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Our nail term glossary is a resource provided to our customers which offers simple definitions for various terms used in reference to nail care.

Please feel free to peruse our glossary for any terms you wish to define.




C Curve

It is the curvature of nail seen when looking at the nail from the fingertip toward the cuticle.




A natural stimulant found in tea, coffee and cacao plants that helps in warding off drowsiness.




A thickened and hardened part of the skin caused by friction.



Callus Remover (Mechanical)

Mechanical callus removers are tools used to remove calluses on the heel.



Callus Remover (Topical)

Topical callus removers are creams OR liquids applied to heels to soften them before filing.




Carbides are compounds composed of carbon and a metal, which is used to make electric file drill bits.




A substance known to have the potential to cause cancer.




Working permanently in a particular profession.



Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or weakness in hand, usually caused by pressure on the median nerve.




Cartilage is a firm body tissue but is softer and much more flexible than bone.



CAS Number

Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) identification number.




A substance that is added to a reaction to increase the reaction rate.




Chemicals that can rapidly burn organic tissue.




Micro-beads are used to create 3-D effect by gluing small multi colored beads to nails. 



Centipose (CPS)

Standard unit of measure for viscosity of liquids.



CEU (Continuing Education Unit)

A measure used in continuing education programs to assist professional to maintain their license in their profession.



Chamois Buffer

Nail buffer made from hide of goats or sheep.




Chamomile is common name for daisy-like plants commonly use due to their medicinal properties.



Chelating Surfactant

Cleaner used to clean tubing in pedi spas, it is a cleaner for hard water and acts by removing calcium, magnesium, iron and manganese metal ions from water.




Any substance that contains matter in any form (solid, liquid OR gas).




The branch of science that deals with study of matter and its properties, composition, and structure.




Nail art characterized by an inverted “V” shape instead of smile line on the tip area.




Nail art technique characterized by metallic OR reflective finish using a chrome powder OR polish.



Chronic Effects

Chronic effects are adverse health conditions that occur over a long period of time caused by long-term exposure.



Chronic Myofascial Pain

Muscle pain primarily caused due to repetitive motion, surgery, muscle injury and poor posture and nail techs are at risk of suffering from it.



Cinderella Hand

Cinderella Hand is the dominant hand of a nail artist.




A spice extracted from inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree.



Citric Acid

Citric Acid is received from citrus fruits and is used for treatment of nail fungal infections, preservative and pH-balancer



Claw Pose

Claw like shape used to show off all five nails.




Slang for long, pointed nails.




Cleaning the edges around the polished nail using a nail brush for a clean, clear line.




Cleansers are used to remove oil and moisture from the nail plate. Cleansers also help moisturize the nail plate which further helps the bonding of nail art products, polishes and base/top coats.

 Clipper Tips

A tool used to trim and cut acrylic nail tips.

Clippers Nail  A tool used to trim and cut nails.


A polymer made from monomers of two or more different kinds.




Any substance that is applied on the nail plate such as nail polish, top coats, base coats etc.



Coffin Nails (AKA Ballerina)

Nail art characterized by squared off nail tip.




Collagen is the major insoluble fibrous protein in the extracellular matrix and in connective tissue. It is most abundant protein in the human body.



Color Blocking

The technique of nail painting, that involves adding several, different color areas to a single nail.



Colored Acrylics

Acrylic powders tinted with color; which is used to create custom pigment improvements or permanent nail art with standard monomers.



Colored Acrylics And Gels

Pre colored acrylic or gel substance that allows for the construction of nails with color built-in to the framework of the nail.



Colored Gel

When pigment OR color is added to a gel (semi-solid monomers and oligomers) it is transformed into colored gel, which then can be applied to nails.




Liquids with flash point At OR Greater Than 100ºF / 37.8º C




Commissions are a form of variable-pay remuneration for services rendered or products sold.




Nail competitions are events where nail technicians test their talents. Competitions usually encourage rivals to build a flawless nail that is judged by a panel of judges.



Competition Products

Competition products are nail products that are used in competitions and are generally fast-setting.



Contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis is a type of Eczema (dry and irritated skin) triggered by contact with a particular substance.




Action of making something impure by polluting or poisoning it.



Continuing Education

Education provided to professionals after they have left the formal education system, consisting typically of short or part-time courses.



Core Collection

A polish or a range of polishes that are part of the permanent line of a company.




A corn is a common, uncomfortable, thickened skin lesion on top of the toe that is usually caused by friction




A Corporation is created as a separate legal body under the laws of a state, that has rights and responsibilities that are separate from those of its members. The protection of personal properties from the allegations of creditors and litigation is one of the most important legal advantages of incorporation.




Materials that can chemically damage exposed body tissues.



Cosmetic Drugs

Products that are used both as cosmetics and to prevent OR treat any disease and must follow both drug and cosmetic provisions of the law.




Materials that are used to cleanse, beautify, strengthen or modify the face, skin, hair, nails or teeth, such as make-up, perfume, skin cream, nail polish, soap, shampoo, shaving cream and deodorant.



Covalent Bond

A chemical bond that involves the sharing of electron pairs between atoms.




Shatter finish OR crackle is a type of nail polish that is a kind of polish that you add on top of another that dries easily and shatters as it dries, producing a finish that looks scratched.



Cream / Creme

Opaque colored nail paint with a shiny finish.




Crelly is combination of cream and jelly, a nail polish which is not opaque when applied but looks like opaque when layered.



Cross-Linked Polymer

A cross-link is a bond that links one polymer chain to another increasing strength and durability.




Chemicals used for connecting two or more polymer chains together.



Cruelty Free

Products not tested on animals.



Crystal Files

Crystal nail files are files which are much gentler on the nails and are known to reduce chipping and peeling, they are easy to clean and use.




A mechanism by which a chemical is converted into a stable crystalline state from a liquid solution




Cucumber is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Cucumber fruits consist of 95% water and because of its high-water content and anti-inflammatory properties it is widely used in beauty and skin care products.



Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTDS)

It is occupation-related injury defined as inflammation of tissues because of the excessive wear and tear on muscles, tendons, and nerve tissues




When the nail coating is hardened beyond the drying stage it is called cure.




A surgical tool used to extract material via a scraping action.



Curing Agent

Substance that is used to harden a surface or material, all nail polishes and other nail products have some form of curing agent.



Custom Blending

The art of mixing various nail polishes or paints to produce a unique look.




Dead skin at the base of a fingernail or toenail.



Cuticle Drag

When brushing Polish over an area that has already been polished, drag takes place, literally pulling the first Polish coating away, leaving the application messy.



Cuticle Flooding

A mistake while applying nail polish which is too thin, which leads to flooding of the cuticle area.



Cuticle Gap

Cuticle gap is the tiny bit of space left between a polish and the cuticle and walls of the nail. The space is left to make a manicure look clean and tidy and depends on personal preference.



Cuticle Oil

Cuticle oil helps to keep cuticles soft and reduce future nail breakage. It is applied on the fingertips to reduce loss of moisture and soften them.




The outermost layers of skin.




Cyanoacrylate are strong fast-acting adhesives used in nail tip application and wraps.













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