inNAILvations Nail Salon, LLC

What is a Gel Overlay?

You may have noticed that "Gel Overlay" is the main service that we offer, but you might not be aware of what that means. Please, allow me to explain. 

A gel overlay is more than just your typical "gel polish manicure". Most gel polish manicures contain 4 parts. A base coat, 2 coats of color, and a top coat. Our gel overlays have similar steps but with one important difference. Our base coat is not a paper thin application of weak hybrid gel polish. 

We use a product called Build Me Up as the base layer. This provides you with much more strength to your gel manicure. We apply this structured base with an "apex" (see image below) which means the highest (or thickest) point of the product. This gives your manicure not only more strength over all, but a nicer, cleaner, more beautiful final look. The beauty of this service is that our gel is stronger, more adhesive, and longer lasting than a typical gel polish manicure, but you are not left with bulky, thick, chunky nails. We know how to apply this product precisely with the structure in the correct place which allows your nails to stay comfortably thin, elegant, and dainty, while providing the most strength possible. 

Another benefit to our gel overlays are, they help keep your natural nail strong and healthy. This comes down to our color change process. Some gel polish manicures are "soaked off" every time you want to change your color. This can cause damage to your nail in several ways. First, acetone is very harsh and "drying" to the natural nail. A soak off once in a while is not a real problem but consistent soaking in acetone every couple of weeks can cause dryness and brittleness to your natural nails over time. 

Soaking off can also damage your nails by exposing your natural nail to over filing. When a gel manicure is applied, the natural nail must be "roughed" or textured in order for the gel to adhere properly. When this is done carefully to a brand new nail this does not cause any damage. The nail should not be thinned! We just need to add some texture to the surface. After 2-3 weeks, if you have your nails soaked off, it is now exposing that textured area of your nail to be filed again! This is not what we want. Therefore, we will use our structured Build Me Up layer as a buffer zone to protect your natural nail from being over filed. We will remove the current color, smooth and shape the nail with the remaining base still on, clean the cuticle area, carefully texture the new nail growth, and reapply more structure gel while balancing the apex into the correct location on the nail, and then apply a new color and top coat. 

 Why Don't We Offer Dip Nails?

First, What are dip nails?

Dip nails are a new way to apply acrylic nails. The "base" coat used with dip nails is super glue, and the powder is just acrylic powder. There is no such thing as "gel powder". If advertised as such, it is still just acrylic powder. Its the same acrylic powder one might use to build a traditional acrylic nail with acrylic monomer. 

The #1 reason why we do not offer dip nails is they are highly unhygienic. We pride ourselves on making sure we are using the safest, most sanitary, techniques and services available to us. All of our products are professional grade. They are of the highest quality, and are used with the utmost care and consideration of your natural nail health. 

In order to maintain our incredibly high sanitation standards, every tool and product we use MUST fall under one of 3 categories. 

*Disinfect-able. This applies to all of our reusable metal tools and plastic brushes. These are scrubbed down with soap and water and submerged in a hospital quality disinfectant between each and every client. We do not use any metal tools that are unable to be disinfected. 

*Disposable. This applies to all of our non-metal implements. (i.e. nail files, orangewood sticks, etc.) Each and every client will have a brand new nail file, orangewood stick, and sanding band used for their appointment. These, according to the Utah Department Of Health, are not able to be disinfected due to the small cracks and crevices where bacteria can hide. Because of this we will either offer the nail file to our clients to take home after their appointment, or we will throw them away. We never reuse them. 

*Self Sanitizing. This is the category where all of our gel products fall. The gels we use have been thoroughly tested by their manufacturer to ensure bacteria cannot live or grow in them. This means even if a tiny bit of bacteria is picked up by a gel polish brush, it will not live or grow in the product. This is how these products are self sanitizing and why we can use the same polish bottle on multiple clients without risk of cross contamination.  

Due to the fact that that acrylic powder is not self sanitizing, and there is no way for us to disinfect the product after someone has put their finger into it, we do not feel that dip systems are a hygienic practice. There have been reports in other states of different disease breakouts due to dip systems. We feel it is best to avoid this service altogether and encourage our clients to do so as well. 


Natural Nail Health is our #1 Priority

Natural nail health is the #1 priority at inNAILvations Nail Salon. We understand that if our clients nails don't stay healthy and strong we don't have a job. All of our techniques, products, and procedures are centered around maintaining our clients' natural nail health. 

We are a salon that specializes in enhancing and beautifying our clients natural nails through a careful process of structured gel manicures. The gel we use is strong enough to build out an extension if one of your natural nails is to break, however our ultimate goal is to get your natural nails as strong and healthy as possible to create the best foundation for your manicure. 

