A nail tip can be a tech’s best friend. Though many technicians prefer to sculpt, a pre-made nail tip that can be adhered to the natural nail can give newbie nail techs a nice runway to learn the delicate craft of gel and acrylic sculpting, while providing great-looking results.

Even some experienced nail techs prefer to use tips, citing that they think it is faster to finish full sets and makes nail art easier by using pre-designed nail tips. But whether you’re a nail tech using tips before you begin to sculpt, or a tried-and-true tip devotee, here are some things to remember about tips.

> Most tips have a well at the base that serves as the area that comes in contact with the natural nail. The well can vary in size and shape, with some having designs built in for extra flair. Glue is applied to the well area to adhere it to the nail.

> Glue or adhesives generally come in either tubes or brush-on bottles, and are available in different viscosities and drying times. Experienced techs may opt for quick-drying tips, while newbies may prefer slower drying times to allow for proper placement.

> Sometimes it helps to pre-shape a nail tip with a medium-grit file or electric file to help fit the shape of the natural nail better.

> Look into different kinds of nail tips. Manufacturers have come out with a number of different sizes and shapes to accommodate nail techs’ varying preferences. There are clear tips, black tips, colored tips, tips with pre-made designs, stiletto tips, and other tips as well. Try out different ones until you find the right fit.

> Blending the tip can be done a few ways. You can use a tip blender product, which is applied after the tip has been glued on and left to soak into the tip. You can pre-file the well area before applying. And you can dip the well area in acetone just before applying. (Remember to file with each of these methods to help blend the entire nail and enhancement together.)

> Cut the tip after it has been applied to the nail and the glue has secured it.

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