Greenies can be a devastating thing to see on your clients nails. If they have had enhancements on for 2-3 weeks with a dark polish, its near impossible to know that a greenie is growing, so can be a shock when it shows through during their maintenance appointment.

What is a Greenie?





It is a bacterial infection caused by trapped bacteria, oils, debris and residues that weren’t properly removed during prep of the nails for any enhancement service. It could also happen post-service, if a client bangs a nail that results in a lift at the side of the nail, it allows bacteria to get in usually facilitated by water, whilst washing up, showering, washing your hair etc. This is NOT what some nail techs call ‘water mould’ – (Fact…mould does not grow on the human body!) water may facilitate the debris getting under the nail coating (L&P, Gel or fibreglass) by the water dries out and leaves the debris behind and a bacterial infection follows.

This bacterial infection (on the nail) can be treated without further issues, by the nail tech, but there is a very specific way to do this.


The bacteria (Pseudomonas) loves certain conditions:

  • Anaerobic (no oxygen)
  • Warm
  • Moist

All of these conditions are met when a small lift of the nail enhancement coating occurs and goes unnoticed. It grows quickly, within 3 days you will see a yellowish stain, which gets darker, turns light green and gets darker, to a black if left for long enough.
The stain is the waste of the bacteria and will lighten a little and grow outwit the nail over time.


How to deal with a greenie.

Once you have seen a greenie has occurred you need to remove the nail coating as soon as possible. When you have removed the nail coating the oxygen in the air kills the bacteria, but BE CAREFUL from this point on, even though the bacteria is dead now, it can still be transferred from nail to nail, and regenerates quickly and easily!

  1. Remove the nail coating
  2. Scrub the nail with a point free nail wipe and pure acetone – this will help clean and remove a little of the surface stain.
  3. Deal with ALL other nails in the usual way to maintain them i.e. do the cuticle work, prep and file where needed.
  4. Deal with the nail with the greenie LAST, on its own.
  5. Use your metal cuticle tool to do the cuticle work, then immediately place it away from your usual tools in use, so it can be scrubbed in hot soapy water and placed in your barbicide for a full 15 minutes before using it on anyone else.
  6. Pick up your oldest file (one you should have thrown away already, but the frugal side you kept it in case…) remove the shine from the nail, without trying to remove the stain, the nail may be quite soft depending on how long the bacterial infection has been lying on the nail, and thinning the nail to remove the stain will be even more detrimental to the natural nail.
  7. THROW THAT FILE AWAY IMMEDIATELY  – Do not even give it to the client to take home, this is why we used your oldest file, the bacteria WILL be transferred to other nails and cause further issues – take the hit on this one and just throw it away!
  8. scrub that nail once again with a lint free wipe and pure acetone.

It is now safe to apply a new nail coating of your choice over this nail with no further detrimental affects.

After your service, spend a few minutes cleaning your desk/work station using spray disinfectant.  Wash all metal tools in hot soapy water and then place them in fresh barbicide. Wash all of your washable files and change the towels on your desk ready for your next client.

By ensuring you have dealt with the nail inquisition LAST and cleaning your tools after the client, throwing away the file you prepped the natural nail with, you have ensured the infection has been properly killed and dealt with to not cross infect the clients other nails, or affect your next client!

If you notice any yellows staining on any other clients nails in the coming 2- 3weeks, its advisable to decontaminate your entire kit and working area. There is something you haven’t clean properly or used that has transferred bacteria from client to client. Throw away all files that aren’t washable or you suspect haven’t sanitised properly recently.


©2019 Rebecca Orme All rights reserved

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