What to Expect the First Time You Get Solar Nails
Arm yourself with a little knowledge before you go to the salon so you don't get surprised!
The first time I got solar nails (which are sometimes incorrectly called acrylic nails), I had no idea what to expect. Because I didn't really know what was going on, I got some surprises that made it difficult for me to enjoy my nails.
If you are thinking of getting plastic nail extensions, this article will tell you some things you really should know.
While it will not explain the procedure in detail, it does explain the end product and how to make sure you get exactly what you want.
The nails should cost between $25 and $35 (in Texas, anyway). Call ahead to ask in your region.
Acrylic nails are those things your grandma used to get. They are full pieces of plastic that are glued from the root to the tip of your natural nails. They aren't as durable as solar nails, and this article is not about them.
Solar nails are what we're talking about in this article. They consist of a plastic nail extension that is glued to the tip of your own nail and a powder/liquid formula that is painted over the top to seal the entire solar nail.
Solar nails will end up being quite thick. They will be approximately 10 times thicker than your natural nails (which are still underneath them).
You determine the length of your solar nails. You will know how long the manicurist is making your nails by how far she cuts the white plastic tip extension past the tip of your finger.
If you want your nails shorter than what she has cut, speak now or forever hold your peace! Technically, they can be shortened later, but that will take a lot more grinding and filing than if you just say something when she is trimming the thin, white tips.
After your nails are done, they will be noticeably heavier than your original nails. This takes a day or so to get used to. Just ride out that annoying period.
After your nails are done, no matter how much you wash your hands with the special soap and brush in the salon, you will have residue on your fingers.
This is dried powder/liquid that got misplaced while the manicurist was painting the clearish/pinkish sealant on your nails. You can get it off with extra washing, a pumice stone, and time.
7. The Underside of Your Nails
When you look at the underside of your nails, you will see your own nail. Sometimes, the tip of your own nail fits nicely up against the white plastic tip. Other times, it doesn't.
If you're picky, like me, you can get some nail glue at the drug store and use it to fill in the space between your nail and the solar nail.
I think that helps keep crud from getting stuck under your nails, but that's just my opinion. I have no scientific evidence of that.
8. Care and Keeping
One of the risks of having fake nails is that dirt and germs can get caught under and around them, making your nails dirty (at best) or fungus-ridden (at worst).
I like to keep my nails clean by spritzing them with 91% rubbing alcohol and scrubbing under them with a nail brush every single time I wash my hands.
9. Growing Out
After a week, you'll start to see that your nails are growing out, and there is a line between the solar nails and your new natural nails. Apparently, you can get this line smoothed out by having the nail salon fill more acrylic over the new growth.
I don't know much about that because I've never done it, but that's what I hear. If you don't go back to the salon for maintenance, then you can care for your nails yourself by filing down your solar nails when they get too long.
Don't cut them with a clipper because that will significantly weaken the bond between the solar nail and your own, and it hurts.
Over the following two or three weeks, the solar nail will naturally start to wear off, and you'll see clear spots on the edges where it is lifting up from your natural nail.
If it bothers you, you can have the salon soak or grind off the solar nail, or you can just use nail polish to paint over it.
Nail polish seems to adhere to solar nails better than natural nails, so at least you won't have to worry about chips in the color.
10. The End of Your Solar Nails
After three weeks or so, your solar nails (if not filled) will fall off. Sometimes they come off without you noticing, and other times you might need to pry them off with the tip of a metal nail file (or another nail).
This doesn't hurt, and it doesn't damage the underlying natural nail too much. Your natural nail will be weaker than it was before the solar nails were applied, however, so be prepared to deal with about a week's worth of flaking and cracking in your natural nail.
Good luck with your nails!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.