Size is one of the first things that come to mind when planning your next acrylic manicure. Strangely, most people fixate on the nail length and shape, forgetting about the width. You must get all three right for the perfect nails.
This guide aims at helping DIYers make perfectly sized acrylic nails at home while providing a refresher for nail techs keen to hone their trade.
What is the standard acrylic nail size?
The three standard acrylic nail sizes are petite, medium, and large, though a few salons and brands offer extra-small (XS) and extra-large (XL) nails. Petite nails are sizes 2-6-5-6-9 from the thumb, index, middle, ring, and little finger. Meanwhile, medium nails are sizes 1-5-4-5-8, while large (or wide) nails are sizes 0-4-3-4-7.
Do Nail Sizes Matter for False Nails?
Yes, nail sizes make a world of difference. This is especially true for tips and press-on nails. Generally, the edges of the false nail should lie flush against the natural nail edges. Otherwise, you’ll run into problems.
For instance, undersized nails fall over easily and unexpectedly, often embarrassing the wearer. Meanwhile, oversized false nails look out of place and are often bulky, making the wearer uncomfortable and self-conscious.
Fortunately, finding the right acrylic nail sizes to fit your nail shapes is easy. The first option is purchasing standard nail sets. The sets arrive with at least two dozen tips or press-on nails in the ten standard sizes (#0 to #9). Compare and match the tips or press-on nails to your natural nails.
Alternatively, you can measure your nails and place a custom order from a platform such as Etsy. Custom orders are perfect-fitting pieces selected to complement your nail shapes. A custom option can also be designed to the ideal nail length.
What are Standard Acrylic Nail Sizes?
A standard nail set contains several pieces selected to fit the most common natural nail sizes. The set typically contains two dozen or more press-on nails or hundreds of tips.
You work one finger after another, comparing the false nail to the natural one to find matching pairs.
Alternatively, many nail brands indicate the size under the false nail. So, you can easily work through the pack if you know your nail sizes.
However, as expected, not everyone finds ten perfectly fitting pieces in standard nail kits. Often, a few will match, while the rest lie between sizes. If this happens, it’s best to work with the next large size and file it down to fit your nail.
Acrylic Nail Size Chart
Here is a comprehensive acrylic nail size chart that includes the most common sizes for each finger:
- Extra Large (XL) – 18mm
- Large (L) – 16mm
- Medium (M) – 14mm
- Small (S) – 12mm
- Large (L) – 14mm
- Medium (M) – 12mm
- Small (S) – 11mm
- Extra Large (XL) – 17mm
- Large (L) – 15mm
- Medium (M) – 13mm
- Small (S) – 11mm
- Extra Large (XL) – 16mm
- Large (L) – 14mm
- Medium (M) – 12mm
- Small (S) – 10mm
- Large (L) – 13mm
- Medium (M) – 11mm
- Small (S) – 9mm
Note that these sizes are just a guide and may vary slightly depending on the brand and manufacturer. Measuring your client’s nail bed is important to ensure the perfect fit.
How to Take Nail Measurements
The two main tools to measure your nails are a professional sizing kit and a DIY home kit. Both are effective, but DIY kits often prove more valuable long-term if you measure your nails accurately.
How to Use a Nail Sizing Kit
A nail sizing kit is a special chart from major brands and manufacturers. You can get one from your favorite cosmetics store. Alternatively, your nail brand may ship one to help you pick the perfect nails for your manicure.
For instance, Etsy stocks hundreds of professional sizing kits from top brands, making selecting perfectly fitting nail products easy. A typical kit includes blank nails numbered for easy reference.
Match each false nail to your finger until you find one that fits. Then record the measurement and move to the next finger. Finally, refer to the professional sizing chart to corroborate the figures and determine your exact nail sizes.
The standard way to record nail sizes is from the thumb to the little finger. A different method may confuse the supplier.
How to DIY-Measure your Nails at Home
Although standard sizing kits are easier and quicker to use, personally measuring your nails and ordering custom nails guarantees better outcomes.
It involves more work. But you’re guaranteed perfect matches for all your nails, thus minimal filing and longer-lasting fake nails.
The following is a step-by-step guide to measuring your nails at home to order the perfect acrylic nail tips and press-on products. You need transparent tape and a sharp-pointed pen. Avoid marker pens as they draw thick lines.
- Stick a small piece of tape across the nail’s width: Transparent tapes work best because you can see where the nail bed ends underneath.
- Mark the tape at the widest edges of the nail: Start where the nail bed begins on one side. Then mark the other edge of the nail.
- Remove the tape and measure it with a ruler: Set it on a flat surface, such as a table, and measure the distance between the two marks in millimeters.
- Convert the mm readings to #0-#9 nail sizes: You can send the measurements to your nail supplier in mm. However, converting them to the #0-#9 code simplifies the sorting process.
Alternatively, use a tape measure to measure the nails edge to edge at the widest part. Again, mark the tape at the widest nail edges and note the width in millimeters. Then compare the numbers to a standard nail sizing chart and assign each nail a value between #0-#9.
