But when selecting a tip to fit your individual client’s nail, remember these six basic nail shapes and make your selection accordingly.
The tips pictured are (left to right) Creative's Formation and Eclipse, OPI's Vaulted, Expansion, and Perspective, and Backscratchers' Nouveau.
With the wide variety of nail tips available and new ones entering the market all the time, how do nail professionals navigate the sea of options? Many tip features are simply a matter of preference. Long or short, tapered or straight, colored or clear, pre-painted or guide-lined — the choice is largely yours. But when selecting a tip to fit your individual client’s nail, remember these six basic nail shapes and make your selection accordingly.
1. Average. Nothing beats a versatile tip for the average client. A naturally colored tip with a full well, such as Creative Nail Design’s Formation, works best with most nails. You might also consider Star Nail’s Pro-Active or EZ Flow’s Essential Tips.
2. Deep C-curve. Some clients have nails with a pronounced curve from side to side. This deep C-curve can make tip fitting difficult. Average tips will not lay tight in the nail grooves, so there is a tendency to select a tip too narrow for the nail. Try one designed with this client in mind, such as OPI’s Vaulted, Star Nail’s Deep C-curve, EZ Flow’s Endless Curve, or ibd’s LA Nail Curves.
3. Flat nail. To fit a flat nail, the well must be flexible. The simplest way to accomplish this is to cut a “V” in the well. But OPI’s Expansion, Creative’s Eclipse, and Nailite’s X-tip are among those engineered to adapt to especially flat nails while fitting the average client as well.
4. Wide nail. On wide thumbnails, a size-1 tip may not be wide enough. You have two choices: sculpt the nail or try a set of tips that includes size-0. Backscratchers’ Nouveau and Alpha 9 tips come in this extra-wide size.
5. Ski-jump nail. Ever tried to fit ski-jump nails with a fullwelled tip? To prevent that annoying bubble, apply a tip with a short well, then fill in the dip with product to create a more natural arch. Creative’s Velocity, OPI’s Perspective, and Star Nail’s Revelation are among the plethora of short-welled tips available.
6. Nail Biters. Because it’s difficult to sculpt a strong sidewall over a fleshy fingertip, a short-welled tip is usually a better option for nail biters. In addition to those above, try EZ Flow’s Natural Curve Slender or NSI’s Elation.
Now that you know how to fit your client’s unique nail shape, you may be thinking, “Am I supposed to keep six sets of tips on hand?” Of course not. Use one set of average tips for most of your clients. Your standard may be versatile, expandable, or short-welled. You might adapt your full-welled tips by cutting your own “V” or shortening the well when necessary. I keep two sets of tips on han one versatile full-well set and one designed to fit a deep C-curve.
With these I am able to adapt to any situation. Whatever you decide, keeping these six nail shapes in mind will result in improved sets and satisfied clients. ■
Janeen Jesse is a nail tech at Dillards Hair and Nail Salon in Colorado Springs, Colo.