Nail primers are a little-known beauty must-have. But what do they actually do? And more importantly, do you need one in your beauty routine?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about nail primers!
Think of a nail primer like a ‘double-sided sticky tape’ that creates tiny microscopic holes in the surface of the nail plate, allowing additional products to adhere to the nail surface.
Nail primer fills in the ridges and pores, giving a smooth surface for your polish to adhere to. With a smooth base, your nail polish will last longer!
Nail primers can improve the wear of some types of self-fixing gels with improved adherence to the natural nail plate.
What is nail primer used for
A nail primer is used to fill in any ridges or imperfections on the surface of the nail, creating a smooth bonding area for the nail polish to adhere to.
The primer itself often has an opaque white color with a thin consistency that dries fairly quickly.
Nail primers are similar in function and application process to base coats. However, base coats are usually much thinner products meant only to provide a basic protective layer for nails, whereas primers are thicker and more designed specifically for use with nail polishes.
A typical nail primer is made up of a mixture of carrier solvents, such as nitrocellulose and ethyl acetate to allow spreading without drying.
Nail primers work well with different types of polishes, especially gel polish.
Is Nail Prep and nail primer the same?
Nail prep is also described as a nail dehydrator. It is a liquid that degreases and dehydrates the natural surface of the nails.
You would often need to do this before using a nail primer, but the two products are not necessarily interchangeable.
There are many different types of nail primers, so it’s important to check what you have in front of you if you want to know which one goes on first.
When you apply acrylic nails, gel polishes, or normal nail polishes to your nails, you don’t necessarily need to use nail primers or dehydrators beforehand. However, they come with a number of advantages that make them worthwhile in many circumstances.
It is worth noting that alcohol works in the same way as a dehydrator and removes moisture, fats, and other substances.
You just need to clean your nails using rubbing alcohol to ensure that they dry rapidly. It will become almost white, close and around the nail. You then need to simply rehydrate with cuticle oil after your manicure is complete.
How to use nail dehydrator and primer
Nail dehydrator and primer are two essential tools for a perfect manicure. However, a lot of people don’t know how to use them or what the difference is.
A nail dehydrator is used to dehydrate and dry your nails quickly, while a primer helps your polish stay on longer.
To use both the dehydrator and primer for a manicure, you will need the following –
- a nail dehydrator (See the one I use here),
- a nail moisturizer (This one strengthens cuticles as well),
- a base coat,
- two layers of color polish,
- a top coat (you can’t go wrong with this quick drying option).
In addition to those already listed above, you’ll also need a nail primer before applying your color polish.
Here is how to use them correctly:
- To dehydrate your nails, start by buffing them with a coarse file. This will remove any oils or residue on the surface of your nails.
- Then, apply a layer of nail dehydrator to your nails and let it dry completely.
- To prime your nails, start by cleaning them with nail polish remover. This will remove any dirt or oils that may interfere with the adhesive properties of the primer.
- Apply a thin coat of primer to each nail and let it dry completely. This will help your polish stay on longer and look more polished.
- Once your nails are totally dry, it’s time to apply your base coat. Start with one thin coat of base coat on each nail and let it dry completely before applying two layers of color polish
- Finish off by adding a layer of top coat to all of your nails. This will help protect the polish from chipping, sticking better to the primer, and make your manicure last longer!
What ingredients are in nail dehydrator?
Nail dehydrators can help to dry nails faster and keep them healthy. But what ingredients are in them, and do they really work?
- Alcohol – Dehydrates and cleans your nails.
- Citric Acid – Forms a protective barrier on the nails to seal in moisture.
- Tocopherol Acetate – A type of vitamin E that conditions the surface of the nail – it’s also used to treat psoriasis, eczema, sunburn and other skin irritations.
- Isopropyl Alcohol – Preservative.
- Water – Sometimes included in these products, but often this is water you can add yourself if you want to make your own nail dehydrator.
Nail dehydrator will usually be white when you first apply it but evaporates very quickly once dry leaving behind no residue or streaks on the nail bed.
Some types of base coats might do this as well, so it is worth checking if you need to use both before applying polish.
Many people do not realize the importance of nail primer.
It is important to recognize that each type of primer has its own set of ingredients, it’s also important to know which kind you are using before applying polish.
Having said this, there are many options available on the market today which makes it easy for you to choose what suits you best.