Does Nail Primer Or Dehydrator First

When it comes to nail prep, there are many steps involved to ensure a perfect and long-lasting manicure. One of the most important steps in the process is the use of a nail primer or dehydrator. Both of these products are commonly used in the nail industry, but the question remains- which should be applied first? In this article, we’ll explore the difference between nail primer and dehydrator and the benefits of using them in the correct order for optimal nail performance.

What is Nail Primer?

A nail primer is a product that is applied to the nails before any other nail treatment. The purpose of a nail primer is to create a barrier between the natural nail and the artificial product being applied. It helps to prevent any damage to the natural nail and helps to extend the life of the artificial product. Nail primer usually comes in a liquid or gel form and is applied using a brush.

The most common types of nail primer include acid-based, acid-free, and bonding primers. Acid-based primers are considered the strongest, and they work by etching the nail surface to create a rough texture. Acid-free primers, on the other hand, do not contain any harmful chemicals and are generally preferred for those with sensitive skin. Bonding primers, as the name suggests, are designed to help nail enhancements adhere more effectively to the natural nail.

What is a Nail Dehydrator?

Nail dehydrator is another product commonly used in the nail industry, and it is applied after the nails have been cleaned and filed. Dehydrators are specifically designed to remove any moisture or natural oils from the nails, making them more receptive to nail treatments like primer, acrylics, and gels.

Dehydrators are usually applied using a brush and come in both liquid and spray form. They work by breaking down the natural oils on the nail surface, leaving the nails dry and ready for the next step.

Which Comes First – Nail Primer or Dehydrator?

When it comes to using a nail primer or dehydrator, there is some debate among nail technicians about which product should be applied first. While some prefer to apply a dehydrator before a nail primer, others believe that applying a nail primer first is the more effective method.

The truth is, both nail primer and dehydrator are essential for preparing the nails before adding any artificial product, but the order in which they are used can make a difference in the overall performance.

Acid-based nail primers, in particular, tend to work better when applied directly to the natural nail. This is because they are designed to etch the nail surface, which creates a rough texture that allows for better adhesion of the artificial product. If a dehydrator is applied first, it can remove some of the natural oils and moisture that are necessary to activate the acid in the primer, reducing its effectiveness.

On the other hand, if an acid-free or bonding primer is being used, applying a dehydrator first can improve the product’s adhesion. The dehydrator will remove any oils or moisture that may interfere with the bonding process, creating a smooth surface for the primer to adhere to.

Ultimately, the most important factor when deciding which product to apply first is to consider the specific product being used and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Always read the label and follow the recommended application process to ensure optimal results.

Other Important Nail Prep Tips

In addition to using a nail primer and dehydrator in the correct order, there are several other nail prep tips to keep in mind for a perfect manicure:

– Always start with clean, dry nails. Remove any old polish, oil, or lotion from the nails before starting the prep process.

– Use a high-quality file to shape the nails. Avoid using metal files or coarse grits, as these can damage the nails.

– Push back cuticles gently using a cuticle pusher. Do not cut the cuticles, as this can lead to infection.

– Apply a thin layer of base coat before adding any artificial product. This helps to prevent staining and improves adhesion.

– Apply artificial product (such as acrylic or gel) in thin layers and allow each layer to dry completely before adding the next.


In conclusion, nail primer and dehydrator are essential products for preparing the nails for artificial enhancements such as acrylic or gel. While there is some debate about the order in which they should be applied, it ultimately depends on the specific product and following the manufacturer’s instructions. Always start with clean, dry nails, and use a high-quality file and cuticle pusher for optimal results. By following these nail prep tips, you can achieve a perfect manicure every time.