What are Nail Primers & Dehydrators- How & When to Apply

What are Nail Primers & Dehydrators- How & When to Use
What are Nail Primers & Dehydrators- How & When to Use

When you are doing manicures such as acrylic or gel as a beginner it can be very confusing. This is because they are so many different types of products that you need to use.

Now in this article, we are going to be tackling nail primers and nail dehydrators we will tell you:

  • What Nail Primers are Dehydrators
  • How to use them
  • When to use them
  • The types of Nail Primers – and Compare Acid or Acid-Free

What are Nail Dehydrators

Nail Dehydrators also known as nail prep are applied to nails to remove moisture and oil from the nail plate.

When oil or moisture is on the nail plate it can prevent nail products such as nail polish, acrylic, or gel from bonding properly to the nails.

Most dehydrators have a watery consistency and contain ingredients like Isopropyl Alcohol, Ethyl Acetate, and Isobutyl Acetate. A dehydrator will evaporate really fast helping to remove any moisture and some of the oil on the nail plate.

Did you know that you can easily DIY a Nail Dehydrator at home? click here to learn more.

What are Nail Primers

Nail Primers are applied to your nails to make your nail product such as acrylic or gel adhere better to your nails. They are used to prevent premature lifting and peeling.

There are two main types of nail primers acid-free nail primers and acid primers.

Acid-free Nail Primers are the most commonly used which is why most of this article will focus on them. I am going to cover both types at the end of the article so Keep reading to learn more.

Mia Secret has one of the best combo set with a great Nail Primer & Dehydrator, click here to see the price on Amazon.

Which One to Apply First Nail Primer or Dehydrator

Always apply the nail dehydrator first and then the nail primer. If you apply the nail primer first and then the dehydrator it will affect how the primer works.

Also, remember Nail dehydrators and primers are applied after prepping your cuticles and filing and cleaning your nails.

Dehydrators and Nail primers are applied right before you start applying your nail products.

You can click here to see the Best Brand of Nail Primers and Dehydrators.

How to Use Nail Primers & Dehydrators

  1. Firstly, you need to prep your nails by pushing back your cuticles.
  2. And then gently file your nails with a medium grit nail file to remove the sheen.
  3. Next, clean your nails with a cotton pad soaked in acetone or rubbing alcohol.
  4. Now you can apply a coat of the nail dehydrator and wait 10 seconds for it to dry.
  5. Then apply a coat of nail primer.
  6. Finally, apply your nail product as you usually would.

You do not need to let your nail primer dry or cure it will have a sticky or tacky texture which is normal.

Do You Need to Cure the Nail Primer or Dehydrator

You do not need to use a UV nail lamp to cure a nail primer or dehydrator. Both products are usually applied in thin layers and they air-dry very quickly.

Even primers and dehydrators made to work with Gel do not need to be cured. Only gel base coats and some brands of nail bonders require curing. But once a product is named nail primer, nail dehydrator, or nail prep then they do not require curing.

Related Article- Nail Primer vs Base Coat – Which One Should You Use

When to Apply Nail Primers & Dehydrators

Both Nail Primers and Dehydrators are used for:

  1. Acrylic Nails
  2. Builder Gel Nails
  3. Polygel nails
  4. BIAB Nails
  5. Gel Polish
  6. Dip Powder

Nail Primers and Dehydrators are not commonly used when applying regular Nail Polishes or Press on Nails, but you can do so.

If you are working with gel nails then consider using a nail bonder – click here to see 4 Best Nail Bonders to Make Your Nails Last Longer

Who Should Use Nail Primers & Dehydrators

Nail Primers should be used by anyone who wants their manicure such as acrylic or gel nails to last longer without lifting.

They are especially useful if you have oily nails and your manicures are prone to premature lifting and chipping.

Who Shouldn’t Use Nail Primers & Dehydrators

Now I would not recommend nail primers and dehydrators to individuals who:

  • Have very weak and brittle nails since these products can further damage them.
  • Want to remove their manicures quickly and won’t have them for too long. If you plan to remove your manicure in a week, primers are not for you.

I also, don’t recommend primers and dehydrators for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Related Articles:

How Acrylic Ruin Your Nails & Tips to Prevent Damages

Nail Primers Vs Nail Dehydrators

Both nail primers and nail dehydrators are best used together. Since they complement each other and have the same goal to make your manicures last longer.

But they work in different ways, nail primers are more like glue whilst dehydrators are more of a cleaning product.

If I had to choose only one product to use it would be a Nail Primer. Since I can remove some amount of moisture and oil from the nail plate using acetone or rubbing alcohol instead of a dehydrator but I can’t replicate the effects of the nail primer.

Types of Nail Primers

They are two types of Nail primers;

  • Acid primers
  • Acid-free primers.

Now the most commonly used type of nail primer is acid-free primers which is the one I and most other nail techs recommend.

What are Acid Primers

Acid Nail Primers contain acid and work by making microscopic scratches on your nail plate to allow the nail product to better grip or hold onto your nails.

These primers usually contain large amounts of Methacrylic acid or a similar type of acid. Citation.

When using an acid primer you don’t need to use a dehydrator since an acid primer will work to remove any moisture and oils on your nails.

Acid nail primers are not frequently used anymore. This is because acid nail primers:

  • Tend to be harsher on your nails
  • Can lead to your nails developing a yellowish tinge
  • Even burn your skin if they come into contact with it.

But if interested you can click here to see the price for a bottle of Acid Nail Primer on Amazon.

What are Acid-Free Nail Primers

Acid-free primers are like glue they work by bonding firmly to your nails and to the nail product such as acrylic or gel.

Acid-free nail primers tend to have a sticky consistency and each brand will have a different formula with varying ingredients.

My favorite acid-free primer is by Young Nails, you can click here to see the price for a bottle on Amazon

Acid vs Acid-Free Nail Primers – Differences & which is better

Acid Nail Primers tend to work better than Acid-free primers. But acid primers are also harsher on your nail plate and excessive use can damage your nails.

Whilst acid-free nail primers are safer and less damaging and when paired with a dehydrator it is just as effective as an acid primer.

This is why I and most nail techs have moved away from using acid primers and instead use a combination of an acid-free primer with a dehydrator.

Related Article – Are Nail Primers & Dehydrators Necessary – Benefits & Risks