TECH TIP - How to work with gel nail products in extreme temperatures
Most modern, reputable gel polishes have been meticulously developed to make application manageable and it doesn't take long before dedicated newbie techs have mastered the art of perfect application. But, a few times a year, Mother Nature can wave her wand and grant us unprecedented weather extremes that can make your usual trusty and compliant fave polish a tricky mistress!
Both the extreme heat and extreme cold, ya know - the times when the fan or the heating blasted at full power just won't cut it - can wreak havoc with your usual go-to methods of application and can leave you feeling flustered and stressed out, not fun when you a day of have back to back clients.
Here, we give you some tips and tricks on how to work with gel polish products on these occasions, whether the mercury is pushing the late 30's 🥵 or if it's plummeting down to Siberian conditions 🥶
Feeling HOT, HOT, HOT! 🔥
Let's start with heat. In our experience, very warm weather is the hardest to mitigate when working with gel products; super runny consistency, more heat spikes, added heat of desk lamps, hot and bothered clients - the list goes on!
Keeping Your Cool
Firstly, it's important to keep your workspace cool, if you're lucky enough to work in a fully air-conditioned salon then feel free to skip this part but for those who work in home or garden salons in particular, this can be a real problem.
It's important to keep your space as cool as you can. Open the doors and windows during the early morning and late evening to make the most of the cooler air and consider installing blackout blinds to keep out the heat of the midday sun. Blackout blinds are also great for keeping out UV light from sunlight that can even be strong enough to cure product while you're actually working with it!
Consider investing in a top-notch fan or air conditioning unit. The prices may appear a little eye-watering but you'll be SO thankful for it once that heatwave rolls around.
Tip! Look at purchasing a fan or air conditioning in the winter, Black Friday or January sales, they'll be cheaper and in stock!
It's also really important to keep your gel products cool. It may seem totally logical to keep them in the fridge but this can cause the product to cool too quickly and disrupt the formula. It can also cool them too much, making the consistency too thick to work with. Instead, try placing your most popular gels in an insulated picnic cooler. This will help to keep the gels at room temperature rather than allowing them to melt on your shelves. It may not be feasible to place your entire collection in a cooler but you can select your most-used shades and leave them in there overnight.
Tip! If even your cooler is hot, try placing a cold can or bottle of water from the fridge in there for 15 mins or so to reduce the internal temperature.
You can also purchase some very cute picnic coolers that would work well with most salon aesthetics. Check out this one by PolarBox from sklum.com
Apply Gel in Thin Coats
In hot weather, applying gel in thinner coats than normal will help you to have more control over the product and prevent running and flooding of the cuticle area and side walls.
You may have noticed that you have to work much quicker with a gel that has a runnier consistency. By applying thinner coats, you give yourself a little extra time to perfect the application before curing.
Consider Changing Your Hours
It may not always be feasible if you're booked up with back to back clients, but if you are a part time tech or have a day when you know you're a little quieter than usual, consider asking your clients if they would mind switching their appointments to earlier in the day or later in the evening with the temperatures are cooler. They may welcome the offer and it means you can spend some time enjoying the lunchtime rays yourself 😎 We're all for a work/life balance here at TWENTY!
Cold as Ice 🥶
While the cold is easier to navigate when it comes to gel products, it still can cause some mischief to builder gels in particular. Builder gels, by nature, are much thicker than regular gel polish so when the temperatures drops, the viscosity (thickness) of the gel increases, making it harder to apply and manipulate around the nail.
If you know you're going to have a builder gel kinda day, select your most popular shades and try out one of the following tricks:
- Wrap it a warm towel, if you haven't got a particularly warm towel handy, try soaking one in hot water, wring out and wrap your bottles or pots inside being careful not to scold yourself in the process!
- Place the bottle or pot in between your legs (ooh la la!) or somewhere warm while you are prepping the nails. By the time you're finished, the gel will be suitably warm and much easier to work with.
- Buy a heated coaster for mugs. This is a great trick that helps to warm the product without significantly heating it and disrupting the formula. Heated mug coasters are relatively inexpensive and can be charged up via USB port.
It's very important not to 'heat' gels, you must simply 'warm' them instead. Gels must never be placed in a microwave, boiling water or left on a radiator for an extended period of time. Remember that gel products are flammable and must never be exposed to extreme heat or flames.
Client with Cold Hands
If you've ever had clients who suffer from particularly cold hands, you'll know that this can cause gel to recede back from the nail's free edge, making application a little more tricky. Consider explaining this to your client and asking them to wear gloves on their way to their appointment next time. Alternatively, you can have a nice warm towel or warming mittens waiting for them to warm their hands in while you get your products together, no doubt they'll appreciate the thought and extra effort you've gone to ☺️
Heated Blankets for the Win!
We're in the middle of a cost of living crisis and everyone is feeling the pinch. Energy prices have soared and while there is talk of them slowly coming down, the cost of heating a salon, while necessary, can be eye watering. That's where the humble heated blanket comes into its own. Costing as little as 4p per hour, a heated blanket is the perfect addition for both you and your client to give that extra toasty feeling on particularly cold days. Yes, they may give off slight 'Nana vibes' draped across the knees, but who cares when you're warm and snuggly underneath!
Just make sure to have them regularly PAT tested, along with your lamp and any other electrical equipment used in your salon to keep your insurance valid.
Thankfully, extreme temperatures are pretty rare but we hope you found our tips and tricks for navigating both the heat and the cold useful. If you have any further tried and tested tips, we’d love to hear them! Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!