Do you know what nail shape is best for your hands?
The right shape is just as important as the color of the polish. It highlights the beauty of your hands.
If you’re of a practical mind, you might wonder which nail shape is the strongest.
Or if you’re checking out the latest trends, you might question if coffin and ballerina nails are the same.
In this Ultimate Guide to the Best Nail Shapes, we’ll cover the eight top nail shapes. They include all of the above and more.
We’ll also mention other exciting nail styles that didn’t make it into our top 8 but are eye-catching nonetheless.
To begin, here’s a graphic that shows all the nail shapes we’ll discuss:
Now, let’s begin with the nail shape that flatters everyone regardless of finger shape and size (1).
Squoval Nails (Square Oval)
Squoval nails look stylish on all fingers.
It doesn’t matter if you have narrow or wide nail beds. They look equally good on short or long fingers.
But there’s more to love: squoval nails have rounded edges so they’re unlikely to catch on things and they’re durable.
The square oval nail shape is a classic style that’s easy to re-create at home, too.
For example, if your natural nails need a boost, here are artificial nail tips in the square oval style.
MAKARTT Squoval Nails
These clear ABS plastic nail tips are perfect for French manicures. All you need is glue and a steady hand to apply them.
They’ll last up to about three weeks then they’re easy to remove by soaking in acetone.
5 Second Nail Salon Nail Glue
Here’s the glue for applying false tips to your nails.
It has a pinpoint applicator for precise application. The glue holds up to a maximum of four weeks without lifting.
Moreover, it’s as gentle as this type of product can be.
Oval nails look great on shorter, wider fingers because they elongate the shape.
They are filed down the sides, which makes fingers appear more slender.
You’re likely to see this style worn by models on the catwalk as well as moms at the park. That’s because the rounded edges and strong shape prevent breakage.
MelodySusie Compact Portable Electric Nail Drill
Get serious about doing your own manicures with this electric nail drill.
It features adjustable speed so you can both file and polish. The low vibration and quiet operation make it easy to control.
Although it’s portable, it’s not battery-powered – it requires electricity to run.
If you have short nails, the square shape means you don’t need to add anything to them.
Plus, they add substance to long, narrow nail beds.
Just file the end straight across and leave corners sharp. (Or round them slightly to protect them against damage.)
Square nails were a popular style in the 90s, and they’re coming back around again (2).
But be careful because the square shape doesn’t encourage healthy nail growth and it can actually make your hands look older.
OPI Nail Envy Nail Strengthener
OPI designed their nail strengthener to repair weak and damaged nails. It has calcium and hydrolyzed wheat protein to start recovery from day one.
Apply it as a standalone treatment or use it as a base coat.
This product has won beauty awards for its ability to make nails longer, harder, and stronger.
Round nails are another classic shape for those who have short natural nails.
The advantage of round versus square nails is that round are the least likely to break. They also don’t snag on clothing.
If you’re someone who doesn’t like to fuss over how to do something with your hands when you’re wearing polish, this is a smart style for you.
Interestingly, round nails were very popular in the 1940s. Now they’re gaining ground again because of orbit manicures.
What are orbit manicures? They’re sometimes called outline nails because the colored polish circles around the border of the nail.
It’s not easy to create an Instagram-worthy orbit manicure by yourself. It requires a very steady hand and a very thin brush.
It’s possible to cheat a little bit by painting the entire nail the color you’ll use as the outline. Then use an opaque shade to color in the middle with a couple of rounded strokes.
Makartt Nail Art Liner Brush Set, Q-09
This set of precision brushes in three different sizes is ideal for nail art.
Each nylon brush has a cap to keep it clean when not in use.
KADS Kolinsky Sable Brush 2 Manicure Clean-Up Pen No More Mistakes 3096
Fix your goofs in a flash with KAD’s Cleanup Pen. It erases smudges with one stroke, but it won’t ruin new nail polish.
It includes two replacement tips.
Ballerina Nails, Aka Coffin Nails
Yes, ballerina nails are what you’ve seen on the Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, among other stars.
This shape resembles a stiletto nail with a square tip rather like the toe shoe of a ballerina. It elongates
short fingers and makes wide fingers look more slender (3).
ECBASKET 500PCS Coffin Nails Ballerina Nail Tips
These tips will give you the extension you need to pull off ballerina nails. They’re made of lightweight but strong ABS plastic that will last up to 3 weeks.
