What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Nail modeling is a complex and meticulous procedure that requires special preparation of the nail plate. To work with nails, several varieties of tools are used, which serve as the foundation for applying acrylic and gel coatings. One such coating is a primer. What is it and what is it for, everyone who has decided to paint nails should know.

Primer for nails: what is it

What is a primer for nails, you need to find out to a novice manicurist. Any material for something is needed, serves certain purposes. In the translation, the name of this tool means “initial”, “first”. It is used to remove the oily layer, clean and dry the plate area, which helps to evenly distribute the subsequent layers of cosmetics.

Primer Composition

The consistency of the primer is similar to ordinary water or gel. Sometimes it has a smell similar to vinegar, but it can also be odorless.

Primers are divided into two classes:

  • acid;
  • acid free.

The product is sold in glass or plastic bottles with a lid on which the brush is attached. The composition of the ingredients does not contain unnecessary dyes and flavors to reduce the likelihood of allergies.

The acid-based primer contains methacrylic acid (30% to 100%). It promotes the adhesion of the nail structure with the applied materials. This tool is often used when applying acrylic to the nail. In addition, the composition contains such chemical components as ethyl acetate and 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate.

What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Ethyl acetate has a pleasant fruity aroma, softens the skin and serves as a solvent. These substances affect the quality and effectiveness of the composition. The acid dries strongly, so it is recommended to use the product based on it on fatty and growing up nails.

A distinctive property of the primer is its quick drying. It leaves a pale gray coating when it appears, which means that the next coat can be applied. When interacting with the skin, it can cause an allergic reaction, expressed in hyperemia and irritation.

A primer with no acid among its ingredients is safer, but inferior in adhesion. Professionals recommend choosing it if manicure is done with gel polish.

How is a bonder different from a primer

It is not enough to know what a primer for nails is to perform manicure on a professional level. For a competent build up you will need another bonder. He processes the nail before coating with decorative properties.

The bonder determines the strength of the nail with this coating. It helps to create a solid base, and to make work quality and durable. The primer prepares the work surface for even application – this is what it is for.

What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Bonder guarantees high-quality grip. It does not promote degreasing, disinfection and dehydration, but it creates a protective film on the surface.

The bonder has a sticky texture and after application it dries under the lamp for about 3 minutes. Used after the primer.

What is it needed for

The main function of the primer is to create conditions so that the nail does not exfoliate and does not turn yellow.

Processing also saves from harmful microorganisms. The primer helps in the high-quality adhesion of the plate to the material subsequently applied, and makes the manicure more durable. It removes excess moisture and fat, enhances the adhesion of the applied materials.

Types of Primers

Prep Primer is a delicate remedy with protective functions. Some call it a bond. It does not contain coloring and flavoring components, it gently affects the nail and does not penetrate the inner layer. Prep well degreases.

When building it, it is often applied before acidic means in order to remove the oily layer well. With prolonged use, it does not dry out and does not brittle nails.

What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it
The primer helps the nail not to exfoliate and not to yellow.

Prep can not be used for building, because It gives poor adhesion.


  • as a basis for traditional varnish;
  • as a protective agent for damaged nails;
  • a tool that promotes additional adhesion of the nail to the upper artificial layers (especially important for people suffering from hyperhidrosis);
  • with intolerance to artificial materials.

The acid primer is designed for procedures with healthy nails. It softens the nail, which improves adhesion. It is forbidden to apply to weak, sick and brittle nails, as it is toxic. It is not recommended to apply the product liberally or several times in one procedure. Often used when building materials based on acrylic.

The acid-free primer (ultrabond) neutrally and gently affects the natural structure, but performs the same tasks. The tool is more suitable for fat removal and dehydration. It is used both under gel and for pedicure and manicure with bio-varnish.

Top companies

What is a primer for nails and why is it needed now is clear, it remains to conduct a review of popular products.

Lady Victory’s acid-free primers degrease perfectly, provide reliable adhesion and prevent peeling of the coating. Ideal for beginners, because of the lack of acidic substances in the composition. Price range from 80 time. up to 350r. Manufacturer – China.

