Fiberglass nails used to be a form of manicure technique that was in high demand, in the mid to late 1980s.
That was until the invention of acrylics, which quickly became the golden standard in artificial nail solutions. After a stall in popularity in the 90s and 2000s, fiberglass nails are again bursting onto the scene and making a pretty big impact.
Everything You Need to Know About Fiberglass Nails
There are dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of videos and pictures on YouTube and Instagram showcasing the increasing love that 21st-century consumers have for this once-abandoned practice.
In this guide, I will tell you all there is to know about fiberglass nail wraps, fiberglass nail extensions, and a step-by-step how-to on their application. You might be surprised how well a technique developed 30-40 years ago could fit into your current beauty regimen!
What are Fiberglass Nail Wraps?
Fiberglass nails offer a temporary solution for longer nails through the use of strand-like cloth and resin glue.
Prior to the application of the cloth, the glue is placed onto the nail. From there, the manicurist adds the strands and then places another layer of glue on top of the material.
The resin glue hardens around the fibers, making it easy to shape and file the nails once completely dry. Acrylic powder or gel nail polish typically finishes the process.
Fiberglass nail wraps are used as an alternative to acrylics, which can be damaging to nails. They are also a solid solution for those who want a natural-looking result without the fragility of silk nail wraps.
What is the Difference Between Silk and Fiberglass for Nail Wraps?
Fiberglass and silk nail wraps are applied in the same way, so the only difference is the material used in the process. Fiberglass tends to be a bit sturdier than silk, but that is where the differences end. Both fiberglass and silk are kind to natural nail health, provide natural-looking length, and endure for roughly the same length of time.
What are the Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Nail Wraps?
It’s important that you understand what you are getting into when you choose any type of manicure. In this section, I’ll detail the benefits and drawbacks associated with fiberglass nails. Each type of manicure has its own pros and cons to consider, so I recommend that you assess all of your options before committing to getting your nails done.
- A natural appearance.
- Minimal/no damage to natural nails.
- Easily removed.
- Fairly durable under most circumstances.
- Less odor than the application of acrylics.
- Produce no dust during application.
- Touch-ups are easy and quick in the event of a broken nail.
- Can become lifted early if you frequently submerge your hands in water.
- Not as durable as acrylics and gel nails.
- Not recommended for people with very weak or damaged nails.
- Home application is not very easy and is quite time-consuming. Only professionals should apply fiberglass nail wraps.
- More expensive than most other manicures available today.
- Cannot build an arch with fiberglass nail wraps. If your nail is already quite flat, the result of the wrap will also be flat.
So, if you’ve got the time and the funds to reach out to a professional manicurist, you should inquire about their fiberglass nail services!
What is Required to Remove Fiberglass Nail Wraps?
Every two weeks or so, your fiberglass nails will need to be touched up in order to maintain their beautiful, natural appearance. If you don’t or can’t continue with the upkeep, I recommend going in to see your manicurist to have them removed professionally.
Some DIY manicurists have removed their fiberglass nail wraps at home by using acetone, which is found in many common nail varnish removers. I cannot recommend this to you, however, because far too many users have damaged their natural nails by doing this.
Some have experienced success, but it’s not worth the risk if you consider it important to have healthy nails.
Professional removal is quick and inexpensive, so there’s no reason to forgo this step in favor of at-home nail removal.
How Much Do Fiberglass Nail Wraps Cost?
Fiberglass nail wraps are the most expensive option that many salons will offer. I’ve seen prices range anywhere between $50 and $80. Each salon prices its services differently, but you can expect to spend quite a bit more on fiberglass than you would on acrylic.
Are Fiberglass Nail Wraps Safe for Natural Nails?
Fiberglass and silk nail wraps are both well-known for being gentler on natural nails than acrylic and gel manicures. This is because only the material and the resin are used to create and shape nails to your desired shape and length.
Of course, all manicure options present at least a small risk of damage to natural nails. If your nails are especially brittle or broken, they might not be a solid candidate for fiberglass nail wraps – or any kind of manicure – until they are healthier.
If your nails are in fair or good condition prior to the application of fiberglass nail wraps, on the other hand, you could actually experience a strengthening of your nails!
Fiberglass Nail Wraps are a Great Option for Most Customers
Creating a natural-looking but beautiful nail is easy for a professional manicurist to accomplish when their customers choose fiberglass nail wraps over other available options. While this nail solution cannot provide super-long, rock-hard, and ultra-durable nails as you can expect with acrylics. Fiberglass is an increasingly popular option for many reasons, as you can see after reading the information above.
Fiberglass nails are not the best solution for everybody. If your nails are very damaged or broken, you may need to get them healthier before moving forward with a nail wrap. If you crave a dramatic, curved nail, acrylics or gels might be your best bet. It’s important that you consider the kind of look you want before deciding on a manicure technique, as well as the condition of your existing, natural nails.
If you’re curious about how fiberglass nail wraps can fit into your life, schedule an appointment with a salon professional to familiarize yourself with the nail services available in your area.
What are Fiberglass Nail Extensions?
Fiberglass extensions are different from wraps in that they help provide a more significant amount of length to the nail. They are more durable and slightly longer-lasting, with results that look quite natural even when a bunch of length has been added.
Some home users have had quite a bit of success in applying their own fiberglass nail extensions, but it can be a pretty tricky process to get the hang of. If applied correctly, these nail extensions can withstand up to a month of daily living.
A Step-By-Step Guide – How to Apply Fiberglass Nail Extensions
To delve further into the general ease of application that can be found through practice, I have compiled a step-by-step breakdown on the use of these unique nail extensions.
Step 1: Prep the Nails
Prepare the nail by making sure it is clean of nail polish or other contaminants by using a nail polish remover. Finish prepping by lightly buffing the nails with an emery board. Don’t buff too much, just enough to make the surface of your nails less shiny.
Step 2: Getting Started
With your nails prepared, you can now apply the base coat and the fiberglass strands that will make up the extension. Don’t wait for the base coat to dry to try and apply the fiberglass – it won’t work nearly as well.
Step 3: Cut the Fiberglass
You should cut the fiberglass to your desired length at this time. Seal the fiber above and below with hard gel.
Step 4: Cure and Shape
Beneath a LED lamp, cure your fingernails for 30-60 seconds. After that’s done, wait a few seconds and then use a pinching clip to ensure the fiberglass and gel retain their shape.
Step 5: Set the Nails
Remove the pinching clip at this time, once you are satisfied with the shape and curvature of the nail. This can take some time to get right, especially if you have shaky hands.
Step 6: Sand
Remove the tacky layer with a cotton ball dipped into rubbing alcohol, then you can Sand/buff down the nails slightly to ensure a more even and natural appearance and feel. They should appear matte and not at all shiny, like your nails after you prepped them in the beginning.
Step 7: Almost Done
It’s time to put on the finishing touch, the nail polish. You can apply your nail polish, dip powder, or gel however you want to after this, but most prefer the natural look of a clear topcoat and nothing else.
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