How to Size Press on Nails for Clients | 4 Ways

How to size your press-ons?

So you have decided to give the press-ons gig a go, and right about now you’ve hit the biggest hurdle yet. How do I know what sizes will my customer need? And once your customer has become a regular, do you still need to size her and make her an extra amount of tips?


Have no fear, in today’s video we’ll be talking 4 different ways to size your press-ons, for retail.

Greetings and welcome back! If you are new here, I am Paola and I specialize in gel nails and solo-preneurship in the nail industry.

Before we dive in, if yo still need press-on product recommendations, here are a few of my faves.

Alright so, you’re here trying to figure out the easiest most quickest way to size your customer’s press-ons. Do you create 10, 12, 20, 24 what the heck?

So here are the 4 options to sizing your client, and I’ll just tell you off the bat they are all a little bit of work.

There is simply no way around not doing the work:

Option #1: Mail or have your client pick up a sizing kit from you. You could charge her for this kit or you can bake it into your set’s prices. There is a lot of time and communication involved with this option.

This option was super popular when I was looking to start with press-ons about 2 years ago. But that was pre-2020. In those days of relative peace and normality people would buy press-ons for special occasions or to have something extravagant on their nails. Something they would not normally get on their regular salon visits. They needed them for their engagement shoot, wedding or other super special event in their lives. You and the customer had time to plan and so you could wait a bit for that back and forth communication.

The benefit of mailing a sizing kit can be two-fold. You get a most accurate sizing fit while you focus intensely only on 10 nail tips, and your client can also practice glueing and applying at home. Ideally you would send her all 10 tips of the desired length & shape she is interested in. And if she was interested in more than one style you could send an extra 10 tips of a different shape & size, in which case you could and should charge extra for the additional sizing option. And this is because your customer is not going to size the same for example, in a short square, vs a pointed stiletto. Tips, especially in different nail shapes and brand names, unfortunately do vary slightly even when they’re from the same brand. And we’ll talk about one of my favorite nail tips brands toward the end of this video.

An additional benefit to this method of sizing is that if the sizing is inaccurate, the blame for the most part is off of your hands because it was the client that sized herself.

There are a few cons with option #1, however. 

As I already mentioned, wait time. It’s going to take at least 2 days for this sizing kit to get to your client. And by the time your client decides to size herself and then get back to you on the sizing it can easily turn into a week’s wait time, minimum. And what if your kit gets lost in the mail?? Yikes. 

Another potential mishap of this sizing option is the potential for one nail to get damage in transit or for your customer to ruin it. In which case she would not have a spare. And then you will be left to randomly mail in one nail… yes, just one. And not just stuck with mailing it, but also re-designing that one tip.

Also with this sizing option, you could have created her set 3 times over given the time it takes to communicate back and forth.

Of course, your customer, if she lives locally can pick this kit up, and that may speed things up a tad, but you’re still spending time communicating back and forth. So if time means money to you mailing a kit as a sizing option may not be the best decision for you.

Ok time for sizing Option #2:

Share a short clip with your customers on how to size their nail beds. I saw this really cool tip online where you take a piece of Scotch tape and make markings on it, then you strip that piece of tape and place it on a flat surface and measure it in millimeters (which you can do by taking the centimeter side of a ruler and multiply the number by 10). This option is way better than option #1 in my opinion. You don’t need to know how your customer sizes in different styles because you’re going off of the size of her natural nail bed, which does not change. 

Because it is up to you to size her properly, you should send her an additional nail tip or 2 if you cannot choose in between sizes.

What are the benefits of this option? 

It is probably the most accurate read for measuring, and so you can customize a set as small as 10 nail tips (or 12 … if you’re nice). You also don’t have to wait for the mailing kit to arrive to your client as well as having to spend the extra money on the sizing kit, and mailing it.

And the cons…

This option only saves you a tad bit of time. You are still patiently waiting for your customer to sit down and do this measuring thing via your measuring instructions… And unless you have a deadline, homework is homework, and it probably won’t get done until you follow up. It’s simply how it goes. (Oh, and what about if she doesn’t have tape or a ruler… uhm extra customer homework, which means she’ll either take longer to submit, or even get cold feet about this whole press-ons thing).

Sizing Option #3

Offer different size sets. Like a small, medium or large size. This sizing option I really contemplated, while thinking about press-ons 2 years go. It is probably the most flexible to both you and your customer. So in the small size press-on set  you’ll include thinner nails like size 2 and 5-9, 2. In a medium size set you’ll offer 0-7, and in a Large set you can offer double zero through size 5, 2 of each for every size (small, medium or large). This means you are creating between 14-18 tips total. So again super flexible and the margin of error for sizing is still relatively low, and your client gets a few extra tips, which would prob. make her super happy.

The biggest benefit to this option is that you are excluding back and forth communication, which again, can just lead to a pause in production.

The cons to this option of sizing are relatively small. For one you do have to update your cart drop-down option to select SML and the shape of the tip attached to each size. Additionally, you are starting to invest more time by creating more tips, but I think you can pass it down in your cost. 

Again, from the start of this post I mentioned there is no easy way, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a half-way point. I think option 3, is that half-way point.

Sizing Option #4

Go into full production mode and just create ready-to-ship sets, of only your most popular designs. You’ll also not only be creating each nail tip size but doubling up on some pairs. For example, middle sizes tend to be kind of interesting because your client may size the same on ring and index or middle and ring, and so rather than 2 number 4’s, you’ll need 4 #4’s. And I do believe size 4 to be the most universal, almost all of your clients will need a size 4 as that is the tip size I ran out of first when doing extensions in the salon. With sizing option #4 there is zero communication between a client and yourself and you are full blown a production machine, and your client gets to just hop on and shop when you release. My friend Katie @nailthoughts is finding major success with this one. Now to be fair, Katie has major momentum on Instagram so she can sell ice with her logo on it on a winter day, and she will probably sell out. But still, her strategy is super streamline. 22 nail tips doubling up on her 2 most popular sizes, turn of her phone, and paint paint paint, until release date. And she has sold out every single time.

Now where to buy tips… Kokoist Japanese Gel Nail brand (want 10% off? Use CODE PPN10 at check out.) makes high quality thin and flexible tips perfect for press-ons. And it is the brand I would definitely recommend, my friend Katie who is super successful with her Press-Ons also relies on this brand for her business.

Now regardless of what sizing method you opt in to, do please charge on the higher end. Press-Ons can take anywhere from 45 mins to 2hrs, and you definitely want to charge for your time. Let’s just say minimum $20 per hour, if you’re counting the cost of materials, your labour, and the minimal cost of running this type of  biz.

Unto the big question of… What if my customer has already bought from me a couple of times and knows her size? I think this question bogs those down who have gone with sizing option #4 of just going on full production mode. And if that is your sizing method and you don’t want to adapt to individual customers, then you can simply state that each set is old as is on your site. 

But if you wanted to be a bit more flexible and want to adjust to her sizing, still send her extras and she can tell you what specific #’s she would like extras of. Then it is totally up to you if you want to create a discount code for her to use at checkout.

I think I personally would not go through the trouble and just state that my sets include X number of tips, and sold as is. But it is your business and the beauty of that is that if it does not inconvenience you, then you can be creative with your exceptions.

Alright so here is a surprise, when I created my first Press-ons video here on YouTube, I included a mega giveaway, on extra items I had to get your pre-ons biz going, today we are doing an encore with a second giveaway!

Now to enter this giveaway!



Get "The 10 Steps To Launching Your Press-on Business" Guide

The guide is currently in-the-works and will be emailed to you as soon as it is published!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *