The Ultimate Guide to Different Nail Shapes: 10 Nail Types to Know

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It doesn’t matter which salon you get your nails done in because all manicure treatments involve the shaping of your nails to your preferred style, but how well do you know your options? While you might be content with sticking to your usual, there’s a wide range of nail shapes out there that you might not even be aware of, so why not try something different the next time you go book yourself a manicure appointment? Here are the nail shapes that you should know about.

Square Nails

Image from byrdie

Square nails are one of the most popular nail shapes out there, mainly due to their classic yet stylish appearance. Just as the name implies, having square nails means that your nails are cut completely straight on the top so that each nail resembles a square, with clean and sharp corners.

Round Nails

Image from Nail Designs

Round nails will be a great choice for those of you looking for a more natural look. This nail shape gives your hands a much cleaner look and has a way of making your fingers seem longer because of the way they curve along the natural shape of your finger. There’s also the fact that having rounded nails won’t interfere with how you live your life in any way.

Oval Nails

Image from Glamour UK

You might be wondering what the difference is between round and oval nails. While both may sound similar to one another, oval nails are much narrower at the top compared to round nails, but not enough that they can be classified as almond nails or stiletto nails. You’ll be able to spot an oval nail as the top will be rounded but will also extend beyond the natural edge of your fingertips, unlike a round nail, which follows along this edge.

Squoval Nails (Soft Square)

Image from Glamour

Squoval nails are a combination of both square and oval nail shapes, which means that your nails will be shaped into a square before the harsh corners are softened and slightly rounded for a less severe appearance.

With this style, you really get the best of both worlds by maintaining some length to your nails without having them stand in the way of your daily activities. However, keep in mind that you may need to have your nails reshaped or cleaned up around two to four weeks afterward.

Almond Nails

Image from Real Simple

Almond nails are also similar to round nails, with the slight difference of having a sharper tip that resembles the shape of an almond. And just like the oval nail shape, the sides of the nail are also filed down to make it look narrower. It’s pretty much a universal design that looks great on most people, regardless of how their fingers are shaped. It also goes well with any color of nail polish or nail design and makes your hands seem much more glamorous.

Stiletto Nails

Image from Zohna

Stiletto nails are incredibly intense as far as nail shapes go, characterized by their incredible length and intensely sharp tips. This nail shape is very similar to the almond nail shape, but it takes it a bit further for a much more dramatic look.

And while this shape is definitely not for everyone, it’s also worth noting that the stiletto nail shape also requires a lot of maintenance, but it can also be a great way to explore a bit more creativity with your nail in terms of color and art.

Ballerina Nails (Coffin-Shaped)

Image from InStyle

Ballerina nails, also sometimes referred to as coffin-shaped nails, are a contemporary take on the classic square nail. While still maintaining the straight tip and sharp edges of the square nail shape, ballerina's nails are more tapered. It’s great for those who want to keep their nails at a medium length or those who want to explore a few fun designs, as the ballerina nail shape looks great with anything.

Lipstick Nails

Image from The List

Another self-explanatory nail shape, lipstick nails follow the very distinct shape of a brand new tube of lipstick, with the nails having a straight tip that’s slanted diagonally, often at a 45-degree angle. This nail shape naturally looks better on longer nails, but it can still work well with all nail lengths. Regardless of that, you can rest assured that your nails will have a very unique look that’ll stand out.

Flare Nails (Duck Nails)

Image from HIGHXTAR

Flare nails are another nail shape that’ll help you stand out from the crowd, as this nail shape flares out and grows longer the closer it gets to the straight tip. Some people also call them duck nails because of the slight resemblance this nail shape has to a duck’s flippers.

And since your nails are already so recognizable, you might as well go all in with a fun and flashy nail design and color. Needless to say, flare nails make a statement, so make sure that you’re bold enough to wear these nails with confidence.

Edge Nails

Image from Glam

Edge nails are a combination of both the square and stiletto nail shapes, with most of your nail bed growing straight but both edges of your nail tip being filed down until they’re sharp and come to a point at the top. While they may look interesting to try out, it’s crucial to assess whether or not you’re actually comfortable with the sharp tips and edges that come with this nail shape. You’ll also need to have them regularly maintained to keep their distinct form.

How to Know What Nail Shape to Get?

With so many nail shape options available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you, but there are some things that you can consider to help make the decision a bit easier:

  • Preferred Length: One important thing you should think about before choosing a nail shape is how long you want your nails to be, as some nail shapes work best with a specific nail length. For example, round nails are great for those of you who don’t want anything too extreme and want to keep your nails looking natural and short. On the other hand, oval nail shapes have to exceed the end of your fingertip, which means that they’ll be longer by default.
  • Lifestyle and Daily Life: Another thing to consider is your daily lifestyle, specifically how much activity involves your hands and can impact your fingernails. If you find yourself doing a lot with your hands, such as cleaning and working, you may want to stay away from any nail shape that involves long lengths or sharp points, as excessive friction and use can lead to wear and tear or even damage.
  • Maintenance: How much time and resources you have to spare for regular maintenance of your nails should also play a part in your decision. Some low-maintenance nails can simply make your hands look fabulous without the effort, some examples include round nails and square nails, while others need to be looked after a bit more meticulously to maintain their appearances, such as any nail shape that includes a sharpened shape, which may break more easily as well.
  • Hand and Finger Shape: Some nail shapes complement certain hand and finger shapes. An example of this is how oval and almond nail shapes can elongate fingers and make them look more slender, making them more suited for shorter fingers, while the square nail shape can balance out longer fingers.
  • Nail Health: Some nail shapes can definitely make your nails more vulnerable, but this really isn’t something that you want when your nail health is already compromised. If your nails are prone to breaking or splitting, then definitely stay away from nail shapes that require length or come with sharp points and tips, both of which can increase the risk of damage.

The Takeaway

While there might be a lot more nail shapes out there than you may have been expecting, there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. Think of it as an opportunity to spice things up every once in a while and try something different for a change. Remember that you should always leave your manicure appointment feeling your absolute best!

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