Monday, September 7, 2015

Applying Forms for Sculptured Nails

Once we have done a client intake and PREPped the nail, the next step (assuming we are lengthening the nail) is to either apply tips or apply forms. I have already discussed applying tips so now lets discuss nail forms.
During the advent of the modern artificial nail industry, the *only* way available to lengthen nails way by using a platform ("form") to pull the product past the natural nail free edge (that's right, no plastic tips back then!). The first commercially available forms were gold horseshoe shaped paper forms - you can still buy these today. Today we have such an array of nail forms that it can be mind-boggling to figure out which ones to use. Like almost everything in this industry, it all comes down to what you prefer using. There is no one "perfect" form for everyone - I usually keep 3 or 4 different styles in my desk. If you are new to the industry and trying to figure out what to use, my suggestion is always start with a complete system - including the forms for that system. You may use them and find you hate them or you may find you love them. Either way, you have a starting point. Figure out what you didn't like about the forms. Is it they are too narrow for most of your clients? Are they not thick enough? Sticky enough? You don't like the lines on the form? By articulating what you like and don't like you can start researching alternatives.
Most forms nowadays are on rolls,made of Mylar, are sticky and are disposable. There are clear sticky disposable forms for sculpting gel. You can also get Teflon reusable forms and plastic "dual" forms that you actually apply the product into and "then" apply to the nail (watch the video below, its hard to describe!). In the past I have seen plastic and aluminum reusable forms as well though I haven't seen a manufacturer of those in years. (CND used to make aluminum forms and I would kill to get my hands
on some!)
The proper form fit is important because your goal is to create a set of perfectly sculptured nails, which means less filing. Forms should be aligned exactly with the sides and the middle of the finger, regardless of the nail shape. The form should never cut into the free edge. Alteration of the form with scissors is often necessary to allow for a perfect fit under the nail. The form should come up under the nail and meet the free edge, or meet directly with the natural nail if it’s very short. There should not be a gap between the form and the nail. You may have to use a small scissors to slightly clip the corners of the form by the free edge after applied to allow it to nestle under the free edge snugly. Again, this is easier to see - I included a link to a video below that demonstrates what I mean.
It seems like there are as many ways of applying a form as there are forms! Some people say to close the form before application, others say to roll the form between your fingers. Some say to tilt the form up under the free edge of the nail and others say just put it on straight. My advice is to try different
ways and see what works best for *you*.
Below are some fantastic videos addressing forms - 
Greg from Young Nails showing his form tips and tricks.
Using CND forms:

See the beginning of this video for a great example of tailoring a form 

Example of corner clipping (around :38) 

Naio UK Apply nail forms for Square, Stiletto and edge-shaped nails

"Dual Forms":