We offer a full array of nail services from a simple manicure to custom crafted nail enhancements and specialized Japanese style 3d adornments.
* Please read the nail design pricing carefully as there are minimum charges assigned to each length of booking time.
** Gel polish services are not guaranteed without proper cuticle care. There will be no complimentary fixes on Just polish services.
NAIL SERVICE FAQs
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HARD GEL AND ACRYLIC?
As technology advances the differences between hard gel and acrylic changes as well but we will highlight the most substantial differences between the two. If you still aren't certain which type of enhancement material is right for you, give us a call and we'll help.
Application: Hard gel has little to no odour and is considered to be healthier and more eco-friendly than its acrylic cousin. Hard Gel comes in one container or pot and can be available in many colours. We use clear and pink/nude for our hard gel services. This gel is only hardened/cured when exposed to LED or UV light.
Wear: Hard gel nails are generally thought to be slightly weaker than acrylic, so clients will have to exercise more caution when going about their daily tasks....however that being said, hard gel nails are still strong and can last a long time with the proper care. Gel nails look and feel more natural as they are slightly more flexible than acrylic. Gel nails are generally recommended for clients who work with chemicals (such as acetone), often have their hands submerged in water or who enjoy changing their nail polish colour frequently as hard gel does not break down in acetone unless it is of the soak off variety. Hard gel nails have less lifting issues than acrylics, but if not applied correctly lifting is still a possibility.
Removal: Hard gel typically will not break down in acetone (It's a molecular thing) therefore must be files and buffed off of the natural nail. I done improperly the gel can be filed down too far which leads to the filing of natural nail layers... thus weakening the natural nail. Always come in to the salon to have your gel overlay or extensions removed.
Application: Acrylic consists of a polymer (powder) and monomer (liquid) which must be combined in just the right quantities to create a suitable compound for nail crafting. Acrylic starts to dry as soon as exposed to the air so the nailist must work fairly quickly to form the nail enhancement. The odor released during an acrylic application is usually very strong and can be a factor in deciding whether to go with gel or acrylic enhancements.
Wear: Acrylic nails are known for their strength and durability, but with all nail enhancements you must still be mindful and take care when using your hands. Acrylic nail enhancements feel less natural as they are more still and rigid than hard gels, however if done properly we find they can look just as natural as a gel nail enhancement, Acrylics are not recommended for clients who are frequently submerging their hands in water or chemicals as this could cause the acrylic to break down and lift leading to bacteria being trapped between the natural nail and the enhancement. (See our section on the dreaded "green nail" below.)
Removal: Acrylic nails will break down when exposed to acetone, which makes the removal much easier than hard gel nails. Generally acrylic nails can be filed down and soaked off the natural nail eliminating the risk of the natural nail being buffed or filed down too thin. The downside to the soaking in acetone is that it has the tendency to dry out your nails and the surrounding skin.
WHAT ARE "GEL NAILS"?
Gel nails is a term that is thrown around far too freely. Everyone has a different interpretation of what the term "gel nails" refers to. We say "gel nails" is a broad term used to describe a nail service where any form of nail gel is used. At Sparks there are several nails services which we incorporate the use of nail gel products:
Gel Polish Manicures | Gel polish is a nail colouring product which is a hybrid between nail polish and pot gels. Gel polishes incorporate the best of both products: durability and instant-dry curing of gels with the brush-in-bottle application and easier removal of polishes. Gel polishes last 12+ days without chipping or peeling, but you are best to have your gel polish removed by a professional as over buffing or scraping of the nail plate can lead to thinning and other damage. We use CND Shellac, Gelish, OPI and Artistic Nail Design brand of gel polishes.
Gel Shield | A clear, hard pot gel applied between your gel polish colour and top coat layers to add longevity. Ideal for clients who want to get an additional week of wear out of their gel polish manicures.
Gel Overlay | A clear or tinted hard gel applied to your natural nail to add strength. An overlay can be refilled just like a nail extension.
Gel Nail Extension | A clear or tinted hard gel used with a nail form to build an extension of your natural nail. Your nail extensions must be refilled every 2-3 weeks.
