Manicures serve the same purpose as hand jewelry: they are an accessory for your hands that allows you to have an outlet for your self-expression while also having you look and feel your best. Despite being a lot less permanent than fine jewelry, getting the wrong manicure can influence your attitude and self-perception for a week or longer. We believe that picking the right nail shape for your fingers is just as important for a good-looking manicure as choosing the right shade or type of polish. You wouldn’t want to get stuck with an inconvenient, uncomfortable shape that doesn’t quite fit your lifestyle: find out in which shape is best for you, depending on your hand constitution, your preferred nail length, and your day-to-day activities.
Short, square nails were the omnipresent manicure trend of the early 2010s. Square nails gained a foothold once again around 2018 and 2019, usually styled on longer nails, which goes to prove just how universal this look can be: it works great on most nail beds regardless of the length of the nail. Some like them flared out (it’s a controversial trend, really) and some love to taper them down a bit towards the tip to the point of almost creating a ballerina look: this nail shape truly allows you to get as creative as you’d like.
Round nails are the easiest and most versatile look to achieve. They look best on wide nail beds and short lengths, and their appearance is the one the most resembles that of the natural nail shape. You’ll find out that they’ll suit you well if you’re mainly focused on manual labor (yes, that includes household chores) or you just don’t want to worry too much about your nails breaking when you’re not too gentle with them.
The natural evolution of the round shape is oval nails. This look is best achieved on medium-long nails (or shorter ones, if you have a very long nail bed) and it’s a classic, evergreen look. It doesn’t have as strong a personality as some of the (following) bolder counterparts, but it’s incredibly easy to achieve at home if you’re a novice and requires barely any maintenance, so it’s perfect if you’re growing out your nails or you just have very little time!
The almond shape is a modern variation of oval nails. It’s more elongated and tapered towards the end with respect to your typical oval manicure, and it works wonders if you wish to make your hands look leaner and longer. It looks more natural on narrow nail beds, but you can also try it on wider ones. We recommend giving it a shot if you like keeping your nails long and love timeless, classy looks.
Squared oval (or squoval) nails are a more delicate alternative to square nails. This style fits both long and short nails, just like the original, and it simply consists of a squared manicure with soft corners. This style can come in handy if you’re not sold on the bluntness of square nails or you need a temporary manicure while you work your way towards an almond or a ballerina shape: it complements most nail types, so just give it a try!
Coffin (or ballerina) nails started growing in popularity in the last few years and have taken off since then. You can achieve this look – which, sadly, only works on long nails – by keeping the sides of your length rounded (as for the almond or oval shape) and squaring off the tip. They bear an uncanny resemblance to both coffins and ballerina shoes, which is where they got their name(s). Achieving the perfect, symmetrical ballerina shape is not as easy as you might believe, so make sure you practice and perfect your skills before showing them off!
We like to consider stiletto nails an aggressive evolution of almond nails. In this case, the end of your nail is not just tapered: it comes to a sharp point at the end of your finger, just like your favorite stiletto heels. This manicure looks best on longer nails, as it allows the point to be a natural end rather than a blunt one given by lack of space (but check out the perfect short stilettos below!). This manicure looks a little risky at first, but it can be softened with pastel or light colors or dressed up with nail jewels. Stilettos are the most prone to breaking so not best suited for those rough on their hands, and remember to be extra gentle with your clothes as not to rip them!
Study the look of your natural nails to find a new nail shape to try the next time you're treating yourself to a mani: let us know your favorite by snapping a nailfie with your prop and tagging us on Instagram!