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How to ruin your nails? [PART 1]

Onycholysis, filing through, nail detachment, and other horrors of the nail world

We once wrote on our blog about how to work with problem nails. What if the client has signs of fungus? What if the nails are thin and brittle? How to correctly hint and recommend the client to visit the doctor? And in this situation, embarrassment is not appropriate: you are a nail stylist, not a doctor, and a specialist in a narrow profile should deal with nail diseases.  

But what about the acquired problems? We have repeatedly insisted that all tools must be sterilized or disposable. You need to take care of the client’s safety, and not forget about your own: put on gloves and a mask, keep the workplace clean, use only professional tools, and high-quality materials.

Because the price of carelessness is very high, filing through and nail detachment  have become classics of negative reviews, and there are tens of thousands of Google searches “how to treat onycholysis.” These are the consequences of careless manicure, the technician’s low qualifications, non-compliance with sterilization rules, and the instrument’s disinfection. And unfortunately, it can be challenging to fix these mistakes.

Well, let’s get acquainted with the main villains of the nail world.

Nails detachment 

And let’s start with a seemingly “harmless” character. A nail detachment of gel polish is the result of manicure mistakes. Did you not finish drying the coating? Mechanical damage to the nail? As a result: the polish will not last the promised time, and dust, water, microorganisms, and absolutely anything can get into the place of the split. It is a lovely place for fungus development: dark, humid, without regular oxygen access. In an unfortunate combination of circumstances, it threatens with infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

But this is if the detachment is not touched. And clients often can`t help but break off, tear off and peel off polish – “improve manicure,” in a word. In this case, you will not have to wait long for mechanical damage to the matrix and the nail’s body.

ADVICE FOR THE TECHNICIAN: Do not rush. Only a professional who has perfected all movements to automatism can make a manicure in an hour. Give yourself time, approach the question responsibly and carefully: the client is essential not only for the result (beautiful nails) but also for safety and a relaxing atmosphere.


To file nail through.

Hardware manicure is a great invention, and it’s excellent that nail stylists have the opportunity to speed up their work and make their manicure more accurate. But in an inexperienced technician’s hands, the device can file the nail through – damage to the nail – and further problems.

Here’s a typical scenario:

  1. The nail stylist tries to remove as much cuticle as possible;
  2. Nail technician miscalculating presses harder on the drill bit and damages the nail (file through);
  3. Covers this cut with gel polish
  4. During drying, the gel heats up and burns.

What will happen next – random and test the client’s luck. In the worst case, the nail comes off, and the nail technician cleans and prosthetics the nail, and subsequently, a fungus starts.

ADVICE FOR THE TECHNICIAN: Do not press hard on the drill bit. Harder does not mean better, and the cuticle does not have to be cleaned deeply. Remember the body’s compensatory characteristics: the cuticle protects the nail, and the body will grow it with a margin next time to prevent damage.



Since we mentioned the fungus in that article, let’s talk about it. Fungal diseases are often found in classic or combi manicure lovers.

Scientists from Rutgers University surveyed 90 people – regular visitors to beauty salons. According to their research, 52% of participants experienced a rash or fungal infection.

No contact with lymph or blood is necessary for the development of the fungus. It is quite enough to file the nail plate with a poorly processed nail file, on which pathogens remain. Therefore, disposable files are not just a whim but a necessity!

ADVICE FOR THE TECHNICIAN: Do not neglect tools with disposable abrasives. Be sure to change your nail file before each new client; use removable files. It’s good that the STALEKS PRO brand has something to offer: there are abrasives in a pack, in a roll-Donut, and the form of a papMam case. Wide variety for every taste and budget.



It is the name of the detachment of the nail plate from the bed. It happens for various reasons: from traumatic injury to fungal infection, but, according to the technician’s words, onycholysis cases have become more frequent after the appearance of gel polish.

Why? Low-quality material, burns in the lamp, poorly dried coating. Often this is also a combination of factors: it is enough to worse the immune system, injure the nail or start treatment – voila, nails look far from like on Instagram.

Also, the prolonged continuous wearing of gel polish, hypoxia of the subungual tissues occurs, i.e., violation of microcirculation, when the supply of nutrients and oxygen decreases.

In severe cases, a fungus can join onycholysis. This disease was called onychomycosis. If you do not treat it immediately, then later,  an infection and onycholysis spread to other fingers. It leads to even more discomfort and longer treatment. 

ADVICE FOR THE TECHNICIAN: Use only high quality! Manicure is not a case when you need to save money (it`s a message to technicians and clients). The nail stylist should carefully select the base coat for the client’s nail type to minimize the risks. For example, you can try less acidic basecoats. And, of course, with onychomycosis and fungal infection of the nails, it is worth dissuading the client from coating with gel polish.



Is it scary? I bet it is. Therefore, as a brand, we never tire of repeating: safety comes first. Do not skimp on quality materials, improve your knowledge, take advanced training courses, and use only professional tools and disposable abrasives.

And in part 2 of our article, we will talk about other nail diseases: how not to get furunculosis during a pedicure, why does the nail plate become thin and brittle, and is there a risk of getting melanoma from an ultraviolet lamp?

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