Understanding the drying stages of liquid and powder acrylic

To get the perfect product control you have to understand the chemistry between monomer and polymer and the stages to the curing process of acrylic to know when you should work with your bead.  Understanding this is the first stage for a long lasting enhancement, good natural nail and client health.

  • Wet stage – when you pick up the bead, it is fully loaded with monomer and the acrylic would just stick to your brush if worked with in this stage.
  • Gel stage – where you push and pat the acrylic into the place where it is needed. The bead is still shiny and plumps up like it has swelled from the constant drip feed of monomer still in your brush.  Because acrylic is attracted to acrylic, you need to be careful not to over play with the product at this stage to avoid getting the acrylic stuck into your brush.
  • Mouldable stage - the surface loses its shine and at the time where it goes dull is when you are able to mould your bead into place by pressing, pushing and stretching with your brush. This is the pinching and 3D working stage. 
  • Set stage – the product is now hard. Although the product has not cured enough ready for the filing stage, it is now non-movable. 

This is the first stage to mastering pinching techniques.

When do you know when to pinch?

The best way to tell what stage your nail enhancement is ready to pinch is by tapping it with something firm like a nail brush, file, pinching tool. 

What sound does it make?

No sound - still at gel stage, not able to be moulded or pinched.

Soft tap - mouldable stage. Can be pinched.

This sound can be likened to the postmans knock (or Hermes!). You know the one, you don't hear it, yet you receive a 'sorry we missed you card'!

Hard tap - set stage. Not pinchable as will not move.

This is the bailiffs knock - they are making sure they are heard! It is a unmissable knock!

There can be some confusing to the differences between gel and acrylic, especially when clients request one with the assumption that one is superior to the other. Want to learn more about the differences between acrylic and gel? Click here.

We hope this was a useful guide on learning when to pinch your nails and when to work with your acrylic liquid and powder products.

Want to learn more? Check out our gel polish troubleshooting guide here.

If you found it helpful, let us know in the comments below.


1 comment

  • Charlene

    Golden advice!!!

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