Gel Refills | A gel refill is a maintenance and reinforcement session for your gel overlay or extensions to ensure that there is no lifting, make any necessary repairs and fill the gap between the cuticles and beginning of the enhancement. You should schedule a refill session every 2-3 weeks.
THE DREADED "GREEN NAIL"
Most people believe that green nail is a mold or fungus growing on the nail plate, which would be absolutely disgusting, but it's actually just a lil ol' bacteria...yeah, still gross.
What Is Pseudomonas?
Pseudomonas (aka: Green Nail) is a common household bacteria which can be present in many places you come in contact with on a daily basis. This bacteria thrives in warm, moist, oxygen depleted areas making the area between your natural nail and nail enhancement a prime real estate spot...but this bacteria can make its home in many other areas of the body... including your *nightmare alert* eyeballs. Green nail is not caused by having nail enhancement, but if your enhancement lifts, peels, cracks or chips this can allow the bacteria to find its way under your enhancement/polish. Occasionally green nail occurs between the nail bed and nail plate without a person ever having had their nails touched by polish or enhancements.
There are several ways to contract pseudomonas on your nails but these are the most common ways in regards to salon visits:
- Your nail plate was not properly cleansed and dehydrated before applying your nail enhancements
- Your nail enhancement cracked, peeled, chipped or lifted allowing the bacteria to get underneath
- Your nail technician did not properly sanitize their tools or reused an infected file/buffer on your nails
How Can I Get Rid Of It?
Like any ailment, treatment is best prescribed by a doctor but we find the best way to get rid of the bacteria is to keep the affected nail(s) clean, dry and open to the air. The affected area will grow out with your nail. It may be tempting to cover the nail(s) with polish or a bandaid but this will only slow down the healing and may even encourage bacterial growth. Do not attempt to file or buff the bacteria from your nail as it may actually be under your nail plate, also you could file your nail too thin.
Please note that we can not perform any nail services on clients who have green nail and will stop an appointment if green nail is discovered. This is to keep the bacteria from contaminating our nail tools and area. Clients are welcome to return to Sparks Salons once the bacteria has cleared.
How To Prevent Green Nail
There are no guaranteed methods to completely protect against contracting pseudomonas as it is so commonly found in our daily environments, but we do have some tips to keep you from inadvertently increasing your chances of picking it up.
- During your nail services your technician will cleanse and dehydrate your nail plate before applying your polish or enhancement. You should refrain from touching anything during this time, and if you do please let your technician know so they can cleanse that nail again. Even scratching your face can cause the bacteria to get onto your nail, and if your technician does not know you touched your face and just covers the nail with product you can trap the bacteria between the nail plate and enhancement.
- Don't pick at your gel polish or enhancements as this can cause chipping, peeling and lifting and allow bacteria to get underneath.
- If your nail enhancements are chipping, peeling, cracked or lifting DO NOT GLUE THEM BACK DOWN. If the bacteria has already found its way under your enhancement gluing it down will trap it, as well as provide a practically airless environment, which pseudomonas thrive in. You are best to try and get some alcohol (not the drinking type) into the crevice to disinfect the area, then try to keep the area as dry as possible until you can get in to see your nail technician for removal or fix.
It is important to note that any lifting nail enhancements should be COMPLETELY REMOVED by your nail technician and a new enhancement put on.
- Don't leave too much time between nail appointments. Even if your nails grow slowly, and even if you think you can get by for another week... you should be coming into the salon to have your gel polish and enhancements maintained every 2-3 weeks unless your nail technician recommends otherwise.
- Try to keep your nail enhancements dry as much as possible. Wear protective gloves when doing household chores such as dishes.
BOOKING NAIL DESIGN
Booking nail art can be confusing for even the most seasoned nail art connoisseur. The length of time required and price of your design will depend on the level of the nailist, intricacy of your designs and how many fingers you would like decorated.
Our nail art is booked by time/intricacy and there is a minimum charge associated with booking each amount of design time. This is to prevent too much time being booked when only a small amount is needed for the design.