What is Monomer and Polymer for Nails?


Are you a manicure enthusiast seeking answers to the question: what is monomer and polymer for nails? These two chemical compounds play a crucial role in the creation of acrylics. Let’s delve into the differences between monomer and polymer for nails.

What is Liquid Monomer?

Nail liquids, also known as monomers, primarily consist of ethyl methacrylate (EMA). In some cases, they may contain additional monomers and additives. These monomers typically have a purple tint and contain UV inhibitors to protect the acrylic polymer from yellowing.

Liquid monomer is combined with polymers to create a paste-like substance, used to shape the nails using nail and paper forms as molds. It is advisable to use monomers and nail polymers from the same manufacturer to avoid undesirable outcomes such as nail yellowing, weak sculpting, or allergic reactions.

Exploring Different Types of Monomers

Let’s take a closer look at the various types of monomers available, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits:

Slow Setting

Ideal for beginners, this type of monomer offers a longer hardening process, allowing ample time to work on the nails, correct any minor imperfections, and achieve the desired shape.


Widely used in the industry, normal monomers have a hardening process that typically lasts no longer than two to three minutes.

Competition Monomer

As the name suggests, competition monomers are favored for their rapid setting capabilities. They can set in less than one minute, making them popular choices for competitions.


Monomers often emit a strong odor, necessitating adequate ventilation during the application process. However, odorless monomers have been developed to address this issue, providing a more pleasant experience.

Understanding Nail Polymers

Nail polymer is a powder with an acrylic base that plays a crucial role in the creation of acrylic nails. When it comes into contact with liquid monomer, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in the formation of a solid clay-like substance that can be used to sculpt the nails.

For optimal results, it is recommended to mix the polymer with a monomer from the same brand. This detail is fundamental in achieving desirable outcomes. Nail polymers are commonly used to reconstruct damaged nails caused by accidents or diseases.

Exploring Basic Polymer Colors for Nail Art

Acrylic nail powders come in a variety of shades, each serving a specific purpose. Here are the basic polymer colors used in nail art:

  • Natural: Used for sculpting the base of the nail.
  • Pink: Ideal for creating natural-looking nails.
  • Crystal Pink: Perfect for sculpting the entire nail or as the base for a French manicure.
  • White: Used for French manicures.
  • Light White: Recommended for a natural-looking French manicure.
  • Crystal: Used for encapsulation and to achieve a more natural appearance.
  • Peach: A subtle peach tone, offering a natural look.
  • Pink: Mimics the natural appearance of the nail.

Forming the Acrylic Bead: Step-by-Step Guide

To create the acrylic bead, follow these steps:

  1. Dip a kolinsky brush (preferably a number 8 or 6) into the monomer.
  2. Pick up a small amount of polymer with the brush tip.
  3. The wet polymer will adhere together, forming a “pearl” of acrylic.
  4. Place the pearl on the desired part of the nail.
  5. If using paper molds for extensions, position the mold on the natural nail and drag it over the surface until the desired size is achieved.
  6. For acrylic nail tips, place the pearl on top of the tip and spread it across the entire tip.

Tips for Nail Art Enthusiasts

Consider the following tips to enhance your nail art skills:

  • Practice on a practice hand to replicate the original technique.
  • File the edges and excess material to refine your work.
  • Utilize templates with circles to perfect the mixture’s density.

Surprise your friends and family with your newfound nail art skills. They are sure to be amazed!

You May Also Like: The Ultimate Guide to Nail Tech Tipping, Salon Etiquette, and More

Remember, mastering the art of monomer and polymer application is just the beginning. Explore other essential topics such as nail tech tipping, salon etiquette, and more in our comprehensive guide.

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