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Identifying the best nail primer for gel nails

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Even though the use of a primer is optional, it is necessary for some types of nail fixing. There are materials for which the use of a primer is not required such as fiberglass, silk, and linen. There are majorly 2 types of primers, with the both of them having their own advantages and disadvantages. It is, therefore, generally left to the stylist or the individual to select her preference with regards to the type of primer she will want on her nails. The two types of primers are the methacrylic acid primer and non-methacrylic acid. The two primers including their pros and cons are discussed below, towards guiding new nail stylists and customers in choosing the nail primer they prefer.

Methacrylic acid primer – comparing and providing insight

The methacrylic acid is reputed to be the true primer by several experts in nail business. Their assertion is because it is very reliable for applying nails in the nail industry as it provides the required strength with little harm on the nail.

The major reason why the non-methacrylic acid was created is since the methacrylic acid primer has some side effects that are negative.


  • For instance, the skin could be burnt by the methacrylic acid versions of primer.
  • Furthermore, it could make the nail plate thin and it has an unpleasant odor that is strong.

You might already be scared that the methacrylic acid primer is dangerous based on these disadvantages. This is, however, not often so.


  • If two examples were to be given between nail technician A and nail technician B. Nail technician A uses the non-methacrylic acid primer to apply nail gels on Customer A’s nail.
  • While doing this, she does not put on eye goggles, neither does she put on gloves. Furthermore, her salon does not have much ventilation and she sloppily applies the primer. On the other hand, nail technician B uses the methacrylic acid primer to apply gels on Customer B’s nail. She puts on gloves and eye goggles.
  • Furthermore, her salon is well ventilated, and she sparingly applies the primer on the nail.
  • For these 2 examples, both nail technician B and customer B are safer because the exposure for both of them was at a level that is safer, compared to those of nail technician A and customer A.
  • If the factors used in this example are exactly the same, however, nail technician A and customer A will be safer.
  • For the example, however, as well as the case where both conditions are to be exactly the same, nail technician B should get the best nail gel results on Customer B’s nail because of the strong and more reliable nature of the methacrylic acid.

Non-methacrylic Acid Primer

  • For those that are more safety conscious, they believe the non-methacrylic acid primer is the best nail primer for gel nails. The non-methacrylic acid was first produced for the veterinary industry. They were used for repairing fractured hooves and split. The hoof required filing as a means of preparing it and the acid primer was applied.
  • However, the difficulty in reaching the areas of the hoof that split as well as the danger of infecting the bloodstream of the animal with the acid resulted in the creation of the non-methacrylic acid primer.
  • It was not corrosive like the methacrylic acid and it was also less effective, thereby implying that it creates a reduced etching amount. With this, it cannot enter the bloodstream since it can’t corrode the skin.
  • As opposed to the methacrylic acid primer, the non-methacrylic acid primer does not work by etching the nail so that the gel can get a stronger grip on the surface of the nail. The non-methacrylic acid works by causing a temporary pH change on the nail, which is normally slightly acidic to a highly alkaline pH like that of the nail gel.
  • The change in pH makes it easy for the nail gel to adhere to the nails. With time, however, the pH level of the nail returns to its slightly acidic pH level. This affects the primer’s adhesive strength, making it diminish. To get the best results, the non-methacrylic primer must be allowed to completely dry before the nail gel is applied.

Choosing the best primer for you

  • The best nail primer for gel nails will depend on the individual.
  • The first question you should ask yourself is if you are willing to sacrifice safety for efficiency or if you prefer efficiency to safety.
  • If you want safety, then you should opt for the non-methacrylic acid primer. The primer will make the final result of your gel name stronger than when a primer was not used at all. However, it will not be as strong as when a methacrylic acid was used.
  • Furthermore, with time, the adhesive qualities of the primer nails will wear off and its effect will diminish. You will not be at the risk of damaging your nail bed. If on the other hand, you prefer efficiency, you should go for the methacrylic acid.

This video shows you how to apply gel nails;

You should ensure to use a professional nail technician and if the salon is not well ventilated, artificial ventilation like a fan or requesting for the nails to be done outdoor will improve the safety of the process. You could also opt for a methacrylic acid primer that has 70 percent methacrylic acid as opposed to 100 percent. They still give you similar results to the 100 percent methacrylic acid. They are, however, not as corrosive, as some buffers and solvents are added to make them safer and shelf stable.

Let us know in the comments below which you believe is the best primer for gel nails.