When nails are weary, weak, and inching toward the eponychium, a modified nail tip can be a great way to protect nails and encourage them to grow. CND educator Holly Schippers of Bussey, Iowa, shows how she modifies her tips to protect a nail biter’s skin, give her a nice extension, and promote nail growth.

“When you have a severely bitten nail, the skin tissue surrounding it is very susceptible to irritation and contamination from acrylic or gel applications. Often the skin past the free edge is higher than the actual nail plate, and there is a risk of product coming into contact with the skin, causing allergic reactions. A brush coming into contact with skin can pick up oils, thus contaminating the brush and possibly leading to yellowing of the nails and other service breakdowns.

“I use a technique of modifying the nail tip to fit snugly over the bitten nail so when I apply product there is less risk of it getting onto the skin,” Schippers says. Here’s how you can do Schippers’ technique.

1. Shorten the well area of the tip by filing at a 45°-angle with a 100- or 180-grit file, in one-directional strokes against the curve. Shorten the well to fit properly over the client’s bitten nail. When you’ve achieved proper length pull the file in the opposite direction one or two times and then peel off the excess.


2. File a saddle to fit over either side of the nail plate. A saddle is a modification to nail tips where a rounded ridge is carved out to create a space for the tip to fit on either side of the nail and protect the exposed skin on a nail biter. Measure how deep the saddle should go, then file in triangular motions on either side of the saddle, curving your file as you go to create a nice, evenly curved saddle.


3. Usually a gel adhesive works best to adhere the tip. Blend the tip, cut it, and apply your product as you would a normal tip-and-overlay.

Schippers says she prefers acrylic for bitten nails because it adds that hardness you don’t typically find in bitten nails, which are generally thin and flexible.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.