Over the years, I’ve tried many nail shapes. I started with ballerina, then moved to stiletto, and now have almond-shaped nails. For me, my nails make everything seem more polished. My outfits feels finished and they contribute to my overall style. Which is probably why as my style has evolved, so has my nail shape.
The first time I got acrylics, I went to the salon. Now I do my nails myself as a way to express my creativity. I like to put on a show, grab my nail art supplies, and try something new. Almond is my current go-to because I love how it add a feminine softness to a sleek shape.
I’m a girly girl and I love that my nails represent that. Think of nails like an accessory that can represent your personality and contribute to your overall style. Classic, chic, or edgy there is a nail shape for everyone.
Rounded nails have been a favorite for years and a classic nail shape for longer. Round nails have straight sides that curve in at the corners. As the name suggests, the top edge is round, following the shape of the fingertip.
This shape is usually used on shorter nails as a low-maintenance option. But they can be longer if you’re looking for soft drama.
If you’re looking for a simple way to elongate your fingers, round nails are a great option. Round nails can make fingers appear more narrow and give the appearance of thinner nail beds when the nail beds are wider.
Round nails are classy, so a simple solid polish will always look good. But you can also get playful with colors and designs to make this shape more modern.
Square nails are another classic shape that features a flat edge, sharp corners, and straight sides. This nail shape doesn’t taper in or flare out like other shapes.
Square is also one of the more popular shapes to use on shorter nails because they look neat and classy and are pretty low maintenance.
Anyone can have square nails, but they’re recommended for anyone with long fingers and narrow nail beds. Though they’re popular for short nails, they’ve also been trending as a longer style as well, achieved with either acrylic or nail tips.
With square nails, you can make your designs both subtle and bold. Because they’re a classic shape, they look good with a simple solid color. Or you can make them stand out with nail art.
Square nails with round corners
Take the classic square nail and add a slight roundness to the edges. Square nails with round corners are the perfect way to add softness to a traditional square manicure. This shape is straight on the side but doesn’t taper in as much as a squoval shape.
Soft square nails look best on shorter nails and look very clean and put together without requiring much maintenance to upkeep the shape.
For anyone who works with their hands a lot and doesn’t want their nails to snag, square nails with rounded corners work the best.
Since this look is pretty and clean, you can choose a simple color or design to use on this nail shape. Dark bold colors, neutrals, and a touch of metallics can complement these nails.
Similar to round nails, ovals don’t have a straight edge, but rather follow the natural curve of the fingertip. But that’s where the differences end.
Oval nails taper in more, creating a more noticeable curvature. This shape is loved because it’s timeless and helps elongate the nails and fingers.
Many also love oval nails because of their soft shape. They can look great with both short and long lengths but retain a feminine aesthetic. Oval nails are also very natural looking, even when they’re long, so they’re great for anyone looking for more covert extensions.
You can contrast the delicate feminine shape with unexpected shades, bold nail art, and a pop of metallics. Or lean into femininity with soft pinks and nudes or flowers and pearl details.
A combination of square and oval, this nail shape perfectly combines the best parts of oval and square nails. Squoval nails have the flat top of the square shape with tapered rounded corners of the oval shape. These nails are loved because they’re a classic shape that flatters all fingers.
If you like the square shape, but want something a little softer or more feminine, then the squoval is right for you. They’re especially great for anyone who has nail beds that or long or wide. They also work great on short nail designs. The shape helps to balance by adding some length.
Squoval nails look very natural, even when using press-ons or acrylics. Olive and June are pretty squoval press-on squoval nails, but getting clear tips allows you to customize the manicure.
Highlight your squoval shape with a simple dark shade of nail polish.
Add a bit of glamor to your manicure with almond nails. This shape is similar to oval in that the side taper into a rounded edge. But almond nails have sides that narrow in more, so the base is wide than the front edge. Almond nails have been trending, often seen on many celebrities and influencers.
The almond shape is done more frequently on longer lengths rather than shorter ones. That added length contributes to the glamorous look.
It can sometimes be hard to create an almond shape if you have short nail beds, so gel, acrylic nail extensions, or tips can help achieve the shape. To do your own, check out our post on “How to do Acrylic Nails.“
Almond nails are a favorite in fashion, so you can lean into that with your nail designs. A simple nude or a bright red can be very sultry and chic.
Ballerina or coffin nails
These nails resemble the shape of a ballerina’s point shoe. The sides slope in to a flat front edge. Ballerina nails were popular in the early 2000s and have made a comeback as Y2K fashion and beauty have been trending in recent years.
Coffin nails offer length and glamor but have a more classic look rather than their dramatic counterpart, the stiletto nail. This shape can work as a shorter length and on natural nails as well. Longer lengths may need to be done with tips or acrylic.
Ballerina nails are chic, so they’re a favorite among the fashionable. They also provide plenty of space to do nail art, so you can choose bold or intricate designs. For more, check out our article on “Coffin Vs Ballerina Nails.“
Cut out nails
These nails are like a square with an unexpected edge. Cut out nails have a half-moon shape removed from the tips. This shape has straight sides and a sharp corner leading to the front edge. But instead of a slat edge, the front curves down into a half circle.
Cut out nails can be hard to achieve without the proper tools and might be attempted by a professional rather than through a home manicure. To create cut out nails, an electric nail drill is the best way to create half-moon shape. And be cautious of the sharp points this manicure can create, they can snag on clothing or scratch easily.
If you want to add a subtle detail that makes a standard manicure a little more unique, go with cut out nails. And highlight them with a simple color or a modern French tip.
Trapeze or flare nails
Think of flare nails like an A-line dress. This nail shape is the exact opposite of most nail shapes; instead of getting narrower at the tip, trapeze nails flare out.
Trapeze nails start out as narrow as the nail bed and get wider, ending in a flat edge.
Flare nails are an unusual shape; you won’t see them on a lot of fingers. That makes it the ideal shape if you’re not one to follow the crowd. But beware, because these tips can be more delicate. It’s better to choose shorter lengths if you work with your hands.
With a shape this unique, you want to highlight it. French manicures can be a great option for trapeze nails. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to neutrals. Bold colors and fun designs really highlight this shape.
Want nails that are eye-catching and dramatic?
Stiletto nails are the way to go. Arguably, they’re one of the most striking nail shapes and they’re definitely not for the faint of heart. The sides of stiletto nails narrow into sharp points.
When it comes to this shape, often it’s the longer, the better. Some of the most dramatic stiletto nails can be four to five inches long. The shape can be high maintenance and may need to be reinforced with gel or use acrylic or tips to achieve the shape. You also must be careful of the point, which can easily scratch the skin.
Stiletto nails are for anyone who has a daring or edgy style. So don’t be afraid to get creative and a little wild with the design by using gems, glitter, and charms to adorn these nails.
I personally love the stiletto shape paired with French tip nails.
You can think of pointed nails as a shorter version of stiletto nails. Also called an arrowhead shape, these nails create a sharp point but aren’t very long. The sides of the nails are dramatically slopped, reaching a thin and sharp pinpoint tip.
Pointed nails are the best shape if you’re new to longer or sharper nails. It’s a great way to test if you like the style, shape, or length before committing to more severe styles. They help elongate your fingers and create a graceful but edgy manicure.
This nail shape is like a chameleon. It works well with delicate, feminine colors as well as bright and bold shades. Add fun finishing touches like glitter and nail stickers.
One of the most unique nail shapes is lipstick nails. As the name implies, the front edge of the nail resembles a newly opened lipstick. The sides are straight, while the tip is cut on a slant.
The shape is rather unexpected, so they’re perfect for anyone who likes to add a twist to their looks. And because they’re an uncommon shape, they’ll definitely stand out among other manicures. So if you want a fun shape that no one will see coming, lipstick is the one for you.
Lipstick nails provide an opportunity to get whimsical and step outside the box when it comes to nail art and design. Or you can show off the nail shape with a muted neutral.
Choose an exciting manicure with an edge nail shape. Sharp angled edges form a sharp point at the top with straight sides on the bottom. Think of this shape as a combination of square and stiletto.
Wearers should be comfortable with the sharpness and maintenance. The edges are sharp, and the length is long.
Edge nails are most often created with acrylic and include a ridge in the center to create an angular look. Be prepared to get regular fill-ins and have them reshaped to maintain the sharpness.
Edge nails are great if you’re looking for a new shape to try. They can be a fun way to try geometric designs or juxtapose the nail shape with a delicate floral design.
Cool nail shapes you have to try
What shape are you going to ask for at your next nail appointment? Nails are the most fashionable accessory, and it all starts with the shape. Leave your thoughts in the comments and share this article with another nail lover.
Alexandria is a writer and content creator, writing about beauty, style, homes, and food. She also works in fiction, writing young adult novels. When she isn’t writing, Alexandria loves doing her own nails, trying new style trends, and finding a rooftop with a view to enjoy a fruity cocktail.