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FAQs: Nail Forms

What are nail forms?

Nail forms are adhesive-backed plastic shells that fit neatly over the nail, concealing its shape. They're usually made of clear polycarbonate, although colored nails are available in some brands. The nails can be worn alone or with additional nail art details (called "overlay"). Nails influence the way your hands look and provide you with a canvas to create new types of artistic designs. Because they hide your natural nails, they let you experiment more freely than if you were using uncovered nails.

What are the types of nail forms?

Nail forms are available already shaped to fit the fingers' curvature, fingernails' widths and lengths, and particular digits' angles. The different sizes are typically referred to by number ("small", "medium", "large"), although in some brands the names are different (thumb, index finger, little finger). Nails can be further shaped to suit your tastes; for example, you might want them shorter—you'd cut off excess material at the tip of each nail. Some brands include instructions on how to do this with their nails.

Nail forms come in two types: tips (also called "caps") and overlay (also known as "spearlocks"). In the former type, a thin strip of adhesive-backed plastic is added onto your fingernails' top side, while in the latter type it's applied only from behind. Overlays also have smaller tabs that work similarly to tips' strips—they're used to attach the overlay to your nail.

Do I need nail forms?

Overlay forms are not necessary but they're a great way of saving time and money since they don't require professional help for placement and removal. Press-ons may be easier to use, but they won't last as long, while regular nail glue will only make the process more tedious due to its weak stickiness. Also, your natural nails need some extra exposure if you want to properly attach adhesive fake nails in between them—which means that the edges of each overlay will look messy and it'll take longer for glue residues to dissolve with acetone when their removal is needed.

How do you do gel nails with forms?

Gel nails are done the same way as with standard plastic nails. The only difference is that you apply a layer of gel before applying the forms, which helps shape the nail and protects it from chipping during removal.

Is there anything you can do to make nail forms feel more comfortable?

You can wear each form on your fingernail for two or three days so they'll conform better, but if it's still not comfortable, you might want to try using less adhesive on the back of each form—doing so will reduce some tension between the form and your natural nail which could be causing pain. If this doesn't help, then it means that nails don't suit you quite well enough—you might want to choose a different size or a more flexible brand.

How long do nail forms last?

Yes—nails can be worn for several days to a week, depending on the quality of your application. If you have done everything well and have also taken good care of your nails while wearing them, they should last longer than this.

How do I remove nail forms?

To do so safely without damaging your natural nails, follow these steps: Gently break the seal between natural nails and form using an orange wood stick or any other similar implement. Apply cuticle oil into each gap you've created with the aforementioned step; wait ten minutes for it to soak into the adhesive on both sides of each gap.

Gently pull off one form, using a cuticle pusher to pry open any tight areas if necessary. Apply more oil around the free edge of each nail as you remove forms from other fingers; also apply some on your natural nails' exposed beds. Repeat these steps until all forms have been removed, then cleanse your hands thoroughly with pure acetone and rinse them with tap water.

What are the risks of using nail forms?

Nails can cause injuries if not applied properly—you could catch skin between the form's plastic edges and tear it off by accident, for example. They're also bad for your natural nails since they prevent oxygen circulation needed for healthy growth; this is especially true when wearing overlays, which interfere even more than tip ones with that process. Because of this, you should take them off if any part of your natural nail has grown beyond the form's edge and cut it back as much as possible before applying new forms.

How do I prevent getting bubbles around my nails?

Nail forms create a thin layer at the surface of your fingernails' top side—if there aren't enough coats to cover completely (or perhaps none at all), air might get trapped underneath the form and cause small bubbles to appear. To avoid that from happening, apply several layers until the white plastic is fully opaque before placing each form properly. After application, let your nails dry for about ten minutes before moving on to another step; this gives them time to slightly harden but still allows for further adjustments, if necessary.

Why do nail forms look so fake?

They may not be the most natural-looking sort of fake nails, so some people might question their authenticity and ask whether they're indeed forms or just press-on nails. This happens because there's a thin half-moon that looks like a cuticle line indentation on each form; this helps with correct placement of each fingernail and it also gives them a more organic appearance, which is especially important when done right. However, if you get good at applying these nails properly, you can get rid of them by buffing your top coat layer until shiny and doing two thin layers underneath instead of one thick one; this will make fake nails look denser and thus appear more realistic.

Can I paint my nails while wearing nail forms?

Yes, but you need to wait for the adhesive that is in contact with your skin and natural nails to become less sticky, which can take about an hour after application. If there is too much resistance when applying nail polish, you might end up causing damage. If this happens, stop immediately and try again later when the adhesive has softened enough. Also be careful not to get any overhanging form's edges wet—if they soak in water they will become weaker and more likely to detach from your fingernails during removal (which could also happen when exposed to acetone).

Do nail forms work better than press-on nails?

Press-ons are easier to apply since you can place them from a distance without getting too close to your fingers. However, they're less durable than forms and don't look as natural. If you want to use press-ons while also having long nails that are difficult to maintain with nail extensions, it's better not to attach the fake ones directly on top of your own but rather apply them over soft gel or acrylic.

Are nail forms better than tips?

Nail forms are more durable than tip-type fake nails since they're made of acrylic, but both types have their pros and cons. Tip ones require you to apply glue on your natural nail's exposed beds, but that can be avoided when using overlay forms which are usually stickier. Also, form edges are thicker, so they're less likely to come off during removal, unlike tips, which can break easily if handled improperly. Press-ons are easier to use than both of these types of fake nails, but they also don't last as long—although this might not matter much since you can always redo them at home without any special equipment or professional help.

How else could I attach nail overlays?

If you want to apply overlay forms yourself but you're not very good at doing it, try using acrylic adhesive instead of nail glue. Another smart alternative is to buy kits that come with all the required materials for attaching fake nails, including special tools and small plastic wedges that can help with properly aligning each overlay without putting too much pressure on your natural ones.

Can I still remove nail forms after wearing them for several weeks?

Yes—fake nails are not meant to be permanent, so after about two or three weeks of continuous use you can start thinking about taking them off. The process will take some time and patience because both your natural nails and the fake ones need to be softened in order to remove adhesive remnants successfully. You'll also need acetone for dissolving any leftover glue while a cuticle stick needs to be dipped into it before pushing the form's edge up while pulling gently at the same time; this makes fake nails less likely to detach from your fingertips completely but rather only lift up enough for removal.

What can I use for nail forms?

You can buy overlay forms made of acrylic in many beauty supply stores or purchase them online—even Amazon offers a bunch of different sets from different manufacturers. You'll also need nail glue for attaching fake nails, and acetone to remove any leftover adhesive when removing your fakes.

Can you use tape as a nail form?

No, you can not. Overlay forms are usually made of acrylic and they need to be very sticky in order to stay attached; using tapes would make them come off prematurely and leave the edges looking messy. If you want to try this method instead, it's better to use nail art foil which is thinner than regular adhesive tape so it doesn't look obtrusive on your nails' surface.

How do beginners use nail forms?

Nail forms usually come with detailed instructions and you can follow them step-by-step if it's your first time using fake nails; otherwise, you might already know some tips for attaching press-on ones.

Are nail forms reusable?

No, they're not. Overlay forms are meant to be worn for about two weeks straight; after that, both your natural nails and the fake ones need a break so they can recover before being used again. You can buy regular acetone if you want to reapply your fakes after removing them.

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