips. If not the blending products will melt the well area allowing for easier filing. Then cut to length but don't shape, save that for last. We tend to shape the tip, apply acrylic, refine the nail and reshape. *unless your doing gels, you need the seal so shape first*
During a regular fill, it's pretty easy to push cuticles, using great prep to avoid lifting. If there is lifitng file like Donna has shown above, use your hand file at an angle to file a trench just behind the lift, then use your nipper to flake it away, go on to blending any of that old product down. Buff the oils off the outgrowth and dust, dehydrate, prime and apply. Now you can refine, remive lenght and shape.
If its a back fill, you can take down some length if needed first so you don't spend time applying product to an area that is going to be removed in the end.
If its not a rebalance where you remove most of the bulk and recover the nail to the correct balance, then remember up you only need to fill in the outgrowth, if you cover more than that, your having to file it off to keep the thickness down. If you apply in the outgrowth and blend it up gently, then you really just need to refine the new section and buff it so the nail is blended smooth. I am not sure if that lengthy explaination made sence.
If you have any questions you can email me and I will try and explain myself better. I don't want to be confusing.
Nailzoo again, my favorites on YouTube.
[email protected]
It takes me 1.5 hours for a full set, or a backfill. I can do a regular fill (just pink, which I do every other time) in an hour. I have tried to get quicker and I just feel rushed, so I don't worry about it anymore. My customers are happy and have great looking nails so it doesn't really matter. If you can get your times quicker, that is awesome! But if you can't, don't stress- just do your best and they will come back! Smile