Have you ever had your gel nails perfectly cured and ready to go, only to be met with a frustrating sticky layer? We know the feeling – it’s like all your hard work has gone to waste. But fear not, my fellow nail enthusiasts, because I’ll give you the lowdown on what causes that sticky layer and what you can do about it. It’s time to take control of your nail game and say goodbye to that pesky inhibition layer once and for all!
What is the Sticky Layer Left on Gel Nails After Curing?
The sticky layer left on your gel nails after curing is known as the inhibition layer or dispersion layer. It is basically a layer of uncured gel. Oxygen in between the curing light and the nail surface is what leaves the sticky layer behind. If you have fully cured the gel in its corresponding curing unit at the recommended time, you should not be concerned with that layer.
When Will You Deal with the Sticky Layer and What to Do About It?
Unless noted by the gel products you use, every gel will have a sticky layer. Here are the three most common times you will deal with the sticky layer and what should be done to remove it.
- After Curing Each Layer Before Applying Your Top Gel
The sticky inhibition layer that remains after curing allows the product to bond to the next layer. The gel is made up of long chains of polymers that are called oligomers, as well as photoinitiators. Photoinitiators are molecules activated by UV light that connect the oligomers. This is how we get hardened cured gel. After the recommended curing time, the remaining sticky layer is made up of oligomers exposed to oxygen and does not bond to the photoinitiators. You can simply add another coat on top and give those oligomers something to bond with. There’s no reason to wipe that sticky layer away if you’re not done with your application.
- After Applying Your Top Gel
Although intuitively, you may be like, “Wait a minute, this is a ceiling; there cannot possibly be a sticky layer; otherwise, how are they finished?” Don’t worry much quite yet. Wipe required. The top gel is formulated just like your color gels, and when it’s fully cured, you can expect an inhibition layer to remain. Wipe the sticky layer with 90% isopropyl alcohol on a lint-free web to reveal the shine and, of course, get rid of that sticky layer. But fear not; there are non-wipe top coats in both shiny and max finishes. So, if you do not prefer a sticky layer and once you apply your seed lint, you want to just be done, then just know there is that option of non-wipe top gel.
- During Line Work
Up to this point, you’ve applied your layers nearly flawlessly, but you want to spruce them up. You go on to create some line work, except you notice feathering and your thin lines not remaining crisp. What is going on? The sticky layer, in this case, can be wiped off or applied a matte top gel to create a surface ready for painting your nail art. But before doing all that, consider that most Japanese nail colors cure are tack-free. If you suspect an inhibition layer prevents you from painting those crisp lines, consider curing your gel longer or investing in a higher-quality lamp. I always recommend a nail lamp that’s the same brand as the gel you use to ensure compatibility. A sticky layer is not assigned to indicate that you’ve done anything wrong in your application. It is simply a layer of uncured gel that can be removed or sealed with a non-wipe top coat. You can also wipe it down with alcohol if your top gel is the one that’s causing the sticky layer.
A sticky layer on your gel nails is nothing to be afraid of. It’s a natural occurrence that happens when the gel cures, and it can be easily remedied. So don’t let that inhibition layer get in the way of your nail game – with a little bit of tips and tricks, you can conquer it like a pro!
- What causes the sticky layer on gel nails after curing
The sticky layer left on gel nails after curing is caused by oxygen between the curing light and the nail surface, leaving behind a layer of uncured gel known as the inhibition layer or dispersion layer.
- Can I add another gel coat on top of the sticky layer?
Yes, you can simply add another coat of gel on top of the sticky layer to give those exposed oligomers something to bond with.
- What is the difference between a wipe and a non-wipe top coat?
Wipe top coats leave a sticky layer that needs to be wiped off with alcohol, while non-wipe top coats do not leave any sticky layer and are ready to go once cured.
- How can I ensure compatibility between my gel and curing lamp?
It is recommended to use a curing lamp that’s the same brand as the gel you’re using to ensure compatibility.
- What should I do if I’m experiencing feathering during line work on my gel nails?
If you suspect the inhibition layer prevents you from painting crisp lines, consider curing your gel longer or investing in a higher-quality lamp. You can also wipe off the inhibition layer with alcohol or apply a matte top coat to create a surface ready for painting.