What to expect? 

During your nail appointment there are many different procedures. There is the removal process, the prep process, the application process, and the finishing process. 

During the "removal" step we carefully remove product that is currently on the nail. We never remove the product completely. We always leave a thin layer of product on the natural nail in order to protect the natural nail from being over filed. We will carefully remove the top coat and color from your previous manicure before the prep process begins. If you come to us for the first time with nothing on your nails we will skip this step and go right into prep. 

The prep process consists of preparing the freshly regrown nail for the application of product. This must be done carefully and efficiently. We are trained in the safe use of cuticle tools, hand files, electric files, primers, and other prep products. All of these things need to be put together in the correct order to prepare the nail plate to hold onto the product. We will never over-file the natural nail. We take great care in making sure our e-file tools and speeds make the safest combination possible to protect your natural nail from harm. 

The application process is also very critical. This process is learned over years of practice. We will apply a structured base gel to your natural nail and cure it under an ultraviolet LED light. This ultraviolet light will attack the molecules in the gel product we use to harden them into a strong and beautiful base layer. This is one of the most important steps to our process. This base later will not only help keep your manicure strong for the 3 weeks between your appointments, it will also protect your nails from being over-filed when you return to us. 

After the base layer is applied we will apply your desired color, and nail art to the nail. We will then seal the entire manicure with a strong and durable top coat. (your choice of Matte or Glossy or even a combination of the two) 

When the service is completed we finish everything off with a cuticle oil. These cuticle oils are designed specifically to re-hydrate your eponychium (cuticle), sidewalls, and hyponychium (under your free edge). This helps replenish all the moisture we dehydrated out during the prep process. It is important to continue to use cuticle oil during the weeks between your appointments. This helps your nails stay strong and healthy and keeps the product from lifting prematurely. 

How can YOU help make sure your manicure lasts as long as possible?

#1- Maintain your nails in the proper time-frame. 

Our gel overlays are specifically structured to provide the most strength possible while maintaining a thin and beautiful enhancement. The structure includes the "apex" which is the thickest point of the product. This is where all of the strength resides. This apex is placed in the back 1/3 of your nail to provide the most strength. As your nails grow out, this apex moves forward. IF it is allowed to grow out for too long the nail becomes imbalanced and can result in the product lifting from the nail plate . We recommend maintenance appointments no longer than 3 weeks out. 

#2 - Stay focused during your appointment.

Another cause for damage is premature lifting of product. When your nail professional is busy maintaining your nails, it might be sort of boring for you, the client, as the correct process takes time. It is important for you as the client to not use your hands for other things during your appointment. When you have a free hand while we are working on the other it doesn't necessarily mean that that hand can be used. The correct prep procedure involves dehydrating the natural nail and removing all oils and debris so the enhancement can stick correctly. When you pick up your phone, dig through your purse, scratch your face, brush your hair out of your eyes, etc. you are reintroducing oils, dust, fuzz, and other debris onto the nails that we have just cleansed and prepared for product to be applied. Then when we apply the product there is something in the way of the prepped nail and the product. This can cause the product to lift. If it lifts off of one part of the nail that has debris on it, it can cause the enhancement to further lift off of areas where it shouldn't. This can cause damage. 

Each layer of gel, once cured, also contains what is called an "inhibition layer". This is a thin layer of uncured gel on the very top of the product. This inhibition layer is very important to each step of the process as it is used to bond the next layer to itself. When your nails have been cured they are still not "done" until the very last top coat after we apply the cuticle oil. Using your hands to pick up your phone or drinks or other things can cause lint or hair etc. to attach themselves to this inhibition layer. This isn't the end of the world as we can wipe the lint off, however this also will wipe the inhibition layer off and can cause a little bit of structural integrity loss between the layers of your gel manicure. The safest place for your hands during your appointment is either inside the light until we are ready to continue working on them, OR, on the table. 

#3 - Don't ever super glue your nails down!

Have you ever heard of psudomonas? AKA Greenies? 

Click this link for more information:

This is a common occurrence in the nail industry for many reasons. Sometimes the nail tech gets lazy and neglects to remove all of the lifting from the enhancement before reapplying more product. Sometimes when a nail lifts the client chooses to super glue it back down onto the nail. If you notice when we apply product to your nails we are not using super glue. Once the product comes off (lifts) It cannot be put back down. It must be removed and fresh new product applied. When super glue is used to stick lifted product back down onto a nail, it can trap moisture on the nail and a bacteria can grow under the nail bed creating a green spot commonly known as "greenies".

How do we fix this if it happens? 

