Nail Tips vs. Nail Forms: Which Is The Superior Choice?

Key Takeaways
  • Nail Tips provides a quick and convenient way to extend the length of natural nails.
  • Nail Forms offer a more customizable and versatile option for nail extensions, allowing for unique shapes and lengths.
  • Nail Tips are more accessible to apply for beginners, while Nail Forms may require more skill and practice.
  • The choice between Nail Tips and Nail Forms depends on individual preferences, nail technician expertise, and desired nail design.

If you want beautiful nails, whether for work, for an event, or to feel good every day, you don’t have to look far anymore.

The options and possibilities for great-looking nails are endless and if you want to spice up those short, brittle nails, you can do so at any nearby salon.

Are Nail Tips Or Nail Forms Better Why

At the salon, however, you will have the option between two very popular ways of getting longer, fashionable nails and these come in the form of acrylic nail tips and nail forms. If you haven’t heard of these before, don’t fret!

We’ve written this article to tell you all you need to know about the two most popular nail types and give you a complete review on each, to help you decide which one might be best for your nails and get your fingertips glowing again. Let’s jump in!

Before you get started 

  • Assess your expertise in nail application techniques.
  • Determine the specific nail design and customization you desire.
  • Consider the time you can allocate for the nail extension application.
  • Evaluate your budget for nail extension materials.
  • Think about the level of maintenance you are willing to commit to for your nail extensions.

The Differences

The Differences

The difference between nail tips and nail forms is that nail tips are pieces of molded plastic that resemble a fake nail, whereas nail forms resemble large stickers and are applied to the nail plate. Nail tips are glued on top of the nail, but forms are placed under the nail.

Nail Tips

Nail Tips

As we just mentioned, the molded plastic of a nail tip is glued onto the nail plate. Some tips manage to fully cover the entire nail plate, whereas other nails tips only cover a certain portion of the nail.

Your technician will use special nail enhancement chemicals such as gel products or acrylics to cover the tip to make it thick and as strong as possible. 

Applying Nail Tips

Applying Nail Tips

Applying nail tips at home can be tricky, and it’s best to leave it to the professionals. However, if you end up at a salon getting tips applied, these are the steps you should expect. 

1. Sizing The Tip

Once the tip is selected for your nail, you need to make sure that each one is sized to fit every natural nail correctly. If this is not done correctly, you might find your nail tip breaking easily, falling off your nail, and eventually damaging the natural nail underneath. 

2. Shaping

A nail technician will make sure the nail tip fits on the nail plate correctly, on either side of the nail. In a lot of cases, they will need to custom-fit every nail tip to the size of the customer’s nails, and to do this will take a lot of filing and thinning.

They will usually thin out the tip with a nail file or a buffer before gluing it onto the nail plate. 

Thinning and filing the nail down is so important as it gives the tip a lot more flexibility and reduces a lot of pressure on top of the nail plate. It can therefore also help to avoid creating any weak points in the nail enhancements.

Weak points usually lead to damage or breakage and it is therefore important to focus on thinning and filing before adding the tip.

3. Applying the Acrylic Nail Enhancement

Once the technician has filed down the nail tips, and they have also been shaped and thinned properly, it’s time to apply the last layer of nail enhancement.

If this is the first time you are getting nail tips, they might feel particularly heavy before you get used to them. However, they should never hurt.

You should also never be able to see glue pockets seeping out anywhere around the tip and you should not feel an uncomfortable amount of pressure once the tip has been glued on.

If you find yourself with either of these happening to your nails, you should let your technician know. 

Nail Forms

Nail Forms

As we have mentioned, nail forms on the other hand are like large stickers which are also applied to the nail plate.

These forms can be either reusable or disposable, yet most technicians like to use the disposable ones as they are much more sanitary and convenient than the re-usable ones.

They also come in two different types. These are the horseshoe and the CND performance.

There is not a type that is better than the other, and which type your nail technician will use will depend on their personal preference and how comfortable they feel using each type.

Not only will nail forms be a lot easier and a faster process, but they are also great if you do not want to ass pressure on the nail plate.

The nail enhancement molds to the natural shape of the nail instead, instead of filing the natural nail so it contours to the nail tip.

This makes nail forms a popular choice and a lot of professionals believe they are not only safer but also feel more comfortable and look a lot more natural than tips.

Applying Nail Forms

Applying Nail Forms

1. Applying

To apply nail forms, the form is slipped right under the edge of the nail and wrapped around the finger. It should not hug the nail or the finger too tightly but it should be snug. The placement of the nail form should also avoid any gaps under the edge.

Applying them correctly takes practice, yet nail technicians would have mastered the art, and the more they practice, the faster and easier it gets. They also become a lot faster than applying nail tips, as you do not need to file or thin the nail tip first.

2. Blending The Seam

As nail forms do not require buffing and thinning like nail tips, the filing involved is simply blending the nail to remove the seam of the nail form.

3. Applying Acrylic Nail Enhancement

The final step is applying the enhancement chemical to the nail form. This makes the nail much longer.

