Nail Forms vs. Tips: Which One Should You Choose?

Nail Forms vs. Tips: Which One Should You Choose?

Hang on—you can choose top or bottom for nail extensions? Yep! But, figuring out the difference between nail forms vs. tips can be tricky. Both of these popular nail extenders achieve great lengths. Yet, like with anything too good to be true, there are pros and cons. Whether you’re an aspiring nail technician or an artist, we’re here to give you the details. 

Nail extensions artificially make your nails longer, while keeping it stylish with acrylic or gel polish. Deciding whether forms or tips are right for you comes down to a few key factors. Once you decide, you can enjoy a perfect, polished mani 💅 (we’ll go over the best practices for application, too).

What Are Nail Tips?

When you think about getting fake nails, what’s the first picture that comes to mind? You’re probably thinking about nail tips. They’re made out of acrylic plastic and function as—that’s right—your nail tip.

Let’s get physical! Or, ah, technical 🧑‍🔧. Nail tips are glued onto your natural nail plate. They create a base for applying acrylic or gel on top of each nail tip. There are several different options when it comes to nail tips. You can choose from ones that cover your entire nail plate or just partially cover the free edge of your natural nail. The choice is yours—just follow your intuition 🔮. 

Pros & Cons

 Here are some of the benefits of going with nail tips:

  • They’re perfect for beginners.
  • Nail tips allow for a uniform appearance across each of your nails.
  • They provide a sturdy foundation for gel or acrylic. 

Now, that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for everyone. There are a few downsides: 

  • They can be time consuming since everything needs to be so precise.
  • Nail tips can put lots of pressure on the nail bed, which can be damaging.
  • They can be thicker and have a less natural look.

Why Should You Choose Nail Tips?

Nail tips are the perfect choice for beginners and those that value the precise application process. They’re sturdy and durable— if that’s something you’re looking for, nail tips are the way to go.

How to Use Nail Tips

The most important thing to focus on when you start the process of applying nail tips is precision. Make sure that the nail tip perfectly matches the size and shape of your (or your client’s) natural nail. This is crucial if you want them to be secure and prevent additional damage. 

Nail tips come in many different sizes, but you’ll likely want to shape them using a file and buffer for a custom fit. Just like *snowflakes*, no two nails are the same ❄️.

Once you’ve got your sizing down pat, you’ll want to use a bit of nail glue where the tip meets the free edge of your natural nail. At a 45 degree angle then lay flat and hold it down between 5 to 10 seconds, and then you may use a pinching tool, tweezers or your thumbs to ensure the sides are nice, snugged and glued down without any air bubbles.

When the nail tip is on, you can further shape or cut them down before you go in with acrylic or gel.

What Are Nail Forms?

Nail forms are totally different from nail tips. They are meant to sculpt the nail extension using acrylic or gel, sit underneath the nail, and offer a temporary base–and we’re all about that! They offer a customized fit and shape per person being totally unique! Once you’ve built the shape of your desire 😍, you can remove them.  

You can think of nail forms as a guide to determine the shape and length of your acrylic or gel extensions. 

Pros & Cons

The benefits of nail forms are:

  • Once you get the hang of them, they’re easier to work with than nail tips.
  • They’re much faster than tips (again, once you learn to use them).
  • Fewer products are required.
  • They look more natural and thinner than nail tips.
  • Customized for each person.
  • Make unimaginable shapes.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks:

  • Nail forms can be a lot harder to master.
  • The process takes longer in the beginning while you’re still learning.
  • If you’re working with clients, they may be less familiar with forms than traditional tips.

Why Should You Choose Nail Forms?

For those that want to master a technique that gives you more natural, thinner, and stronger nails, forms are the way to go. You’ve got a larger learning curve to master upfront, but if you want your nail extensions to look as natural as possible, it’s defs worth it.

How to Use Nail Forms

Nail forms are like the stickers we slap on our favorite tumblers! They’re designed to wrap around the finger and stay securely in place. Make sure it’s nice and snug!

Then, you’ll follow the guide on the form to determine the length and shape of your extensions. The nail extension will be made entirely out of acrylic or gel (depending on your preference) when using nail forms. There’s no glue or tips required, so whether you’re into a classic oval or trendy coffin shape, you can start building that out with gel or acrylic as soon as the forms are stuck on properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

We won’t waste time here - let’s get down to the most common questions

we get asked about nail forms vs. tips.

Are Forms Stronger than Tips?

When you’re creating nail extensions, nail forms are more secure on your natural nails. Since nail tips rely on glue, their strength depends on how well that glue holds up. So, nail forms are generally stronger than nail tips. A nail enhancement built with a form is a solid one piece the opposite to tips. 

Are Dual Forms and Nail Tips the Same?

No, they aren’t the same. Dual forms were made to be used with polygel, to form the perfect shape inside of the form. Tips stay on until you decide to remove the nails, but dual forms come off like normal forms despite being made of plastic instead of paper.

Do Nail Forms Last Longer than Tips?

Typically, yes. Because nail forms aren’t dependent on glue like tips are, they adhere directly to your natural nail as a solid one piece structure and last longer.

Find Your Perfect Match with VBP

Whether you want to use nail forms or nail tips to create your favorite shape, VBP can quench your thirst for the perfect mani with our best-in-class tools. When creating your kit, using high-quality materials is vital to your at-home manicures or your professional work with clients. 


Check out our offerings today to elevate your nail art and master your manicures.