Nail Primer and Dehydrator

Nail Primers & Dehydrators: The Secret to Long-Lasting Manicures

When it comes to achieving a long-lasting and flawless manicure, using a nail primer and dehydrator is essential. These two products work together to create the perfect base for your nail polish, ensuring that it adheres properly and lasts for days without chipping. In this article, we will explain what a nail primer and dehydrator are and how to use them for the best results.

What is a Nail Dehydrator?

Nail prep dehydrator on a table

A nail dehydrator, often referred to as nail prep, is a solution applied to the nails to eliminate moisture and oil from the nail plate. These elements can inhibit the proper adhesion of nail products like polish, acrylic, or gel. Dehydrators generally have a watery consistency and evaporate quickly, removing moisture and some oils from the nail plate. They contain ingredients such as Isopropyl Alcohol, Ethyl Acetate, and Isobutyl Acetate.

What is a Nail Primer?

Nail Primer on a table

A nail primer is a product that is applied to the natural nail before any other nail products. Its main purpose is to create a smooth and even surface for the nail polish to adhere to. It also helps to prevent staining and discolouration of the natural nail. Nail primers usually come in liquid form and are applied with a brush or a dropper.

Acid-Free vs. Acid Primers

  • Acid-Free Nail Primers: These are gentler and suitable for most users. They create an adhesive layer without etching the nail surface.
  • Acid Primers: These are stronger and create microscopic etches on the nail surface for products to grip onto. However, they can be more damaging to the natural nail and should be used with care.


Application Process: Primer or Dehydrator First?

Always begin with the nail dehydrator, followed by the nail primer. Applying in reverse can interfere with the primer's effectiveness. Remember, these should be used after prepping your cuticles and cleaning your nails.

How to Use Nail Primers & Dehydrators

Confused woman

  1. Prep Your Nails: Push back cuticles and gently file your nails.
  2. Clean Nails: Wipe your nails with a cotton pad soaked in acetone or rubbing alcohol.
  3. Apply Dehydrator: Coat your nails and wait for about 10 seconds for it to dry.
  4. Apply Primer: Then apply the nail primer.
  5. Apply Nail Product: Continue with your usual nail product application.

Note that nail primers and dehydrators do not need to be cured under a UV lamp – they air-dry very quickly.

When to Use Nail Primers & Dehydrators

These products are particularly essential for:

They are not typically used with regular nail polishes or press-on nails, but they can be.

Benefits of Using a Nail Primer and Dehydrator

Using a nail primer and dehydrator has many benefits, including:

  • Longer lasting manicures: By creating a smooth and even surface, the nail polish will adhere better and last longer.
  • Prevents staining: The primer and dehydrator help to prevent staining and discolouration of the natural nail.
  • Better adhesion: By removing any moisture or oils, the nail polish will adhere better and be less likely to chip or peel.
  • Protects the natural nail: The primer and dehydrator create a barrier between the nail and the nail polish, protecting the natural nail from damage.


Who Should Use Them?

Nail Primers are ideal for anyone wanting their manicure, such as acrylic or gel nails, to last longer without lifting. They are especially beneficial for individuals with oily nails. However, they are not recommended for those with very weak or brittle nails, as they can exacerbate these conditions.


Nail primers and dehydrators are indispensable tools for achieving long-lasting and chip-resistant manicures. By understanding their distinct roles and using them correctly, you can enjoy your favourite nail enhancements without the frustration of premature lifting or chipping. Remember, investing in high-quality products and following application instructions will lead to the best possible results.