The use of the nail dehydrator and primer is an essential step in any gel manicure or nail extensions application process.
But the names that nail dehydrator and nail primer are often sold under may be confusing.
And for beginners, the procedure of their application is unclear either.
Today I’ll explain everything about these two nail products and their functions.
In addition to that, I’ll show you how to apply them properly and safely.
Best nail dehydrator and primer sets
|Mia Secret||Dehydrator and primer duo set, low odor. Acid-free, works with acrylics, gels, gel nail polishes, polygels.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Gelish pH Bond||Gelish dehydrator||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Gelish Pro Bond||Gelish non-acid primer, works with acylics and gel-based products.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Morovan||Acid-free, doesn't work with acrylics, has a strong smell.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Karlash||Non-acid, works with acrylics.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Reazeal||Non-acid, works with acrylics, has a strong smell.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Mefa||Non-acid, doesn't work with acrylics.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Makartt||Non-acid, doesn't work with acrylics, low odor.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Cheri||Non-acid, works with acrylics, the dehydrator is actually a cleanser, not a real dehydrator.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|IBD||Acid, works with acrylics, very strong||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Azurebeauty||Acid, doesn't work with acrylics.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
|Modelones||Acid, doesn't work with acrylics, has a strong smell.||CHECK ON AMAZON|
Mia Secret Nail Prep And Xtrabond
Mia Secret is a professional nail brand from Los Angeles, CA.
All their products are made in the USA.
The brand manufactures nail products, eyelash extensions, waxing, and spa body care products.
This nail duo set contains a dehydrator, sold under the name Nail Prep, and a primer called Xtrabond.
These are professional-grade products used by nail technicians in salons. But you can use them at home too.
Mia Secret dehydrator works really well for people with oily nails who have a problem with lifting.
You can make your nails stay up to 3 weeks with this duo set if you apply everything right.
They can make your extensions last even if normally your gel or acrylic nails pop off after a few days.
The primer is acid-free, which is a huge plus. It won’t cause any acid burns.
Acid-free primers don’t contain any acids at all and are pretty gentle to your nails.
Of course, they are much safer than acid primers.
And even safer than non-acid ones.
Very few brands sell acid-free primers. Most sell non-acid products.
Non-acid primers are still safe, but they do contain acids. Just not the aggressive methacrylic acid.
Mia Secret’s Xtrabond primer is formulated to work with both gel nail polishes and all kinds of nail extensions.
Including acrylics, UV/LED gels, and polygels.
This is a big plus because many acid-free and non-acid primers from other brands will only work with gel-based products and won’t prevent acrylic nails from coming off.
That’s why often nail techs have to use acid primers for acrylic nails.
The products in Mia Secret’s duo set also work well with other brands of gel nail polishes, gels, polygels, and acrylics, not only with Mia Secret’s own products.
As with any nail dehydrator and primer, make sure to apply these products in one coat only and don’t cure them under the lamp.
The only downside of this duo set is that it may be more difficult to soak off your gel nail polish after you have used the Xtrabond primer.
So use it sparingly. You can apply it just to the free edge and the surrounding area.
Both the dehydrator and the primer don’t smell too much. You can barely feel the odor.
But even if you find the smell unpleasant, it goes away pretty quickly after the products fully dry. And this happens in about a minute.
Gelish pH Bond
Gelish Pro Bond
Gelish is one of the most famous gel nail polish brands on the market.
It was created by a nail professional, winner of nail competitions, Danny Hale.
Gelish was the first gel nail polish that could be cured with LED lights. Back then all gel polishes were UV ones.
Gelish products are often used in salons.
And of course, the company sells good quality dehydrator and primer that work with their gel nail polishes.
Gelish sells its dehydrator under the name pH Bond and the primer under the name Pro Bond.
Gelish has a number of product sets that contain the pH bond dehydrator.
But the company doesn’t sell the Pro Bond primer as part of any of these sets.
So you have to buy the primer separately.
The Pro Bond primer is acid-free. So it’s a safe professional product loved by many nail technicians.
A big plus of it is that it also works with any kind of nail extension and overlay materials — with acrylics, UV gels, gel nail polishes, polygels, and dip powders.
And the primer is universal, so it’s suitable for use with any other brand, not only Gelish.
Both the pH Bond and the Pro Bond were created with professional nail techs’ needs in mind.
So they really help your gel manicure or extensions last.
