There is a lot of confusion regarding how hot we should be heating our nails because it is a different answer for almost every nail! Titanium heats quickly, but also cools quickly while glass and quartz are the opposite. Most of us use titanium nails and heat them until red, which means even on glass, quartz and ceramic that the piece is at least 1000 degrees F. This is more than double what you need and is just unhealthy to your throat and to your nail, which you do not want to over stress. If you do not have an infrared thermometer than can tell you the temperature of the nail without even touching it, you will have to use that color as sort of a guide. You can also purchase or create an e-nail that will take all all of the guess work or any work period involved, automatically heating to your desired temperature.
Another quick temperature measuring method would be to use your hand. Place the back of your hand which is more heat sensitive over the top or side of the nail. You should be able to feel heat, but you shouldn’t have to immediately move your hand away. Do not let it get too cool though, or you will lose your hit in the nail that will absorb it. Use a carb cap so that you are able to hold all the heat inside the nail instead of it rapidly spreading away so that you can heat the nail less. Some people are now able to heat their nail under 400F using this method. Another method worth trying would be to put the concentrate on the room temperature nail, put the carb cap on, and heat the entire unit from the outside. That way, there is not a chance of you losing vapors and you will heat your piece to the exact temperature it needs. If there is leftover, it should still be up for grabs unless it seasons your nail instead, which you still need.
When you take your hits, some wax should pool at the end in a puddle , then slowly melt into the nail. This will keep the protective layer intact. If you are heating your nail so hot that there is burnt shit on top, STOP. It can be frustrating at first to find the optimal temperature for your nail, but with practice (which will never be too much of a drag unless you waste copious amounts of cannabis) you will get it down and benefit your own health as well as the taste and efficiency, smoothness, etc. Your nail will also thank you for not heating the shit out of it by lasting longer.
In conclusion, you will want to be heating your nails around 400 for an optimal hit. This is hard to do at first and is much easier with appropriate tools, but once you get the hang of it, it will be hard to forget. Also, only use the more orange part of your flame to light the nail, never the blue part which will leave gas residue and isn’t as hot as the rest of the flame. You will notice the flames cascading off the nail start to become a lot larger and orange towards the end, which is a good indicator that the nail is ready to use.