Help! My Monomer Turned to Jelly!

Posted by Luanda Coleman on

You are getting ready to start your next client's nail set. As you prepare, your monomer seems a little off. You open the bottle, and the worst possible thing has happened. Your monomer has turned to jelly! 


At this moment, you are likely asking yourself, how did this happen? Well, in this blog, we will cover a few reasons why this happens. How to prevent this from happening in the future? Let's face it, your acrylic monomer is too expensive to replace and can be challenging to find, depending on your city and if they have a nail supply store. 


So what causes your monomer to turn to jelly or become as hard as a rock? There are three main reasons this can happen:

  1. Cross-contamination
  2. Heat
  3. Age

These are three main reasons for acrylic monomers turning to jelly or rock hard right in the bottle. So without further ado, let's dive in. 


First: Cross-contamination

Cross-contamination is one of the biggest reasons for acrylic monomers to turn to stone or jell. It is not something you think about too much as you are doing nails, but it can be a real threat to your monomer. The first and most common form of cross-contamination is leaving your monomer bottle open and allowing the acrylic powder to come into contact with the monomer. Most of the time, you are going to be in a well-ventilated area, and the chances of your acrylic powder coming into contact with your monomer are small, but it is still possible. It does not take a lot of powder for the monomer and powder to start to react. 


Monomer that has hardened after being exposed to acrylic powder
Monomer that has been exposed to small amounts of acrylic powder. 


Another form of cross-contamination we have come across is a nail tech taking their acrylic brush and, out of haste, getting a small amount of monomer right from the bottle. Sometimes to help save on cost, some techs will pour the remaining monomer from their dapping dish back into the monomer bottle. Then they are surprised that their monomer has turned to grape jam the next day. 


It is essential to prevent cross-contamination. The reason will not only save your monomer but also reduce the chance of spreading infection. 


Second: Heat

Heat is essential for acrylic monomer and powder to work; however, too much heat can become problematic. If you are a nail tech, who likes to use a warmer to keep your monomer warm, keep doing this! If you are a nail tech that keeps their monomer in direct sunlight or has a station by a window, you may want to reconsider where you are storing it. 

 Product exposed to heat

Direct sun exposure can be terrible for monomers. We have learned this at ENL by testing what happens if you leave monomer in sunlight for too long. What did we discover? The direct sunlight causes the bottle to get hot and constant exposure begins to break down the monomer, and the result? You guessed it; you got more grape jam instead of monomer. 


Third: Age

The last reason your monomer could turn to a paperweight is time. If you are an on-and-off nail tech, your monomer could sit for so long that it gets old. How do you prevent this? The best thing you can do is small in smaller quantities and use it within a reasonable amount of time. 


Generally speaking, your acrylic monomer has about a one-year shelf life before breaking down. If you are only doing one or two nail sets a month, you may want to get a small 8oz bottle of monomer rather than a gallon size. 



In conclusion, you can take some simple steps to prevent your monomer from turning into a display bottle. We hope this helped you and if you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us! 

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Monomer & Acrylic