Morovan Nail Dehydrator and Primer
Morovan is a brand of acrylics, gels, and polygels from China.
This duo set is a professional product.
It consists of a nail prep dehydrator and primer.
This primer is another acid-free product on the market, just like Mia Secret’s one. Which is a big plus.
However, unlike Mia Secret’s Xtrabond, Morovan’s nail primer is formulated to be used with UV gel-based products only.
Such as gel nail polishes, gels, and polygels.
The manufacturer states it won’t work with acrylics.
Another downside is that Morovan’s products have a strong chemical smell.
But as soon as the products dry in about a minute, the smell is completely gone.
Karlash Nail Dehydrator And Nail Primer
Karlash is a New York-based company selling acrylic nail products, dip systems, waxing products, and nail polishes.
They sell their dehydrator and primer under the names Nail Prep (dehydrator) and Max Bond (primer).
The manufacturer claims that these are professional products for the spa industry.
But of course, you can use them at home, because the primer is a non-acid one, and is pretty safe.
This is not as great as an acid-free primer, but is still very safe because it doesn’t contain any methacrylic acid at all.
A plus of this set is that the primer is compatible with all kinds of nail extensions, including acrylics and gels.
Not all non-acid primers work with acrylics.
Needless to say, Karlash primer works great with gel nail polish too.
Reazeal Nail Prep And Bond
Reazeal is a manufacturer of nail products, magnetic eyelashes, and beauty tools from California that actually originates from China.
This set consists of a Nail Prep Dehydrator and Bond Primer.
The primer is non-acid. And it’s formulated to work with both acrylic and dip powder nails, and UV gel materials.
This is a big plus, as few non-acid primers can really prevent acrylic nails from lifting.
Reazeal primer can make your nails stay on for up to 3 weeks.
However, it’s a bit smelly. But the smell evaporates pretty fast.
Mefa Nail Dehydrator And Nail Primer
Mefa is another Chinese manufacturer of nail products, including gel nail polishes and dip powder kits.
Mefa sells its nail dehydrator and primer as a duo set too.
The company has named its primer simply Nail Primer and its dehydrator Nail Primer Dehydrator.
So don’t be confused. Only the first product is the primer, not both of them.
The primer is a non-acid one.
Mefa primer will work with UV gels, polygels, and gel nail polishes only. It’s not suitable for creating acrylic nails.
Both products in the duo pack do the job really well and successfully prevent any lifting of gel nails.
Makartt Nail Dehydrator And Primer
Makartt is a Chinese brand of salon-grade nail tools and products.
For example, nail e-files, lamps, acrylic tips, gel nail polishes.
They are best known for manufacturing large polygel sets.
And their dehydrator and primer work great with their line of polygels and with other brands’ polygels too.
The primer is a non-acid one, and it also works with gels and gel nail polishes.
But it is not suitable for acrylic nails.
This primer is also a low odor one, which is a big plus for people sensitive to smells.
Makartt states that their nail primer has a new, updated formula with less odor than it had before and that it’s less smelly than products made by other manufacturers.
Cheri Nail Prep And Bonding Primer
Cheri is a Los Angeles-based nail products manufacturer, known for their acrylic systems.
The duo pack consists of a Nail Prep dehydrator and a non-acid Bonding Primer.
And this primer works well with acrylics and hard gels, which is a great feature as non-acid primers are rarely formulated to work with acrylic nails.
Of course, it works with all gels, polygels, and gel nail polishes too.
However, the downside of this set is that the dehydrator is made of 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
So it’s not a real dehydrator but rather a nail cleanser.
IBD Dehydrator And Acrylic Primer For Nails
IBD stands for International Beauty Design.
The company has been manufacturing nail products for over 40 years.
Their top products today are hard gels, builder gels, acrylics, dip powders, and gel nail polishes.
The IBD duo set contains a dehydrator and a stick primer.
These are salon-grade products loved by professional nail techs.
However, the primer is an acid one, with methacrylic acid inside.
And it’s extremely strong!
As the manufacturer states, it’s because this primer is high on the pH scale for acidity.
So it creates a very strong bond between the nail and all the artificial materials.
The primer is universal. It’s made to work with any kind of extensions and is especially good for acrylic and hard gel nails.
After all, IBD specializes in hard gels and acrylics.
Buy the IBD primer only if you have problems with your nails, such as hyperhidrosis, and if no extensions ever stay.
