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To Tip or to Sculpt – Pros & Cons

So you may be new to nails and just learning the basics… Or you may have been a nail tech for some time and become comfortable offering nail extensions using the tip and overlay method. It’s a great way to start offering nail extensions but do you know the benefits of sculpting nail extensions? Surely nail extensions are all the same, right?



So What is Sculpting?

Sculpting involves the use of a nail form, carefully positioned to act a temporary platform upon which to begin building a nail tip using your chosen nail system (either UV Gel or Acrylic). You then create a base for your nails and build upon this to create the desired nail lengthĀ  and effect e.g. pink and white, encapsulated glitter or art, coloured or clear nail extensions. There a huge number of advantages to creating nail extensions using the sculpting method…


Tip & Overlay Versus Sculpting


Tip & Overlay involves selecting different sized ABS plastic tips which must be tailored, glued and blended

Tip & Overlay can create strong extended nails for those with short natural nails but requires reasonably smooth nail plates for tip application

Tip & Overlay can allow you to create attractive nail extensions with an easy to create uniform smile line

Tip & Overlay is great for creating natural (clear) or pink and white nail extensions

Tip & Overlay is a great way to begin initially offering nail extensions

Tip & Overlay gives great uniform nails that look good even on nail biters

Tip & Overlay will require more products/tools. You will need a good selection of tips sizes/styles, tip cutters and a good nail glue.

Tip & Overlay is easy to master but can take longer overall (usually 60-120 minutes) for a full set with time and experience due to additional steps involved in using tips


Sculpting involves simply applying a nail form to use a platform to build a nail extension

Sculpting allows you to create strong extended nails working around a number of issues such as damage or unevenness of natural nails as there are no false tips to adhere

Sculpting can give high level, competition finish nail extension results with bright smile lines although this can take time and practice

Sculpting gives so much flexibility and potential creativity such as glitter tips, encapsulated nail art and more

Sculpting involves a lot less kit/products – you don’t need trays of tips, adhesive or tip cutters. Simply nail forms and the usual products for your system.

Sculpting is a greater follow-on advanced skill set for nail techs to take their nail extensions to the next level & give an edge over competitors

Sculpting will allow you to fit in more treatments to your salon day as usually you can sculpt a full set within 45-90 minutes (with time and experience)

Discover our Nail Extension Training Courses!

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  • Established 1990: the Original Private Beauty Training School

    I’m currently doing my VCTC Level 2 & 3 with The Beauty Academy in Birmingham and I am loving all of my courses. I’ve had the pleasure of having both Yvonne and Katy for coursesĀ  and they’re both attentive to myself and the other students, I feel very supported… You simply cannot fault the phenomenal tutors. The support team for the coursework is great and they’re always there to help! Chloe and Vicky at head office have both been extremely helpful in my journey so far. Thank you to everyone at The Beauty Academy.

    Isabella Z.

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  • Established 1990: the Original Private Beauty Training School

    Excellent trainers who have loads of knowledge that only comes with experience. Enjoyed both courses I’ve done at The Beauty Academy and they’ve left me feeling very confident in my treatments.

    Jade C.

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  • Established 1990: the Original Private Beauty Training School

    I have done a few courses at the Cambridge and London venues and loved all of them. Staff is very friendly and professional at the same time which makes it easy to learn the theory and also the techniques. Teachers pay attention to each student and gives honest advises and support. I highly recommend The Beauty Academy for everyone.

    Ernesta D.

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