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Question
Dear Maggie,
 What is the difference between acrylic nails and SNS (Signature Nail System).
 I recently had my nails done for the first time in over 10 years. The young lady at the salon told me about SNS (Signature Nail System). It works by dipping your nail in a small jar containing a powder in a color of your choice. May also be applied with tips or without. How sanitary can this be when numerous people dip their fingers in the same jar? She stated that it would be less damaging to my nail versus the acrylic because it contains vitamins. It also cost more than the acrylic and the gel manicure.
  Also would you be able to tell of some reputable nail salons in the West Pembroke Pines or Miramar, Florida area.

Thank you,
Neyma

Answer
Hi Neyma,

Signature Nail Systems is a "tip and dip" product/process. There are many of these systems available in the industry, marketed under different names by different manufacturers #my personal fave is the "Extreme" line by a company called Backscratchers.#

SNS's website provides very few technical details and no access to their MSDS #Material Safety Data Sheets# so I have to admit that I am making an assumption as to the actual chemistry involved in their "gel" products. Most of these products use cyanoacrylate resin as the "gel." It's just nail glue. These resins can be super thin like water, or super thick like Vaseline-- but they all use the same chemistry. It's just nail glue. And not what most professionals consider "gel" at all. But because "gel" refers to the physical properties of the product and not the chemistry, it's acceptable to call pretty much ANY product that is gel-like in consistency a "gel."

Despite any addition of vitamins and/or minerals to the product, your nails will not absorb nutrients from the resin.

These products do not have the cross-linking capabilities that true gels and acrylic products have. They will not bond to the natural nail as well and they will break down over time, requiring frequent soak-off and replacement to keep the product in its best condition.

However, there's nothing wrong with tip&dip systems. They make a sturdy, lightweight enhancement, cyanoacrylate resin has a very low rate of chemical sensitivity, and it is very easy to soak off. So if you like it, stick with it!

It's a matter of debate as to how sanitary it is to dip into the powder. Some people feel that touching ANYTHING that someone else has touched is unsanitary. Some people feel that you should only be touching the powder with clean hands anyway.

You can contact the State Board of Cosmetology for your state and ask them what their requirements are for this type of service. But, provided that the container of powder is kept clean, there's very low risk of problems from touching the powder. There are alternatives to dipping clients' fingers in the same powder though: the nail tech can sprinkle the powder onto the nail with a spoon or small spice shaker, or pour out enough powder for each service into a separate container.

Damage comes from poor application and/or removal techniques. NOT from products themselves in almost all cases. Acrylic and gels should never do damage to your nail if they are applied and removed correctly. Lots of companies use this as a marketing ploy to make their product sound "safer" than their competitors, and it's a personal pet peeve of mine. The damage comes from the person doing the nails or taking the nails off-- NOT the product.

Unfortunately, my best recommendation for a salon in Florida is in Fort Myers.  

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Maggie Franklin

Expertise

Professional Nailcare: nail enhancement chemistry and technique, mancuring and pedicuring. I am not qualified to give medical advice or make medical diagnoses.

Experience

I am a professional nail technician with 17 years experience in the professional beauty industry. I am licensed in the states of California (license #M120766) and Colorado (license #8611.) I have been an active member of the online mailing list at Beautytech.com since 1999 where I network with 100s of nail industry professionals around the world. Over the last 15 years I have accumulated several advanced training certificates, including the coveted Creative Nail Designs Master Nail Technician status, and personal training by Tammy Taylor, Tom Bachik, and Tom Holcomb. I briefly joined the competition circuit in 2002, taking first place in the second annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition in the Enhancement 2 category. In 2009 I have decided to make time in my schedule to get back into competition by joining "Team Pink," the competition team captained by current world champion nail technician, Lynn Lammers. I boast several contributions to articles that have appeared in both Nails and Nailpro magazines, including a brief stint as a Nails Magazine Help Desk contributor and now I write a semi-weekly blog for Nails Magazine while continuing to attend tradeshows and continuing education events.

Organizations
Nail Tech mailist list at Beautytech.com

Publications
Nails Magazine. Nailpro Magazine. Blogging for Nails Magazine since September, 2008: http://blogs.nailsmag.com/maggie/

Education/Credentials
CA license #M120766. CO license #8611. CND Master Nail Technician. Tom Holcomb Academy. Personal training with Tom Bachik. Two day advanced training with Tammy Taylor. AEFM certified for use of electric file. HRTE (High Road to Education) in San Jose, CA 2009.

Awards and Honors
2nd Annual Strut Your Stuff Online competition, 1st place in Enhancement 2. Member of "Team Pink" competition team 2009. 3rd place, Novice tip-and-overlay relay at IBS Las Vegas, 2009.

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