And use it with caution! Never let it spread to the skin surrounding the nails to prevent getting chemical burns.
Also, while most primers need to be applied in one coat only, IBD’s instructions say you need to apply it in 2 coats. Which is a downside, because it doubles the risk that you can burn yourself.
In case you spill the acid primer on your skin, IBD recommends to “rinse thoroughly with water and neutralize the burn with an alcohol-based product”.
The dehydrator is acid-free, of course.
Azurebeauty Nail Prep And Primer
Azurebeauty is another Chinese brand on this list.
The company is best known for its pretty dip powder kits and lovely pastel and glitter gel nail polishes.
This duo set consists of the Nail Prep dehydrator and the Nail Primer.
Azurebeauty primer is an acid one. So use it with extreme caution. Avoid applying it to the skin at all costs.
It’s only suitable for problematic nails that make your gel coating or extensions lift.
For example, hyperhidrosis, which makes your hands sweaty and your nails too moist.
However, it only works with UV gels, polygels, and gel-based products.
Which is a downside, because even though it’s an acid primer it’s still not recommended for use with acrylics.
It does help gel nails stay on a lot longer though.
Modelones Nail Dehydrator And Primer
Modelones is yet another company from China, known for its nail products, especially gels and gel nail polishes, including mood-changing ones.
Dehydrator and primer duo from Modelones contains Nail Prep Dehydrator and Nail Primer.
Modelones primer is another acid product that unfortunately works only with UV gels and gel-based products. Be very careful with it!
It won’t be of any use with acrylic nail extensions or acrylic overlays, even though Modelones manufactures acrylic powders and dip powder kits.
However, like any acid primer, this product works really well for nails with hyperhidrosis.
A downside of this primer is that it’s quite smelly, but the smell only lasts for a minute, until the product dries.
What is a nail dehydrator?
Nail dehydrator is a liquid that removes all the natural oils and moisture from the bare nail plate to prepare it for the application of gel nail polish, nail overlays, or extensions.
You need to remove all the oils and moisture from your nails to increase the adhesion of the gel base coat or any nail overlay or extensions.
To put it simply, de-oiling your nails helps your gel manicure, nail overlay, or nail extensions stay better and last longer.
Some brands sell dehydrators under the names like pH Bond, Nail Prep, etc.
All these products are nail dehydrators too.
You can buy the dehydrator along with the primer in a duo set that most brands offer.
Or you can also buy it as a standalone product.
You can use the dehydrator with ordinary nail polishes (non-gel ones) if you want, but it’s not required.
When do I use the nail dehydrator?
Use the dehydrator after you’ve prepared the nail plate but before you have used the primer.
That means you need to use it after you have:
- Filed the nails to the desired shape with a nail file;
- Buffed the shine off the nail plate and roughened the nail plate a bit;
- Cleaned any dust left from filing with a nail cleanser liquid and a lint-free wipe.
How to cleanse the nail plate?
Get a lint-free wipe.
Don’t use a cotton pad or a cotton ball because they leave lint behind and you’ll need to cleanse the nail plate again.
Use a nail cleanser that contains 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
Don’t clean any tips or nail extensions with a nail cleanser.
Only use it on your natural nails.
Don’t use any cuticle oils or hand creams at the beginning of your manicure.
These products are oily and will ruin it.
You don’t need oils at this stage. You need to get rid of them during the preparation to help the manicure stay.
Only use cuticle oil and hand cream at the final stage, after you’ve finished your manicure.
That means after you have applied all the layers of the gel nail polish, cured them, and removed the sticky layer.
Or after you have completely done your acrylic, gel, or polygel nail overlays or extensions.
How to use nail dehydrator?
The dehydrator usually comes in a small bottle with a brush in the bottle cap.
Just like a gel nail polish.
But dehydrator is a clear liquid.
So pick up the bottle cap and use the brush.
Apply it in one single coat.
Don’t be scared when your nails turn white and a bit rough after you have used the dehydrator.
This is a natural effect of dehydration.
If the product evaporates and makes your nail look white then you don’t need another coat.
If it doesn’t dehydrate your naIls enough with a single coat then you need another coat of dehydrator.
Don’t worry, it won’t ruin your nail plate.
Only use a little bit of product.
You can get the excess dehydrator off the brush by wiping the brush against the inner wall of the bottle opening.
Apply it to the natural nail plate only.
You don’t need to dehydrate overlays or extensions. Because artificial nails don’t produce natural oils.
