How to Build an Apex
Proper placement and thickness of the apex translates into added strength of the nail.
What is the Apex?
The apex is the highest or thickest point of a nail enhancement. It may be created using acrylic or gel, and is best viewed from the side. Proper placement and thickness of the apex translates into added strength of the nail and also contributes to the overall beauty of the enhancement.
Where is the Apex?
Proper apex placement is where there has been some confusion. The apex should be positioned over the stress area, which is located midway between the cuticle line and the extension edge. The position of the apex will change depending on the length of the enhancement. If you applied slight pressure on the extension edge, a faded area will appear midway down the nail and that is where the apex should go for maximum strength.
Note: The stress area is not necessarily at the free edge line.
Are the Upper Arch and Apex the same?
The upper arch is determined by the apex. The highest part of the apex is the upper arch. This is where the product is applied the thickest, and then it is tapered down thin to the cuticle, sidewalls and extension edge.
Note: Tapering the sidewalls and extension edge is what gives the enhancement the necessary flexibility to withstand everyday wear and tear.
Why do you need a properly placed Apex?
A well balanced and designed enhancement will maintain the longevity of the service as well as beauty and toughness while the nail grows out. Toughness is described as a combination of strength and flexibility. A nail tech needs to create toughness in the overall design.
How is the Apex created?
Product application plays a large role in the overall dimension of the enhancement. Proper placement of the apex and creating thin edges can be done during the application. Learn to sculpt with the brush and not the file. Use smaller more controlled beads when applying product. Use a larger bead in zone two, and press lightly from side to side leaving the center relatively high. If necessary, file the unwanted product thickness to the desired final overall look.
Again, try to practice building the apex without filing. Filing only created more work for you, the nail technician.
Note: CONSISTENCY IS KEY. Many technicians that sculpt on a form tend to make zone one (the extension) a little flat. There is no harm in this, but you want to make sure that the apex is positioned in the same place on each nail creating consistency from nail to nail and hand to hand.