First step is to completely remove all product from the nail. The next step is to soak the nail in Acetone. Acetone will kill the bacteria and cause it to stop growing. The nail is now safe to reapply product to because the greenie will no longer continue to grow, however the green stain on the nail will have to grow out before it goes away completely. 

#4 - Don't use your nails as tools! 

I know when you have long pretty structured nails its so tempting to use them to do things. Some examples are, pushing buttons, scraping up messes, etc. These activities are not recommended because they put pressure on the free edge of your nail and cause stress to be put on the natural nail. This can cause premature lifting and unbalancing of the enhancement. 

#5 - Don't pick or pull at your nails

This one is VERY IMPORTANT! Please do not pick or pull at your  nails. Please do not try to pry the product off with floss, or anything else. The gels we use are made for nails and they are made to stick. The prep techniques and procedures and primers we use are there on purpose to ensure that the gel STICKS TO YOUR NAILS. One of the big reasons why we don't offer a basic manicure with air dry nail varnish is because we want you to get VALUE out of your appointment. We want you to feel good about the money you are paying for your service. We use the highest quality products available in the industry. We invest in our education so we know the exact procedures to make sure those nails stick. If you try hard enough you'll probably be able to get them off. But you wont be happy about it. It will be painful and it WILL damage your nails. If you do this please do not blame the nail tech, or the product. The nail tech did exactly what she was trained to do. The product did exactly what it was made to do. The problem lies in the improper removal. This is where the damage happens. 

What are "Hot Towel" Pedicures?

At inNAILvations Nail Salon our pedicure experience is slightly different than your "typical" pedicure. The #1 reason why we do things a little differently is because we are committed to providing our clients with the safest and most sanitary experience possible. 

A lot of pedicure chairs (like the ones with the massage chair attached and the jetted foot bath) have one single pipe that pipes water in, and also drains dirty water out. This situation can cause potential cross contamination between clients. Cross contamination is also possible from the water jet system. The entire jet system must be deconstructed, washed, and submerged in a hospital grade sanitation solution for a minimum of 10 minutes between each and every client in order for it to be considered "clean" to the Salt Lake County Health Department standards. 

With our revolutionary Hot Towel Pedicures we have eliminated the need for the foot baths in an effort to provide an experience that is more sanitary. 

What is everyone's favorite part of a "traditional" pedicure? If you ask me, it is the mud masque portion where your foot is wrapped in a hot towel after having been covered by a hydrating mud masque. This is only one step of our Deluxe Pedicure. We also wrap each and every previous and subsequent step of the pedicure in a hot towel. When you are finished your feet will feel so smooth you might have trouble walking!

Our deluxe pedicure begins with the removal of any previous nail color or gel polish. We then shorten and shape the toe nails to your desired length and shape. Then we clean the cuticles and prep the natural nail for gel polish application. Each and every one of our pedicures INCLUDES gel polish. This is not an up charge. We do the gel polish application first because it helps seal the gel onto the nail without the potential for oils and moisturizers preventing the gel from adhering. Also, if your natural nails are bare during the pedicure process they will absorb some of the moisture. If the gel is applied after this process it can create a "seal" on the nail and trap that moisture into the nail without allowing it to evaporate. This can also cause Pseudomonas or "greenies" (see link above). We avoid this issue by applying the gel polish at the beginning of the pedicure experience before any moisture comes into contact with the toe nails. 

After the gel polish has been expertly applied to your toe nails, we then take a specialized exfoliation electric file bit and gently exfoliate any rough or callused skin. Calluses are made on your foot for a reason. They are there to protect parts of your foot that are used a lot. You never want to completely remove or "shave off" a callus completely. We carefully and gently exfoliate the calluses to help soften them. The more often you have a pedicure experience like this the softer the calluses will remain. After softening the calluses we will spray your foot with a salt soak mixture. This is the same salt soak mixture that you would normally "soak" in, in a foot bath, but this procedure is much more sanitary. Then the foot is wrapped in a hot towel to aid the salt soak in softening the skin on the foot. This process is repeated on the other foot.

The next step is the sugar scrub. We will remove the cooled towel from your foot wiping off any excess foot soak. Then the foot is gently exfoliated with a sugar scrub. This is then wrapped in a brand new HOT towel. (I think you see where we are going with this!) This is then repeated on the other foot. 

After the towels are allowed to cool down and the sugar scrub has mostly dissolved in the hot towel, the towels are removed and the remainder of the sugar scrub is wiped off. Next comes the mud masque. This is spread generously over the foot and toes up to the ankle and again wrapped in a new HOT towel. Then this step is repeated on the other foot. 

