by Heather Grecko
Look at building a nail the same as you would building a house. There are different types of foundations depending on the environment the house is being built. For example, concrete slab foundations are for areas with little to no chance of overland flooding, basement foundations for regions that are stable soil and do not have groundwater or stone, crawl space foundations for areas with large groundwater tables, and pier foundations for areas of overland water often used in oceanfront properties.
Why a construction analogy? Well, are we not constructors of nails? With that said it is essential for us to do a client consultation before performing a nail service. We need to know the environment the nails are going to be worn, the health of the nail, health of the client and type of nail.
LCN bonders are unique because we can customize our service for each client. We are not all the same so therefore why put the same product on every client and expect it will work the same on everyone? LCN has so many bonders it can be somewhat daunting and confusing, leaving us scratching our heads. However, if they are used correctly and on the right client, we will have guaranteed success. They can also be used together to double bond, and why not? The customization is endless!
Let’s start with Connex Silver Plus. This is a non-acidic contact facilitator used on the natural nail only. It was one of the first bonders. It has anti-microbial properties. The best way is to turn the bottle upside down and back, open the lid and use the Connex brush to touch the inside of the lid and put the product at the base of the cuticle only.
One dip can do five fingers, remember less is more! Also, make sure to let it air dry at least two minutes and do not rush this.
The purpose of connex is to sink into the porous nail and stay in the nail fibres, and the excess will evaporate. If it is not dry, it can cause opposite results, and you will have bonding issues! Apply this before Wilde Pedique on toes or Ultra Bond as a pre-bond.
Next up, Bio Bond which is a non-acidic bonder that has urea in it and is meant to hydrate the nails. This bonder is only to be used on nails that are peeling from underneath and in a dry environment! Never use this bonder on an oily nail plate.
If you are not sure that you have an oily nail plate, here is how to tell? The natural nail at the growth prior to nail prep will be very shiny. Bio bond is applied like Connex but is cured.
Ultra Bond has replaced Bonder Intense which replaced the original bonder. This is a light-cured non-acidic bonder used on relatively healthy nails. The trick to using this bonder is to apply it so thin that we can still see the roughness of the prepped nail!
A tip for applying Ulta Bond cut a Connex brush in half. Use this to “smoosh” the bonder into the whole nail. Once again, less is more. More is just money in the garbage due to overuse and clients returning for repairs!
The reason bonders are applied lightly is that they are not intended to build nor do they have the flexibility of a builder. It’s like a big bodybuilder doing yoga! Too much bond to have the flex, it just doesn’t work! Leave the heavy shaping for the builders.
In this day and age, it seems no one has virgin nails anymore, and the pH levels of the nails we see now have been tampered with by high acidic solvents and products. Worse yet the dreaded at home YouTuber with online purchased products from anywhere! The tech has no idea what has been on the client’s nails. This is the reason LCN provided acid based bonders.
Base Gel Xtra has 10% acid and acidic bonding properties. This is great when transitioning a client, in a fill from an unknown product. It is used the same way as Ultra Bond thin and sparingly. However, mark your brush to indicate acid-base.
AFO Nail Foundation is liquid and is applied at the base of the nail like Connex plus and work out of the lid as well. It is 1.6 in acid properties. It is a low level, and this can be used for the mind lifting client or who has a problem finger.
That takes us to AFO Bonding Gel which is the highest level of acid 16.5 with powerful non-acidic bonding properties! The go-to LCN bonder when changing a client from acrylic nails. Make sure you use a separate brush for this one.
Over time you will transition clients from the higher acidic bonders to non-acidic as they can be dehydrating and can cause peeling of the nails from underneath. There are those clients that have oily nail plates or high moisture in their skin that may wear this all the time! It is merely trial and error.
Lastly, we have the LCN Quick Colour Base. While this bonder isn't used for preparation for building an artificial nail, it is useful for clients who prefer a mani with permanent polish or colour gel. Using Quick Colour Base keeps your client's nails healthy and strong with Keratin. As well as asks as a barrier between the colour and nail plate, allowing for quick and easy colour changes.
Now that you have the rundown, the question asked all the time is, “Do I have to buy all of these!?” The beauty is being able to customize to suit the client’s needs and fewer headaches for us as techs! However, maybe start with one non-acidic, and one acidic as all LCN bonders can be used as combos and with all LCN builders.
Remember the client consultation is going to be your key to finding the right foundation (bonder), and when you see something that works, make sure to note what worked. Most of all have fun!