I just got those special “Solar Nails”

Well maybe you did not get anything as special as the nail technician lead you and your wallet to belive. This article is extremely long, but very important for every woman and man who patronizes salons for nail services to read. If you have read some of the news articles here or at www.beautytech.INFO about the damage done, in some cases permanent, to consumers, you owe it to your health to be more informed. Nail services is not simply a beautification process, it involves the use of chemicals which could cause you harm if not properly applied. First and foremost it is utterly important for all consumers receiving nail services to understand that these services are supposed to be relaxing and pleasurable, NOT painful. 

  • If the technician hurts you – LEAVE
  • If the salon is dirty – LEAVE
  • If the technician is using DIRTY, USED implements, files etc on you – LEAVE
  • If the technician is using chemicals in unmarked containers – LEAVE
  • If the technician can not/will not answer your questions about the products used – LEAVE
  • If the technician can not/will not answer your questions about their sanitation procedures – LEAVE
  • If you are getting any type of enhancement service and the technician is slopping product all over, getting it on your skin – LEAVE
  • If the technician attempts to PRY or RIP off your current enhancements – LEAVE — LEAVE RIGHT NOW — LEAVE IMMEDIATELY 

Nail services should NOT be painful. If the technician is causing you ANY pain, seek out another more qualified technician immediately, DO NOT allow the technician to continue the service. Seek out the state’s complaint form and submit it promptly with photos if possible. Many states will only act upon receiving complaints from consumers. Nail technicians across the country and around the world have been commenting that some salons are “duping” their clients by stating they are receiving a special service and charging more money when in reality they are getting a very common normal service with a fancy name at an inflated price.  

You need to understand the basic types of fingernail enhancement services and their differences to know what you are paying for:    

  • Acrylic is a liquid & powder mixed, applied with a brush that will harden (cure) with no lamp in 2 minutes or less.
  • Gel is, in basic terms, pre mixed acrylic in a gel like state, that almost always needs to be cured under a UV lamp, Acrylic usually has an odor while gels are general completely odorless. Gels often will cost slightly more than acrylic.
  • Silk (interchangeable with fiberglass and sometimes linen) is applied with resin (glue) and sometimes glue & acrylic powder (Dip System).
  • Acrylic Dips is the use of resin applied tot he nail, then dipped or sprinkled with acrylic powder
  • Crystal nails is any type of enhancement done with CLEAR acrylic, gel or resin either with clear tips or sculpted.
  • All of the above systems can be applied:
    • Directly on your nail (overlay)
    • On tips that have been applied with resin (glue) or acrylic
    • Sculpted using a paper, plastic or metal form.
  • All of the above types of services can be finished with a UV gel top coat to protect the enhancement. The UV coating is applied either with a brush or polished on and is “cured” under a UV lamp for around 3 minutes. UV top coats are very protective to the enhancement and will need to be filed off at your next appointment. There might be a slight additional charge for this extra.
  • A “French Manicure” can be done using several different techniques – #2,3,4 are also referred to as “Pink & Whites or “Permanent French” – #3,4 will usually cost more:
    1. Using polish over any type of enhancement or natural nails
    2. Applying white tips with a clear or sheer pink acrylic or gel, or resin with fiberglass or acrylic powder.
    3. Applying natural colored tips with white acrylic or gel, resin with fiberglass or acrylic powder in the tip and clear or a sheer pink on the nail bed.
    4. Using a “form” and sculpting the white tip using acrylic, or gel and clear or a sheer pink on the nail bed.
    5. Airbrushed over any enhancement or natural nail
Examples of typical scams include:
  • SOLAR NAILS – Solar Nails is a BRAND of acrylic manufactured by Creative Nail Design. It is one of the original brands. It is a true acrylic and nothing more. 
  • GEL NAILS – which are actually acrylics with a UV gel top coat
  • CRYSTAL NAILS – simply a clear tip with clear acrylic overlaid on the entire enhancement
  • PORCELAIN NAILS – nothing more than acrylic or gels possibly with a UV gel top coat
  • DIAMOND NAILS – the reason these are “more expensive” is because they are hard like diamonds
  • BAIT & SWITCH – salons will have three jars on the table, possibly hand labeled, one says acrylic, one says gel and one says fiberglass. They are all acrylic, but the consumer will be told fiberglass and gel are better for their nails and cost more 
  • SHELLAC’D WHEN IT’S NOT– A regular polish with a UV top coat is NOT “Shellac” or any of the new Gel Polish brands (eco So Quick, Gelish etc). A UV Top coat (needing to put your hands in a lamp to “cure”) will NOT allow the polish underneath to dry properly. If the salon is selling you a “Gel Polish Service” no matter what brand or what they call it, EVERY layer needs to be cured under the UV lamp. Ask to see the bottle or jar WITH a brand name on it.

NONE of the above services are anything special, nor should they incur any additional cost.  


Additional information about acrylic liquid monomer chemicals: The 2 types of acrylic liquid monomer chemical used in our industry are: 

EMA – Ethyl Methacrylate 

MMA – Methyl Methacrylate.  