Next step is the massage. Each of these solutions, (the soak, sugar scrub, mud masque, and massage lotion) are all paired together with a fragrance of your choice. We will carefully remove the mud masque from the foot with the wet towel and then massage the foot and calf with massage lotion until the lotion has soaked in completely. This is then repeated on the other foot. 

The final step of the Deluxe pedicure is the collagen treatment. We use a one time use Voesh Collagen sock for this step. We will wrap your foot in this collagen sock and then in yet ANOTHER hot towel to help the skin absorb as much collagen as possible. You will get to soak in the collagen treatment for approximately 10 minutes while we clean up the station. After which, we will remove the hot towel and the collagen sock (throw it away because it is a one time use) and massage the remaining collagen into your foot. This is then repeated on the other foot. This completes the pedicure experience. 

The whole process of a deluxe pedicure takes approximately 1 hour. For those who wish for a more simple experience we also offer a "Basic" pedicure. The basic pedicure still includes gel polish and most of the pedicure steps. The only parts that are not included are the mud masque step and the collagen treatment. 

Shellac vs 100% Gel? What's the Difference?

Whats the difference between Gel and Shellac? Aren't they the same thing?

Actually, no, they're not. Shellac is actually a brand name. It is the first UV curing nail polish that really gained popularity. For this reason, people commonly confuse the two. 

The biggest difference between "Shellac" and a True Gel Polish is the chemistry. Shellac is a type of gel polish that is designed for longer lasting wear than traditional air dry nail varnish. However, it is still only designed to last approximately 7 days. Shellac is actually a "hybrid" gel polish. Hybrid polishes are  made up of a mixture of UV curing gel and air dry nail varnish. This combination has its pros and cons. A pro is that it soaks off in acetone fairly easily. This is helpful for those salons and nail techs that choose to soak off their gel manicures at each appointment. (We don't do that at inNAILvations Nail salon and this is the number 1 reason why we don't use hybrid polishes. More on that later) The downside of a hybrid polish is they are not strong, they don't adhere well, and as mentioned above, they're really only designed to last 7-ish days. They also can have issues when curing. The 2 different types of chemistry in the polish sometimes don't get along, or the ratio is off and there is an imbalance of gel to polish and the polish can come out of the UV light wrinkled, or have other issues. Because of all of these potential issues, we don't use any kind of "hybrid" polishes at inNAILvations Nail Salon. 

Ok, so now we understand what Shellac is. The next question is... Why is a true gel better? 

Oh, for so many reasons! 

True gel polishes or 100% gel polishes are stronger, more flexible, have better retention, and have a removal process that is much safer for your nails! Generally, manicures done with 100% gel products last longer than 3 weeks! 

There are many different brands that produce gel products that are 100% gel. Some that come to mind are, Magpie Beauty, Luxio by Akzentz, LUXA, Light Elegance, and others. The main brands used at inNAILvations Nail Salon are Magpie Beauty and Luxio by Akzentz. 

Another benefit to using a true gel is the structure that can be built with the gel products. When a hybrid polish is applied it must be applied super thin. This is because the polish is trying to UV cure and air dry at the same time. If applied too thick the polish can wrinkle, or can leave a pocket of uncured/wet gel inside and cause the whole nail to just peel off. With a true gel, each layer can be applied just a little bit thicker. Without being able to tell a big difference in the finished result, having thicker layers can have added benefits. It helps give your natural nails a bit of extra strength to hold up throughout your every day life. It also gives your nail tech a buffer zone to file back to when you want a color change. This helps protect your natural nail from damage!

We want to do everything we can to keep your nails healthy and strong and part of that is making sure the natural nail plate is filed as little as possible. When using a hybrid polish and following a "soak off" method of removal, the product is completely removed from the nail each and every time. This is bad for the nails for several reasons. One reason, is when the gel was originally applied, the nail had to be "prepped" for its application in order for the gel to adhere. So when the polish is "soaked off", the prepped part of your nail is re-exposed. And therefore needs to be "re-prepped" for the next application. Another reason is acetone has a "drying" effect to your nail plate. When over exposed to acetone the nail plate becomes extremely dry and brittle and can cause your nails to break and peel apart. Having a set of nails soaked off once in a while isn't a big deal, but you don't want to do it every 2 weeks every time you want a color change. 

When using a product that is 100% gel, the product can be "filled in" and never needs to be removed from the nail. When you come in for a new manicure the nail professional will use an electric file to file the color from the base layer. Only the color is removed. The base layer remains on the nail. This protects the natural nail plate from being over filed. Then the brand new fresh nail that has just grown out, is prepped and ready for product application. Thus causing no damage to the nail plate and keeping your nails long and strong and healthy! 

If you're used to more of a "shellac" type experience... come on in and let us show you the difference. I guarantee your nail life will never be the same!