Le Vole Ultra Bond is ideal for gel and acrylic applications. The compositions of this brand well disinfect and clean the nail, while maintaining a natural PH level. Price range from 250 time. up to 400 time. Manufacturer – USA.

Kodi Professional Ultrabond has a gentle composition, without methacrylic acid. It is used in working with gel and for building acrylic. The average price is $ 6,12. Manufacturer – USA. What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

EZ Flow produces products without dyes and fragrances. The brand’s primer dries quickly, leaving a white mark. The brand produces all kinds of materials for working with different nail coatings. Production – USA. Price range from $ 6,8. up to 1100 time.

IBD has been known in the market for over 30 years. The brand produces products suitable for people with hyperhidrosis and very brittle nails. IBD stick contains methacrylic acid, which prevents peeling of materials. The cost of the product is from $ 4,08. up to 900 time. Manufacturer – USA

Runail Professional Primer Acrylic System launches acrylic extensions. It has excellent adhesion. Manufacturer – USA. Price from $ 2,72. What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Yoko APR -15 is suitable for both gel and acrylic. This primer is based on acid and its adhesive properties are significant. Price $ 2,04. Manufacturer – USA.

TNL Professional is also used for strong adhesion of nails and materials for building. The brand produces both primers with and without acid. Cost – from 180 time. up to 240 time. Production – South Korea.

Bluesky reduces the likelihood of flaking and increases adhesion. It is combined with both gel and acrylic, and is also used when coating with gel polish. Methacrylic acid is not among the components. Price range from 140 time. up to 250 time. Production is located in China. What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Irisk is a professional gel free proprietary primer. Releases acrylic and gel products.

Price range from $ 2,04. up to 440 time. Production in the USA. Available in bottles with a volume of 0,34 fluid ounce to 0,51 fluid ounce. A brush is usually included.

Primer for gel polish and shellac

What is a primer for nails and why is it needed has already been said and from this it becomes clear that its use is mandatory.

The product disinfects and removes excess moisture from the nail plate, which saves from various fungal diseases, because if a moist environment forms under the material, this will contribute to the development of pathogenic bacteria. The primer also increases the service life of the decorative coating.

Under shellac, experts recommend using an acid-free tool, so that the nails remain healthy after removing the manicure.

Before using gel polish, the primer can be neglected if the client has dry and non-greasy nails. If the client suffers from hyperhidrosis, primer application is a necessary ritual. It is also recommended to further protect brittle nails.

Primer for regular varnish

This tool can be applied under ordinary varnish. It will serve as a primer layer, level the working surface of the nail and protect it from the penetration of chemicals. For those who sweat a lot of sweat, the primer is just a godsend. Under the usual varnish, you can use a primer in which there is no acid.

Some manufacturing companies purposefully produce primers not only for gel and acrylic, but also for traditional varnish. For example, this is Yang nails with its acid-free Protein Bond. In tandem with varnish, you can use the base for coating.

Gel Nail Primer

The gel has large molecules, and they cannot adhere well to the scales of the nail. The primer fills the irregularities of the keratin fibers. For gel modeling, you can purchase an acid-free product. Experts advise applying it in two layers when building on tips or forms.

What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Tips should be handled carefully, it is important that the product does not fall on them, otherwise they will go cracked. The primer can be used for correction, but it can only be applied to an overgrown nail. Contact with skin or artificial turf should be avoided.

Primer for acrylic nails

For the acrylic extension procedure, a special agent with an acid content is provided. Means are suitable both for a lamp, and for natural drying. The waiting time is different, it is indicated on the package. Primers prevent the formation of cracks, do not change color and save delamination.

How to use a primer for nails – step by step instructions

What is a primer for nails and why is it needed, a true professional knows and actively applies it in his work. But even a beginner, having studied the instructions, can master the correct application technique, and then he will bring the desired results.