Petite vs. Medium vs. Wide Nails
Many nail brands and manufacturers identify three main hand sizes to simply the assortment of tips, press-on nails, and other nail products. The three categories are;
- Petite packages: Small hands with small fingers demand tiny tips and press-on nails. Therefore, a 2-6-5-6-9 package is ideal. This translates to a 15mm wide thumbnail, 11mm index fingernail, 12mm middle fingernail, 11mm ring fingernail, and a 9mm little fingernail. However, some brands supply #8 instead of #9 products for the little finger.
- Medium packages: Consider a medium nail package if you have moderate-sized fingers. It contains #1-6-4-5-8 nails, corresponding to 16mm-wide thumbnails, 11mm index fingernails, 13mm middle fingernails, 12mm ring fingernails, and 9mm little fingernails.
- Wide Nails: It’s easy to tell if you have wide fingernails. Consider a large nail package to suit your fingers. The package contains #0-4-3-4-7 nail products. These correspond to 18mm-wide thumbnails, 13mm index fingernails, 14mm middle fingernails, 13mm ring fingernails, and 10mm little fingernails.
Unfortunately, a few people don’t fit these descriptions. For instance, you may discover that only a few fingers match the false nails while the others are too big or too small. Similarly, the two hands may not be equal.
In such cases, it’s best to order custom nails. Take the time to measure the size of each nail. Then note down the measurements and send the numbers to your nail supplier.
How the Nail Shape Affects the Size
You’ll quickly notice that your acrylic nail shapes significantly affect nail sizes. It mainly affects the length but also slightly impacts the width.
For instance, oval nails are tricky to wear. Though longer ones have a slimming effect, especially on wide nails, shorter oval nails may make slimmer nails appear wider.
This is a big concern because nails should always appear longer than wide. Speak with your nail tech to find the perfect length and width for the best outcome.
Similarly, coffin-shaped and tapered coffin nails are thicker at the base, posing a few challenges. For instance, they make natural-length nails seem shorter and short nails look plumpy. So, again, you must work with your nail tech to find the best fit.
Typically, longer is trendier for thicker acrylics. But the nail tech can help you rock shorter coffin-shaped nails without looking out of style.
Finally, depending on the nail shape, it may be better to leave a small space at the nail edges to create a narrower appearance.
Again, this helps a lot when wearing shorter nails. But as you’d imagine, spaces at the edges may look awkward when wearing long nails. So, you must find a compromise.
How to Match Nail Sizes to Different Shapes
Given the impact of nail shapes on acrylic nail sizes, we recommend the following tips for the best-looking manicure.
- Short Nails – Consider square and oval acrylics if you desire short nails. These two shapes nicely complement short nails. Interestingly, the shorter the acrylics, the more beautiful the overall appearance.
- Medium Nails – Medium-width nails of medium length look exceptional with coffin acrylics. File down the edges and the cuticle area to blend with the natural nail. Tapered coffin nails are a great alternative.
- Long and X-Long Nails – Long and extra-long nails look exceptional with stiletto acrylics. The longer the stilettos, the cuter the nails. Alternatively, consider almond nails. They resemble stilettos but are less pointed at the tip.
Does Nail Length Matter When Applying Acrylics?
Yes, the length matters. However, it is rarely a big concern because you can trim down long nails and wear tips to extend short ones. For this reason, most nail salons merely recognize five lengths;
You can request 2XL, 3XL, and longer nails, depending on your needs. Again, the length is measured in millimeters from the base of the nail to the tip.
Acrylic Nail Size FAQs
How do you know what size acrylic nails to get?
The easiest way to know what size acrylic nails to get is by measuring your natural nails and finding matching acrylics.
For instance, you can use a professional or DIY nail sizing kit to determine your natural nail sizes. Then use the figures to pick the perfect false nails. Fortunately, the size is indicated on the underside of most press-on nails.
What size acrylic nails are there?
Acrylic nail sizes range from #0 to #9, though a few brands and manufacturers offer sizes #1 to #10. Size #0 nails are the largest, measuring 17 or 18 mm.
Meanwhile, size #9 nails are the smallest, measuring 8mm wide. The other sizes completing the set are #1 (16mm), #2 (15mm), #3 (14mm), #4 (13mm), #5 (12mm), #6 (11mm), #7 (10mm), and #8 (9mm).
What are common nail sizes?
The most common nail sizes are #0-#9. #9 nails are the smallest, measuring 8mm at the widest part. Meanwhile, #0 nails are the largest, measuring 17-18mm at the widest point.
Alternatively, some manufacturers and nail salons classify acrylic nails as small (petite), medium, or large, providing unique kits for each category.
Are there sizes for fake nails?
Yes, false nails come in standard sizes. Typically, the nails arrive in packs of 20-24 or 30, so you can find perfect matches for natural nails without filing too much.
If you can’t find the perfect match, choose the next large size and file it down slightly. The extra pieces are useful if you lose or break some press-on pieces.
What Acrylic Size should you Use?
Acrylic nails come in standard sizes, from #0 (17-18 mm) to #9 (8mm), measured at the widest part of the nail. The successive sizes differ by one millimeter. The length and shape are also important, but not as much as the width. Speak with your nail tech about a sizing kit or create a personal nail sizing chart to help you in the future.