Seconds before you enter the salon the endless nail shapes are running through your mind and you think to yourself, My nail tech will know what to do, The respectable square or round? Your nail tech knows just as well as you do that it’s not that simple anymore. The world has more different nail shapes than you have fingers, and it can be tough to keep track of all the nail shapes, let alone choose one! Here’s a list of the most popular (and Photo-worthy!) options.
7 Popular Nail Shapes
1. Square Nails
Overview: stylish, clean-cut, low-maintenance
Wear if: you have long fingers and long, narrow nail beds.
Best with: block, bold polish colours
The square nail shape is pretty self-explanatory. Square nails are square—they’re flat on top with straight, sharp corners. They neither flare out nor taper in and are a popular shape for those with short nails or long, narrow nail beds.
2. Round Nails
Overview: tidy, elegant, elongates shorter fingers.
Wear if: you have short fingers with short or narrow nail beds.
Best with: any shade of polish or left unpainted.
The classic round shape is another favourite for those who prefer to keep their nails clipped short. Like square nails, round nails start with straight sides but curve at the edges to follow the natural s
hape of the fingertip.
3. Squoval Nails
Overview: classic, natural, suits all.
Wear if: if your nail beds are wide and long. Squoval nail shapes will look good on short or long fingers.
Best with: geometric nail art.
Square oval or squoval nails are perfect if you’re into the flat edge of the square but hate sharp corners. Squoval is your best option. This universally flattering shape has softened corners for the best of both worlds.
4. Oval Nails
Overview: feminine, classy, classic.
Wear if: you have shorter fingers or shorter hands with wide, stubby nail beds, as an oval shape will create the illusion of length. It’s also a good shape on longer fingers that have wide and short/stubby nail beds.
Best with: nail art.
Yes, round nails are different from oval ones. Here’s how: Oval nails are filed down on the sides in addition to the tips. The curvature is more extreme, so it tends to make fingers look more slender.
5. Almond Nails
Overview: glamorous, chic, feminine.
Wear if: you have long or short fingers but your nail beds are narrow and long.
Best with: plain, shiny and metallic polish colours.
Like oval nails, almond nails are filed along the sides. The nail wall is tapered to end in a round peak, similar to the shape of an actual almond. Natural nails are often too weak to hold this structure on their own, so most almond
manicures are reinforced with gel or acyclic.
6. Stiletto Nails
Overview: loud, high-maintenance elongates hands.
Wear if: you have time/money for upkeep, and want to make a statement.
Best with: elaborate and pretty (and unchipped) nail designs.
Stiletto nails are all about the drama. Shaping this spiked look starts off the same as it’s nuttier counterpart, the almond, but ends at a much sharper point with a wider base. (Stiletto nails are also perfect for ice cream cone nail art, as seen below.)
7. Coffin nails
Overview: chic, glamorous, high-maintenance.
Wear if: you suit square or squoval shapes (narrow and long nail beds).
Best with: tidy and unchipped acrylic nail shapes with pale polish colours.
Coffin nails (also known as Ballerina-shaped nails) are Kylie Jenner’s signature nail shape. Coffin nails are essentially the stiletto nail, but with a square rather than pointy tip. They’re called ballerina nails or coffin nails because the shape resembles both a coffin and a ballerina’s slipper.