Keep in Mind

  • Application Technique: Nail Tips are pre-made extensions that are glued onto the natural nails. Nail Forms are flexible templates that create extensions directly on the natural nails.
  • Customization: Nail Forms allow for more customization as they can be shaped to achieve various nail designs and lengths. Nail Tips come in predetermined shapes and sizes, which may limit design options.
  • Strength and Durability: Nail Tips are known for their sturdiness and can provide immediate length and strength. Nail Forms can offer strength but require more skill during application to ensure durability.
  • Natural Appearance: Nail Forms often provide a more natural appearance as they are sculpted to match the natural nail’s contour. Nail Tips may sometimes appear less natural due to the pre-made shape.
  • Skill Level: Nail Tips are generally easier to apply and may be suitable for beginners. Nail Forms require more skill and practice, making them popular among experienced nail technicians.

Types Of Nail Forms

Types Of Nail Forms

As we mentioned previously, there are two types of nail forms. Disposable and re-usable. However, it is always recommended to use disposable nail forms as not only are they more hygienic, but you can easily fit them to any kind of natural nail or any shape. 

The best type of forms is usually made out of paper and foil as they allow for a C-curve to be created, without any pinching. 

When you are creating your nail form, you need strong adhesive so that it will not move or pop open when they have been applied to the finger. You need to check the quality of the nail form, from the ratio of paper to foil to the overall thickness.

If it resembles paper, it will act like a paper form and this means it will not stay in place, meaning it will also tear as you apply and use it.

Acrylic nail forms that are made of plastic can often break whilst they are being applied and this can stain your nail enhancement.

Clear plastic forms on the other hand, that are made of durable and pliable materials, can be a better option and you will not have to worry about stains on your hard gel enhancement.

How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last?

How Long Do Acrylic Nails Last

Nail tips can last up to around two weeks, but this also depends on a variety of factors from how you wear them to the quality of your nails.

If you look after acrylics and avoid removing them too soon, they can last on your nails for up to a month or two, however, your natural nails would have grown out at this point.

If you wear them improperly such as using harsh nail polish remover with acetone in it which drys out all the natural oils in the skin surrounding your nails, this might cause breakage and chips over time.

This is why you need to be careful with them and look after them properly. 

If you decide to apply them at home and avoid making any mistakes to affect how long they will last, the tips should last about two weeks.

Pro Tip

When choosing between Nail Tips and Nail Forms is important, consider your skill level and desired nail design. If you’re a beginner or prefer a simpler application, Nail Tips may be the better choice. For more customization and a natural look, Nail Forms are ideal but require expertise.

Which Is Better?

Which Is Better

Now comes the important question. Are nail tips, or nail forms better for you? A lot of people and regular salon customers believe that nail tips are a lot stronger than forms as there is a fundamental structure under the nail.

However, many prefer nail forms as they do not put much pressure on the nail plate, they can be faster and easier to apply, and there is less chance of them breaking or damaging the natural nail. 

However, it comes to personal preferences and how comfortable both the tech professional and the customer feels.

A nail technician should be experienced and talented enough to apply nail tips and nail forms to the same high standard, so that you can once again have long, beautiful nails. 

Which is Stronger – Nail Forms or Nail Tips?

The strength of nail enhancements, whether created with nail forms or tips, is primarily determined by the expertise of the nail technician and the materials used.

Both methods can yield solid and durable results when executed correctly.

Nail Tips: Nail tips, often made of materials like plastic or fiberglass, can create sturdy extensions when appropriately adhered to the natural nail and reinforced with acrylic or gel.

The adhesive’s quality and the technician’s skill in applying and blending the tips are essential for strength.

Nail Forms: Nail forms serve as sculpting guides for customizing nail extensions directly on the natural nail.

When used skillfully, nail forms can result in robust, natural-looking enhancements that adhere well to the natural nail.

Ultimately, the key to strong and long-lasting nail enhancements lies in the technician’s proficiency and the choice of quality products.

Preferences between nail forms and tips may vary based on comfort, aesthetics, and the desired nail enhancement outcome.

It’s advisable to consult with a skilled technician to determine which method aligns best with your needs and goals for strong and beautiful nails.

Which Works With Any Type of Nail – Nail Tip or Forms?

Nail tips work more universally with different nail types than nail forms. Nail tips are pre-made in various shapes and sizes, making them adaptable to multiple natural nail shapes and lengths.

Whether you have short, long, wide, or narrow nails, nail tips can be selected and customized to fit comfortably.

On the other hand, nail forms require a more precise fit and can be trickier to use on specific nail shapes or sizes. While skilled technicians can work with both methods effectively, nail tips offer greater flexibility and compatibility for various natural nail types, making them a versatile choice for many clients.

Fun Fact

Nail forms have been used in the nail industry since the 1950s, while nail tips gained popularity in the 1980s, offering a quicker extension solution.

Final Thoughts 

We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about nail tips and nail forms and worked out which one might be better for you.

Though it comes down to the personal preference of both you and the nail technician, a professional nail technician should have the skills to perform both, and whichever you choose, you’ll be on your way back to beautiful, long, sexy nails again in no time.

Ariel Coleman

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