  • The CIR (Cosmetic Review Board) has tested the more commonly used EMA liquid and found it “safe enough to be used by the consumer” but recommend it to be used by trained professionals. (7/99) 
  • The NMC (Nail Manufacturers Council) and the ABA (American Beauty Council) have also “taken the position that MMA should not be used in nail products”. (9/7/01)
  • The FDA, as far back as early 1970’s, has stated, and still states, that MMA is a poisonous and deleterious substance and should not be used in liquid acrylic monomer for nail products. 3/2000 
  • Electric File Drill DamageMMA is a very hard substance when cured (dry). Removal and maintenance of a MMA enhancement usually involves the use of a drill (electric file or e-file as we call it). E-files, when used by a technician who has been fully trained, are not dangerous or harmful to the natural nail plate. However, many who use this tool are untrained and have been known to cause pain and excessive damage to the nail plate – rings of fire – by drilling into the nail plate, sometimes THROUGH the nail plate into the nail bed (sometimes this causes permanent damage). 
  • When a nail enhancement of MMA is banged or knocked, it has little to no flexibility and will break severely, often taking the nail plate with it. EMA is formulated to be flexible, the enhancement will break or crack, sometimes the nail will break off, but will not usually damage the nail plate. 
  • MMA does not soak off easily or in a reasonable length of time, causing undue exposure to acetone while soaking. Most Non-Standard salons (NSS*) will simply RIP the nails off or pry them off causing extreme damage to the natural nail plate. If a weakened nail plate or damaged nail plate is already present, (normal is when MMA is used) the exposure problems while soaking off MMA become a larger concern, not to mention the ill effects and pain of ripping off the enhancements. EMA should take about 20 minutes or less to soak off, while MMA will take two or more hours to remove by soaking in acetone. 
  • To make MMA adhere well to the nail, overly rough preparation methods are used. The nail plate is “roughed up” with a coarse file or an electric file, creating in effect, a shag carpet look to the nail plate, giving the MMA something to adhere to. This process thins and weakens the nail plate allowing more chemicals to be absorbed through the weakened nail plate during application and curing time. All acrylic enhancements, while hard enough to file in 1-4 minutes, continue to cure for as long as 36-48 hours after application.  

Warning signs of MMA use: 

  •  MMA has an unusually strong or strange odor which doesn’t smell like other acrylic liquids. Odor is present during application and when filing cured product (for fill-ins or repairs).  
  • Enhancements which are extremely hard and very difficult to file even with coarse abrasives.  
  • Enhancements that will not soak off in solvents designed to remove acrylics.   
  • Cloudy or milky color when cured. 

Additional warning signs though less definitive: 

  • Low price of fills and full sets (MMA cost 1/3 of EMA) 

  • Dust or ventilation masks used (many technicians use dust masks today who do not use MMA) 
  • Unlabeled containers – technician will not show or tell the client what brand of product is being used   

 MMA is present in almost every acrylic polymer (powder) on the market. This is entirely acceptable. Only MMA in it’s liquid form is dangerous. Nail glues, wraps, and gels also have a small amount of solid PMMA, this is also acceptable in this chemical state.

* A Non-Standard Salon (NSS) is usually lacking in or follows poor sanitation practices, uses inferior and/or prohibited products, and under trained or non-licensed technicians.  


About ShelteredStitches

Webmaster, NY & VA Licensed Nail Specialist, sew'er/quilter
This entry was posted in Acrylic Nails, Electric Files, Gel Nails, Sanitation/Health and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to I just got those special “Solar Nails”

  1. Excellent article! 100% true and accurate!

  2. Pingback: My friend got me a nail salon voucher? « Nails Burleigh Heads

  3. Chrys says:

    i was wondering if gel can be used as a fill over solar nail?

    • It depends on what the salon used that they are calling “Solar Nail”. Solar Nail used to be a brand of acrylic by CND (Creative Nail Design). Many salons used the words but not the products, they also charged you more for those special “Solar Nails”. Most often “Solar Nails” means a Glue & Powder dip system, or maybe clear acrylic. Not all products can be filled with other products. Specifically any glue sytem – wraps, dips systems – will not do well being filled with gel or acrylic.

  4. I won’t touch anyone with nails that look like the above pictures.
    Do you understand why “their” nails are cheaper? “They” know what their crap is worth.
    It’s interesting that I keep seeing nail art that is covering this type of damage.
    No amount of “art” is worth the possible permanant damage to the natural nail.
    Possible permanant illness to the client.
    Double yikes.

  5. michele Clemo says:


    Although I agree with most of this article. I do not agree with the statement that “gels are acrylic with UV topcoat”. This is true with many nail salons. But Light Elegance is NOT an acrylic it is a gel product. A product I have used since its beginning. There are many salons out there that don’t lie to their customers. So maybe a little more research would be good!

    • Michelle, thanks for your comment. Light Elegance is a wonderful professional product. I belive you mis-read the statement:

      Examples of typical scams include:
      ■GEL NAILS – which are actually acrylics with a UV gel top coat

      Many NSS (Non-Standard Salons) tell their customers they are getting gel nails when indeed most often they are getting acrylics with a UV top coat – and they charge extra for this “speical gel service” – so that comment was made explaining how the NSS scams can be worded to the customers (I hesitate to call them clients).

    • Rebecca says:

      The top of that part of the article was titled, “Examples of typical scams include” what they are saying is that they(Non-Standard salons, NNS) will tell you that you are getting gels when really you are getting acrylic with gel over the top, hence the “scam” so they can charge more for so called gels. When I first read this I thought the same thing. My new clients at their first apt tell me they have gel and the NNS salons assured them that was what they are getting and when I file it off I can smell the acrylic, yuk! I have been using a Gelousy brand gels for over 20 years with NO acrylics 🙂

  6. kerry says:

    this is so imformative here in jamaica they just looking for nice colors,and fancy art work. they dont even bother to check about bacteria santisation and fungus treament i hope they read this.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention I just got those special “Solar Nails” | Beautytech.Info Blog -- Topsy.com

  8. Kerrie says:

    I hope people read this!!! It is very important, and some just don’t pay attention, when they think they are getting a deal. Thank you for posting this. It is well said!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s