  1. First, a regular manicure is done and the cuticle is pushed back. Pre-prepared warm bath. Next, you need to remove the glossy gloss buff. Do not remove too much, otherwise you may damage and loosen the plate. Dust is removed with a brush. Now apply the primer. What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it
  2. A small amount of the drug is collected, the excess liquid can be removed with a napkin or brushed off the brush into the bottle.
  3. The brush is located in the center of the nail plate, you need to allow the primer to spread. A thin layer is applied, and the nail should be touched pointwise. Do not leave areas uncultivated. But a plentiful layer will lead to the opposite effect, the scales of the nail will close.
  4. If the primer gets on the skin, carefully and carefully remove the product with a napkin or rinse the area under running water.
  5. The drying step remains. There are several options: naturally, in a UV or LED lamp. Information on use can be found on the bottle or in the instructions. Drying the acid primer gives a pale gray coating, the acid-free product should dry well and leave no wet residue. The surface becomes rough to the touch.
  6. Now you can distribute the decorative coating.
  7. When gelled, the primer is applied before coating the base. If the system consists of 3 phases, then this will be the first layer. If it is a single-phase system, then the first layer is applied in a different way.
  8. The brush should be half dry, rubbing the product. The gel is then dispensed and a hand is placed in the lamp.
  9. If tips are used, then a primer is also applied to the bonder.
  10. The system is this: first, degreasing with ultrabonds is done, then a thin layer of an acid-free product is applied and glue is applied.
  11. After application, the primer retains its active properties for 40 minutes, so it is recommended to apply it on 2-3 nails in stages.

To dry the primer in the lamp

Self-curing and light curing primers stand out.

Self-curing nail plate primers dry quickly. Everything is individual, depending on the manufacturer and the saturation of the product – an average of 5 to 60 seconds. There is no need to dry them in the lamp.

What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it

Some manufacturers produce products that are dried in a UV lamp. This is usually indicated in the accom
panying information. Such primers have a thick and viscous texture, and the rest are liquid, like water.

It is important to observe the exposure time in the lamp indicated on the tool, otherwise you can damage the nails. Some primers dry for a long time.

The main thing is not to smear the next layer until the primer dries.

Professional primer recommendations

What is a primer for nails and why it is needed should now be clear.

But it remains to learn a few more tips from the masters of the nail industry:

  1. If the master injured the cuticle and bleeds, and there is no hemostatic agent at hand, you can use a primer, but there will be a strong burning sensation.
  2. If you apply too much of the product, the client may have a 3 degree burn.
  3. Before applying the finish layer, you can lightly walk through the cuticle. This will eliminate microcracks, detachments, and nails will look good until the next extension.
  4. When using an acid primer, periungual skin can be greased with a greasy cream. This will protect against possible irritation and burning.
  5. Avoid getting the primer on the tips when building.
  6. Apply the product with a brush.
  7. If the nails are too elastic, they pass along the end part and along the free edge with an acid-based product, the rest with ultrabond.

How can I replace gel polish primer

If you know about what a primer for nails, he can find a replacement. However, for what it is needed, not many know. Home options can only dry and disinfect the treated surface, it will not be possible to achieve adhesive properties.

Vinegar (9%) removes residual fat and promotes the evaporation of excess moisture, but it does not raise the scales of the nail, because it does not increase the tenacity of materials. Boric acid (3%) has antiseptic properties and slightly increases tenacity, but only gel is suitable.

Nail polish remover, if it does not contain acetone, nails and dries and increases the adhesive properties. You can work with it instead of a primer only if no oil is present in the composition.

What is a primer for nails and what is it for, for gel polish, shellac, acid-free. How to use it
The nail primer can be replaced with nail polish remover.

In addition, you can wash your hands thoroughly with laundry soap. This will help remove the oily layer, but the skin of the hands will suffer. Suitable 96% alcohol without impurities or lemon juice. All of these options are applicable, but will not give a significant effect, such as that provided by a special tool.

The primer protects nails from diseases, allows you to extend the joy of a first-class manicure. Beginners of nail art need to know in detail what a primer for nails is, how to choose it in accordance with the tasks, why it is needed and how to use it.

Useful videos on choosing and using a nail primer

Which primer to choose for beginners: acidic or acid-free:

The subtleties of using a primer for nails:

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