Q&A

How can I make a correct C-curve without a tip and achieve an oval shape?

Q.

I don’t use tips — I’ve never been a fan. I build my pink-and-whites from scratch and have always been much happier with how they look and wear — my clients are too. But how can I make a correct C-curve without a tip and achieve an oval shape? I have several clients with an oval shape but I can’t get them this pointy and they end up having straighter sidewalls.

A.

I was not a tip fan myself for many years, but now with the well-less tips you can create a shape that looks like a sculpt but is easy to apply. Most come with built-in C-curves, and if you apply acrylic you can squeeze in an even deeper C-curve.

As with anything new it may take extra time until you perfect them, but once you do you will like them. I truly believe every nail tech should be able to sculpt as well as put a tip on. The benefit of a good tip job, I feel, can offset the work of a sculpt because it takes less time and always has that perfect smile line.

For the oval shaping I have a system. I use a stiletto tip, and after I cut the tip’s length, I file a flat spot in the center of the tip as a guideline, which helps make the shape consistent. I do all my shaping on the tip before I add the product too. It makes for less work and a smoother nail to file at the end.

I use stiletto tips for round nails as well because they have the shape already built in and it is easier to shape round or oval. Try not to file the sides in for the shape at the smile line. Do that a little below the ears. I start by rounding the tip first then I bring the sides in more to taper the entire tip. Another little secret is after I’ve done my shaping on each nail I’ll compare it to all the others. I measure index, middle, and ring first to make sure the length on each nail bed is the same and that each white tip is the same so they all match. Then I measure the thumbs and pinkies against each other to check they are in proportion.

— Vicki Peters is an education consultant and 30-year nail veteran.

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A brush with a few long hairs; efficient for creating elongated vertical or horizontal lines.
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