Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding the difference between small and medium press on nails is crucial for a perfect fit.
  • Sizing kits and measuring techniques are essential for determining the right nail size.
  • Nail shapes and nail bed sizes play a significant role in selecting the appropriate press on nails.

Press on nails have revolutionized the beauty industry, offering a quick and affordable way to achieve a salon-quality manicure at home. But with so many sizes and shapes available, it can be challenging to understand what is the difference between small and medium press on nails. This article will guide you through the nuances of press on nail sizes and how to ensure you select the right fit for your fingers.

The Basics of Press On Nail Sizes

When it comes to press on nails, size matters. Small and medium refer to the width and length of the artificial nails, which should match the natural nail bed for a seamless look. Small press ons are designed for narrower nail beds, while medium press ons cater to wider nail beds. The right size not only looks better but also provides a more comfortable and lasting wear.

Measuring Your Nail Bed

To determine whether you need small or medium press ons, you'll need to measure your nails. A flexible measuring tape or a sizing kit from the brand of press ons you prefer can be used. Lay the transparent tape or the strip from the sizing kit across the widest part of your nail bed, and mark the width. Measure this mark using a ruler or the measurements provided in the kit to find your size.

Importance of Nail Shape

Nail shape is another factor to consider when choosing between small and medium press ons. Nail shapes like coffin, stiletto, or square can affect the perceived size of your nails. For example, a medium square nail might appear larger than a medium coffin nail due to the differences in tip shape. It's important to note the shape when measuring to ensure a perfect fit.

Sizing Kits and Their Role

Sizing kits are invaluable tools for getting your nail measurements right. These kits typically come with a full set of nails in different sizes, allowing you to try on various sizes to find the best match. Brands like Kiss and other popular press on nail companies offer these kits, which can be purchased online or in stores.

The Measuring Tape Method

If you don't have a sizing kit, a flexible measuring tape can be your go-to measure for press on nails. Simply wrap the tape around the widest part of your nail bed and take note of the measurement in millimeters. This measurement corresponds to the width of the nail size you should shop for. Remember, accuracy is key to finding the right fit.

Nail Artists' Tips for Perfect Sizing

Nail artists often share their tips for ensuring a perfect fit. One common method is to use a piece of transparent tape to press onto the nail bed, then lift and stick it to a piece of paper. Draw a line where the nail's width is the widest, and measure this length. This gives you a visual representation of your nail size, which can be compared to the sizes offered by different brands.

What If You're In Between Sizes?

Sometimes, you might find that your measurements fall between two sizes. In this case, it's better to choose the smaller size and gently file the sides for a snug fit rather than opting for a larger size that might feel loose. Press on nails are often flexible enough to adjust slightly for a better fit.

The Role of Nail Length

While width is crucial for determining small versus medium, length is also a factor. Some people prefer shorter nails for practicality, while others love the drama of longer lengths. When measuring, consider both the width and the length to ensure the press ons won't extend too far past your fingertip or look unnaturally short.

Customizing Your Press Ons

Customization is a huge advantage of press on nails. If you find that standard sizes don't fit your nail beds perfectly, you can always trim and file the press ons to create a custom fit. This is especially useful for those with unique nail shapes or sizes that don't match the standard offerings.

Avoiding Common Sizing Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes when choosing press on nails is not measuring correctly. Always use a flexible measuring tape or a brand-specific sizing kit to get accurate measurements. Avoid guessing or assuming your size based on past experiences with other brands, as sizing can vary.

Finding Your Perfect Press On Nail Brand

Different brands may have slight variations in their sizing, so it's worth exploring a few to find your perfect match. Read comments and reviews from other customers to see if a brand tends to run small or large and adjust your choice accordingly.


In summary, the difference between small and medium press on nails lies in the width and length that correspond to your natural nail beds. Accurate measurements using a sizing kit or flexible measuring tape are essential for finding the right size. Consider the nail shape, customize when necessary, and be aware of sizing differences between brands to ensure a perfect fit.

FAQ Section

Can I use regular tape to measure my nails for press-on?

Yes, you can use transparent tape to measure the width of your nail beds. Press the tape onto your nail, mark the widest part, and then measure the mark against a ruler or the measurements provided in a sizing kit.

What should I do if my nails are between sizes?

If your measurements fall between sizes, opt for the smaller size and file the edges for a better fit. Press on nails are often flexible, allowing for slight adjustments.

How do I know if a press-on nail brand's sizes will fit me?

The best way to determine if a brand's sizes will fit is to use their specific sizing kit or measure your nails and compare them to the size chart provided by the brand. Additionally, reading customer reviews can give you an idea of whether a brand's sizes run small or large.