No need to cure the dehydrator. It dries very quickly on its own.
Wait for it to evaporate completely before you go to the next step and apply the primer.
How to store my nail dehydrator?
Always keep your dehydrator bottle tightly closed.
As the dehydrator evaporates easily.
And keep it away from heat.
What is a nail primer?
Nail primer is a bonding agent that helps the gel base coat, gel nail polish, nail overlays, or extensions stick to the natural nail plate.
Primer also has protective qualities and seals the tiny pores on your nail plate.
It may block fungus from appearing on your nails because it prevents lifting.
So no unpleasant stuff can get under the coating onto the natural nail.
Many nail brands call their nail primers Bond, Pro Bond, Max Bond, Xtrabond, Bonding Primer, etc.
Just like dehydrator, nail primer comes in nail polish-like bottles with a brush.
So you just brush it on like a nail polish product.
Use a non-acid or an acid-free nail primer.
I recommend you to use an acid-free primer or a non-acid primer when you are doing your own nails at home.
And you can ask your nail tech to use an acid-free primer or a non-acid primer on your nails at a salon too.
In fact, many nail techs are already using acid-free and non-acid primers on their clients anyway.
What are these acid, non-acid, and acid-free primers?
Acid nail primer
Acid primer was the original primer used in the nail industry.
While the acid-free primer is a recent invention.
Acid primer is a much more aggressive product.
It contains methacrylic acid and it is corrosive to the human skin.
That means you can get an acid burn if you accidentally apply it to your skin.
It’s also damaging to the nail plate in the long run.
You need to use it with extreme caution and keep it out of reach of children at all times!
And if you decide to use it, do it very sparingly.
I don’t recommend using acid primer at home at all unless you’re a skilled nail tech.
It’s only needed for nails with serious problems. For example, hyperhidrosis, also known as sweaty palms.
And it works great with acrylic nail extensions. Because it prevents lifting.
But its use may be an overkill for a home gel nail polish manicure, for example.
After all, if the manicure lifts it’s easier to redo it than to risk getting your hands burned just to make it stay on a bit longer.
The non-acid primer contains a bit of acid. But it’s not methacrylic acid.
This kind of primer won’t get you burned and is safe to use at home.
But still, avoid its contact with the skin.
Acid-free nail primer is a new generation product that doesn’t contain any acids at all.
So it’s much safer than an acid primer.
It’s quite gentle and can be used on any kind of nail plate.
Acid-free primer basically works as double-sided scotch tape and really improves adhesion.
This kind of primer is mostly used for gel nail polish manicure and gel nail extensions.
Do I need to use a nail primer at all?
There are gel nail polish manufacturers who specifically require or recommend the use of a primer. For example, Gelish.
Others don’t state it.
But it’s still a good idea to use the primer to make your manicure more durable.
Nail extensions, like acrylic nails, gel nails, polygel nails, always require the use of nail primer, otherwise they may lift.
When do I use the nail primer?
Use the nail primer in the preparation stage of your gel manicure or the application of nail overlays or extensions.
Use it right after the dehydrator has evaporated.
That means you can use it after filing, buffing, cleaning, and dehydrating the nails.
Apply the primer to the nails before applying the base coat.
No need to use the primer with regular nail polishes (non-gel ones).
How to apply the nail primer?
Apply it in one coat only!
Don’t apply it to tips or extensions.
The primer is needed to increase the bond between the natural nail plate and artificial materials or coatings.
So apply it only to the bare natural nail plate
Don’t apply it to the area near the cuticles.
If it leaks into the cuticles the polish will leak there too because the primer will work as a slide.
You can cover the entire nail plate with a thin layer of the primer.
Or you can apply it to the area near the free edge and to the free edge of the nail only.
This method allows you to remove the polish easier later.
Applying it only to the free edge is the most often recommended way to use the nail primer.
The tip of the nail is the area most prone to chipping and lifting, so it’s important to apply it there.
That way it will be protected by the primer.
Always use a small amount of product, otherwise, your gel nail polish may lift.
Scrape the extra product off against the bottle’s opening before you apply it to the nail.
Let it air dry for 30 seconds or a minute.
Some brands may take more time to dry.
Don’t use the lamp with the primer!
This product doesn’t need to be cured.
It just simply air dries.
So now you know what nail dehydrator and primer are. And I hope that you’ll be able to use them properly.