Preparing and Base Coating Fingernails

By Laura Morgan

It is very important to begin an airbrush project with properly prepared "canvas." Color retention will suffer if fingernails are not clean and sanitized, free from polish remover residue, lotion, oil, or soap residue.


High-gloss coatings used to seal gel nails will cause color retention problems as well because they are designed to be topcoats, not base coats. Take the glass-like shine off with a fine buffer to make it more retention friendly before applying the paint-on airbrush basecoat.


Basic Steps


1.Wash nails with soap and water to remove oil or lotions from the top and undersides.


2. Generously wipe nails with a nail-sanitizing product.


3. Apply paint on airbrush basecoat. Cover nails completely and wrap base around edges of nails. (Substituting the manufacturer recommended base or topcoat for any other may negatively affect retention.)


4. Allow to fan-dry for 2 minutes.


5. Spray airbrush color/s using the design medium of your choice.


6. Spray varnish lightly over nails after all color has been applied (if recommended by the manufacturer).


7. Carefully apply 2 coats of Airbrush Topcoat. Apply a coat every other day or so to re-shine and extend wear. Substituting with a topcoat not intended for airbrush may cause paint to smear or crackle.


Topcoat Application Technique


Apply topcoat with a light touch and a generous amount on the brush. Be careful not to dig brush bristles into the fragile paint. Apply fairly quickly and avoid excessive strokes. Fan-dry for 2-3 minutes.


Helpful Hints


• Spray airbrush paint in ultra-light layers, gradually building color to the desired intensity. Wet puddles of paint will not set up properly. Even after they dry, retention will be compromised. If you are seeing a wet-looking spray surface, work at eliminating this in your technique. Mist paint along the edge of the free edge by bending the finger slightly upward while you spray along the edge.


• Use the manufacturer recommended base and top coatings for airbrush.Any substitutions may greatly affect the outcome.


• Allow adequate time for the topcoat to set up completely. Studies show that if the wearer is hard on her nails within 1 hour of polish application, retention will suffer. This applies to regular nail enamel as well.


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