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What are Silk Wrap Nails?

By Devon Pryor
Updated May 21, 2024
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Silk wrap nails are a type of artificial fingernail, a synthetic nail reinforcement that is made from pieces of silk material. Just as in the application of other material nail wraps, the small piece of silken material is cut to the size and shape of the fingernail and applied using a small amount of glue. Once the glue is dry, the silk wrap is buffed to smooth the surface, and the process is complete.

Silk wrap nails are often preferred over other artificial nails reinforcements because they are flexible. Silk wrap nails are often considered to look most like a natural nail, which is another reason they might be preferred over other types of artificial nails. They are thinner than, for example, acrylic or gel nails, which are notably thicker than natural nails. Silk wrap nails are usually not appropriate for those with a particularly active lifestyle. This is because they are thinner and more fragile than other types of artificial nails.

One might choose to apply silk wrap nails in order to protect natural nails that have been weakened, cracked, or otherwise damaged. A silk wrap nail can act as a brace for the damaged natural nail, allowing it time to grow out and avoiding the necessity to cut the nail completely off. Silk wrap nails are usually applied directly over the natural nail. However, they may also be used to bind together a damaged artificial nail such as a plastic tip that has been cracked. If it is too early to remove the other type of damaged synthetic material from the nail, the silk wrap might be used to reinforce the artificial nail until the problem can be fixed. In this case, multiple layers of silk wrap are usually applied over the cracked nail tip.

Although like any nail reinforcement product, silk wrap nails are usually stronger than natural nails, and they can be damaging to the natural nail. This largely depends on the skill of the nail technician in the salon, and whether the wrap is applied, maintained, and removed correctly. For example, if the nail technician is too aggressive with pre-application filing of the nail, or uses too much glue, this can weaken the natural nail.

Another mistake a nail technician can make is lifting the natural nail up, which separates it from the nailbed and presents the risk of fungus growing under the nail. If the technician removes the silk wrap by simply pulling it off, this can also damage the natural nail. Silk wrap nails should be removed by placing hands in a plastic bag with cotton balls or pads that contain a small amount of acetone. After a few minutes, the hands are removed from the bag, the nails are rubbed with a generous amount of cuticle oil, and the silk wrap nails can be gently pulled off when the glue as broken down.

Nail polish may be used over silk wrap nails, though this may defeat the purpose of having chosen the natural-looking silk nail wraps. Cuticle oils or creams should be used to maintain the health of the cuticle and surrounding skin. Other types of artificial nails include paper wraps, fiberglass wraps, linen wraps, gel nails, and acrylic nails.

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Discussion Comments
By anon284370 — On Aug 09, 2012

As far as working in a hospital, the reason the ladies with the long/fake nails were making people sick was because of bacteria that could be harbored under the nail. Most of the times they wouldn't use a brush under their nails and it would let the bacteria flourish. It wasn't the actual nail itself.

By anon229914 — On Nov 16, 2011

For your information, I used to work in a hospital and a number of the newborns were dying for unexplained reasons. After many tests, medical reviews, lab work lots of expense etc., etc., it was discovered that the newborns were dying from the nurses who wore false nails, like acrylic, etc. This stuff kills people and anyone who handles food (and we all handle food) puts themselves and their family in danger.

Think about it. It stinks for a reason. Even smelling the stuff is dangerous. Be wise. Be smart.

By anon58870 — On Jan 05, 2010

silk wrap or try gel.

By anon29451 — On Apr 02, 2009

How many layers of the silk wrap "paper" should your nail tech use? I had a full set done where he put one. The tip on my thumb broke 2 days later. I went to another salon. She did a much better job re-doing it but said that they put two layers on a full set.

Is 2 a standard practice? Should I call the salon? Better Business Bureau?

By sandik — On Feb 10, 2009

i have become allergic to methyl methracylate and ethyl methracylate and benzophenone. Therefore i can't use acrylic nails anymore.

I'm looking for a safe glue so i can use silk wraps and get my nails back. any help is appreciated.

Thanks, Sandi

By anon14422 — On Jun 16, 2008

Last year I had an allergic reaction to the acrylic nails, but want to try something different now. Any suggestions?

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