Monday, September 7, 2015

Tips vs. Forms

Now that we know more about tips and forms, how do you choose which one to use? Again, personal preference is part of the equation, but there are also pros and cons that should be considered and as part of the client intake it is important to match the method of application with the client’s needs and lifestyle.

Using Tips
Pros: Using tips gives a consistent look from nail to nail. Easier to master. Generally easier to shape than sculptures as they are softer to file. Clients are more familiar with them. Super easy French manicures when using white tips.
Cons: Faulty tip application will undermine product performance. Nail adhesive will inherently break down faster than the overlay, causing separation of the tips from the natural nails. Tips are not meant to be the "strength" of the nail which means that nails tend to be a bit thicker as you have the thickness of the tip as well as the thickness of the overlay product. Not solvent resistant (nail techs often end up with strangely shaped nails as solvents eat away at the tips). Blending the tip takes time and if not done carefully can damage the natural nail. It is very rare for a tip to fit a nail perfectly, and many tips will require some refinement and adjustment on your part which takes more time.
Regarding the fact that adhesive breaks down with exposure to moisture – you can avoid this issue by applying your tips with acrylic (will not work with gel) - Place a wet ball of acrylic in the well of the tip and place the tip at a 45 degree angle pressing it firmly against the edge of the natural nail and slowly roll it forward creating a squeegee effect but not so firm that you squeeze out all of the acrylic. You will need to hold the tip until the acrylic is set.

Using Forms (“sculpting”):
Pros: No adhesive to break down over time. Can be thinner than tips as you don’t have the bulk of the tip under the product. Better solvent resistance than tips. Once mastered, are generally faster to apply than a properly applied and blended tip. Generally better for nail biters because the moisture in the nails of biters break down adhesive and also the thick skin on the edge of a nail biters fingers will often push the tip off the nail or create a “ski jump” look to the nail.
Cons: Harder to master. Often takes longer when starting due to not having the guideline of the tip to apply the product on top of. Clients unfamiliar with them and don’t often ask for them.
Some techs charge more for nails sculptured on forms. This is once again a personal preference – some techs just don’t like sculpting and charge more to discourage that choice. Others charge more because it takes them longer. Still others charge more because not many people offer the service and so you have the “supply and demand” equation. You need to do what you feel is appropriate in your salon and area. [Opinion: I never charge more for one or the other because I want to be able to give my clients the best possible service as *I* see it, without them worrying that I am trying to nickel and dime them. I also charge the same for gel/acrylic/wraps for the same reason.]

Join the conversation: Which do you prefer and why? What other Pros and Cons are there for either method?