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Are sculptured nails better than tips?

Blue sparkly nails

People have been decorating their nails for centuries, and our nail game has only gone from strength to strength – as shown by this extensive list of the most up-and-coming nail art detailed in an article by our Australian neighbours over at Refinery29. Nail treatments have flown to the top of the beauty industry chart in terms of popularity, with nail care rating as one of the number one ways in which to practice some self-care.

And it hasn’t stopped there – new ways of creating beautiful nails are being tried and tested everyday! Some of the most popular nail treatments include: gels, acrylics, express nails, and the star of this blog – the sculptured (sculpted) nail!

So let’s take a closer look.

The difference between sculptured nails and tips

Both nail treatments come from a similar idea, but the overall effect is executed slightly differently to achieve different effects. 

Nail tips are pretty much the false nails that we know and love; the acrylic plastic base in our desired shape that is applied to the natural nail and supplies a canvas for coloured acrylic or gels.

Nail sculpting involves using a temporary template under the nail in order to achieve our desired nail shape, and the coloured gel or acrylic is then used to form said shape. The template is then removed, leaving you with a perfectly sculpted set of nails. Our American neighbours over at Elle give an in-depth article all about the sculpted nail and how the magic works.

difference between sculpting and tips infographic

Sculpted nails


Less kit required – sculpted nails don’t require as much gear to achieve, meaning you can travel a little lighter!

Quicker and easier than tip application – once you get efficient at applying sculpted nails, you might find that it is an easier and quicker nail treatment service to offer as opposed to tip application.

More natural finish – sculpted nails are so popular due to the lighter and more natural look and feel they offer once completed. They do not require a plastic base to be adhered to the natural nail and therefore don’t feel as heavy.


It’s new and therefore unfamiliar – humans are creatures of habit, and sometimes trying new things and straying from what we know, particularly when it comes to sending money on a beauty treatment, can be a deterrent.

It takes longer to get the hang of it – as the nail is being built from scratch, sculpted nails have a tendency to be more difficult to craft than the more straightforward application of acrylic tips.

Sculpting pros and cons

Nail tips


Strong choice – due to the solid acrylic plastic base that the nails are then built upon, nail tips are a good choice for those wanting hard-wearing false nails.

Easy to learn – the application of acrylic nails is one of the simplest to learn, so you can become an expert in no time!

All nails are created equal – as the shape of the nail is already created, all the nails tend to look neat and equal once applied, making for a perfect manicure.


Not as natural-looking – acrylic tips can look quite false at times and so may not be the right fit for someone looking for a more natural nail look.

Take a while to apply – the process of applying nail tips can take quite a long time.

More likely to damage natural nails – due to the acrylic plastic base pushing down on the natural nail plate, and paired with the use of nail adhesive, acrylic nails have a bit of a reputation for damaging natural nails. It is advised to take breaks between acrylic nail treatments to allow your natural nails to strengthen again.

Tips pros and cons infographic

Want to know more?

With one of New Zealand Beauty School’s comprehensive nail technician courses, you will be given all the tools you need in order to flourish in your career as a nail artist.

Our nail courses online include:

Certificate in Nail Tech – an excellent all-rounder course with both practical and theoretical elements, it covers all the most popular and up-and-coming nail styling methods on the market. Developed by industry professionals, you will learn all about acrylics, gel polish, builder gel application and dipping systems. Not only will we teach you all the nail service skills you will need to shine, we also focus on teaching customer service, consulting with your client and the legalities surrounding offering these services. 

Certificate in Manicures and Pedicures – a beautiful course that will teach you how to make clients feel their absolute best; you will learn how to create stunning nail shapes, all the way from a popular oval shape to a very fashionable stiletto. You will learn to clean up messy cuticles and buff away ridges like a pro. We also cover the delivery of extensive hand and foot massages, day spa standard exfoliation masks and even paraffin treatments. 

Once enrolled, you will receive an extensive manicure and pedicure kit to get you started on your nail tech journey, including nail files, buffers, cuticle pusher and clippers, foot rasps, hand massage cream, hand mask, exfoliant, paraffin pot and paraffin wax and multiple polishes.

Our comprehensive nail courses cover all the latest treatments and services, keeping you up to date with all the up-and-coming nail treatments and teaching you all the classics. Undertaking one of our manicure courses or gel and acrylic nail courses from home will set you up with a solid foundation from which to launch yourself into the beauty industry with confidence.

Completing a nail course will provide you with a creative, supportive space to practice and explore your craft and help you find where your skills would fit into the industry. Whether you want to work for an existing brand or start up your own business, enrolling in one of our online nail tech courses will start you off on the right foot. With 24/7 access to your online learning, you can complete your course at a pace that suits you, working around your schedule and lifestyle.

Our nail courses come complete with a custom-designed kit sent straight to your door, containing all the equipment you will need to hone your craft from home – for example, an acrylic nail brush. 

And to make things even easier, we offer an interest-free payment plan where you can pay your fees in instalments, paying a small amount per week, or you can receive a discount if you choose to pay your course fees upfront.

Download our course brochure for further information on course content, modules and assessments, accessing your learning online and tutor support. Our course advisers are also on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have. 

Enrol in an online nail technician course with New Zealand Beauty School and start sculpting your dream career.

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