How Do I Choose the Best Acrylic Nail Tips?

Kathleen Howard

Acrylic nail tips are used to elongate and create a foundation for artificial nails. When shopping for nail tips, it is best to evaluate different tips according to their thickness, flexibility, and color. Nail tips also differ in their C-curve, smile line, and contact area. To choose the best tips, look for those that offer a correct fit as well as a strong base for the rest of the nail.

For a French manicure, a white acrylic nail tip is ideal.
For a French manicure, a white acrylic nail tip is ideal.

While many acrylic nail tips look the same, there are several slight differences to consider, such as the thickness of the tip. Thicker nail tips are generally stronger, while thinner tips tend to be more flexible. To create durable acrylic nails, it is important to choose tips that offer both strength and flexibility. Look for tips that are thick enough to be sturdy but thin enough to be bent without breaking.

The natural nails should be cleaned and prepped prior to adding acrylic nail tips.
The natural nails should be cleaned and prepped prior to adding acrylic nail tips.

Color is also important. Acrylic nail tips most commonly come in white, clear and natural. If you will be creating a French manicure, a white acrylic nail tip might be the best option. Nail tips are also available in a wide range of interesting colors and patterns. If you regularly create intricately designed acrylic nails, these tips may speed up the process.

Another important consideration is shape. Natural nails have a slight horizontal curve, which is called a C-curve. When choosing tips, look for products with a natural looking C-curve. Tips that are too flat will be difficult to position on the nail. The best acrylic tips are those that match your natural C-curve perfectly.

Smile lines are also important. A smile line is the curve at the base of an acrylic nail tip where the tip meets the natural nail. If you will be using a transparent acrylic top coat, choose tips with attractive smile lines. Deep smile lines are generally seen as more elegant, while less severe lines tend to look more casual.

To ensure a great fit, choose acrylic nail tips with the right amount of contact area. This area is the portion of the tip that attaches to the nail plate. If this area is too large or too small, the nail will not sit properly. Tips that are too small will also separate from the natural nails as they grow out.

Tips are also designed with wells, half wells, no wells at all. A well is an indent in the contact area that helps the tip lay flat when applied to the nail bed. If you have long nails, opt for half wells or well-less nail tips. If you bite your nails, look for tips with wells. These indents will help you seamlessly apply the tips to your natural nails.

The last aspect that determines fit is the width of the nail tip. If you have wide natural nails, you might need to purchase tips specially designed to fit wide nails. To make your nails appear thinner, look for tips with tapered side walls. Straight tips can add width to your nails and make them appear even wider. Unless this is the look you are going for, tapered nails will offer a sleeker end result.

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Discussion Comments


@raynbow- Square nail tips are trendy, but they don't look natural on most people. I think this effect would be even more noticeable on people with wide fingers or large hands.

If you want longer fingernails, I think you should go for a more natural look. Acrylic nail tips for a slight curve are much more natural and feminine.


I like the looks of square-tipped acrylic nails, and am thinking about getting them for a special occasion. I'm concerned they will look strange on my wide fingers, though. Does anyone have advice about using this type of nail tip?

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