Nail Enhancements Debate: Nail Tips vs. Nail Forms

As we predicted in our 2018 Nail Forecast, everyone’s nail mindset is the bigger, the better. Because of this, many clients are looking for answers on whether to use tips or forms as nail enhancements. Whether your client wants twelve-inch nails or wants to stay on the traditional side, it’s important that they make an informed decision.


When it comes to nail enhancements, tips and forms are the most popular choices in the industry. Although they serve the same purposes, they have many differences. Application, convenience, and durability are all factors you and your client should consider when making the decision.


Nail Tips

Nail tips are plastic extensions that are glued to the nail plate. They make a sturdy platform for acrylics, gels, and all sorts of nail art. Since nail tips are customizable, they consume nail technicians’ time. Depending on whether the tips are full-well, partial-well, or well-less, the process will vary in time spent blending. For the most seamless look, it’s important to choose the well that most closely resembles the client’s nail plate c-curve. If there’s not a tip that’s precisely your client’s shape (as it needs to be), Nail Pro Magazine recommends going up a size an customizing the tip down.


Customizing (filing) the nail tips down enhance their flexibility and relieve the pressure on the nail plate, lessening the chance of nail injury upon removal. Well-less tips are best for pink and white nails, and full-well tips offer more surface area for intricate designs. As for nail tip durability, a lot of factors come into play. Most of the time, these nail enhancements are durable – yet flexible (well-less tips being the most flexible). However, the type of plastic and glue can affect that. If the plastic is recycled or the glue is slow-setting, this can damper the quality. Nail tips typically last around 2-3 weeks.


Custom Built Nails with Nail Forms

On the other hand, beauty schools and many nail professionals opt to building artificial nails using nail forms. Nail forms are stickers that go under the nail. Then nail professionals build perfectly-sized custom nail enhancements using that foundation. Building custom nails using forms and builder gels (or acrylic) may require more time, however they are more secure than tips. The time spent building artificial nails is countered with a greatly reduced need for blending.

There are several variations of forms, Larmes de Medusa has created a uniquely designed form that’s universal for every size and shape nail bed. Due to the specific cut of the hyponicium, Larmes de Medusa forms will fit all clients. Designed by nail professionals, Medusa forms are made with durable material to support both gel and acrylic material. The unique design eliminates the need to fit the gut-out underneath the form for support.

nail enhancements nail forms nail tips

The Great Nail Enhancements Debate: Nail Tips or Forms?

Choosing a method is a matter of preference and familiarity. The beauty of nail forms is that they can cater to nearly every type of nail. Whether they’re traditional, oval, coffin, almond, or square-shaped nails, forms are customizable to your client. From a safety perspective, industry veterans believe forms should be a nail tech’s go-to as they naturally contour to the shape of the nail – unlike tips. Tips may pull on the nail bed and causing onycholysis, an irritating separation between the nail bed and nail plate. Some people believe that nail tips are the more durable option since they’re plastic. Applied with glue, tips can weaken over time causing gaps between the nail and tip if not applied properly. Such gaps can result in infections or lifting.


Which Nail Enhancements are Best?

Both nail tips and nail forms have their advantages. When reviewing options with clients, keep their wants, needs, and lifestyle in mind. If they have sensitive nails or if they’re looking for a more natural look, then forms should be the path you go down. But if they’re looking for a more extravagant, over-the-top design – then experiment with nail tips. As a nail tech, it’s important to be knowledgeable of both kinds of nail enhancements. It requires precision to file ten tips exactly the same way – and it requires practice to apply nail forms without any bubbles.


What’s your opinion? Comment below if you’re on Team Tips or Team Forms. Let us know on our Medusa Nails Facebook page! Larmes de Medusa is dedicated to creating an informed nail technician community, sharing the best practices in the industry, and starting the conversation. For more information, email

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