The assortment includes 500 nails total in ten different sizes.
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Color
Sally Hansen’s polish comes in a variety of vibrant colors that last a week or more without chipping or fading.
The formula is enriched with green tea and Pro-vitamin B5 to strengthen nails. Furthermore, it doesn’t have toxins like formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP.
Stiletto nails look just like you’d expect: long and spiky. They have a wide rounded base and taper to a sharp point.
As actress Laverne Cox says, stiletto nails can make a woman feel feline and powerful.
On the other hand, you can have fun with ice cream cone art when you have stiletto nails. Or better yet, go bold!
Natural Stiletto Nails Acrylic Nail Tips
Few of us have natural nails long enough for the stiletto style. Instead, try these tips made from ABS plastic. They come in ten different sizes to fit all fingers. All you need is glue.
OPI Spring 2023 Tokyo Collection Nail Lacquer
Choose from twelve stunning colors in the Tokyo Collection from OPI. It should last up to a week without chipping.
Almond nails were one of the top nail shapes of 2023, and they continue to be very popular.
They share characteristics with oval and stiletto nails. They’re filed along the side like oval nails, long like stilettos, and they have slightly rounded tips.
But you’ll notice that they come to a peak which means natural nails usually have to be reinforced with acrylic or gel.
Don’t be surprised if you see almond nails with flashy art or a chrome finish.
A-viva Beauty 4-Way Shine Nail Buffer Blocks
No one should be without a 4-sided buffer block for their nails.
These have two coarse sides, a medium grit side, and a silky finish strip to polish the surface.
Trapeze, Duckbill, or Flare Nails
Our final pick of the top 8 nail shapes is this one that goes by a variety of names. As you can guess, it has a flared point wider than a square nail. Think bell bottom pants from the 1970s.
This style is a holdout from 2017. It’s still popular because it’s a fun canvas for nail art. If you do your own at home, you might love having extra space for your creativity.
On the downside, flare nails are prone to breaking because the sides need to be built up with gel or acrylic.
4th of July I Love America Nail Art
Here’s a prime example of inexpensive nail art that you can play with for the holidays. It’ll look sweet on trapeze nails.
What Other Popular Nail Shapes Are There?
Are you ready for radical? If you thought stiletto was spectacular, take a look at mountain peak, edge, and pointed nails. They’ll help you get your claws on.
What’s more, mountain peak is a style favorite of Lady Gaga.
Then, lipstick nails are square with a slanted tip, just like a fresh tube of lipstick.
While all of these nail shapes are attractive in their own right, they’re probably best if you have an assistant to deal with your daily life. While you’re wearing them, it’s going to be nearly impossible to pick things up off the floor, type, or even scratch your nose safely.
Which Nail Shape Is Best for Your Hands?
Here’s the advice from the experts:
- Squoval nails look good on everyone’s hands.
- If you prefer to keep your nails short, try square or round nails.
- If you have short, wide fingers, then oval, almond, and ballerina nail shapes will make your fingers look longer and slimmer.
- But if you have long, thin fingers, try square or rounded square nails.
A manicure lasts two to four weeks, tops. That gives you a sufficient amount of time to try out a new style and see how it goes. But it’s not a permanent change, so you can always switch to something else.
Speaking of manicures, here are a few more products so that you can do your own nail care at home.
Cuticle Pusher and Cutter by Utopia Care
Everyone should have their own cuticle pusher. We selected this stainless steel one as it’s made to last. It has a non-slip grip and can be sterilized without tarnishing. Additionally, it will save you money over having to buy wooden cuticle pushers in the future.
Dipwell Dipping Nail Starter Kit
This kit from Dipwell includes dipping powder for a French manicure plus all the necessary liquids like base coat, activator, and sealer.
Born Pretty Holographic Powder Nail Glitter Rainbow Pigment
Bring out your inner princess with this magical holographic glitter powder. You can apply it with the ingredients in the kit below.
Gelish Fantastic Four Kit, Essential Set for a Perfect Salon Manicure
This kit from Gelish comes with base gel, sealer gel, pH Bond nail prep, and cuticle oil.
When you do a manicure with Gelish polish, you’ll need an LED lamp to set it.
When it’s time to remove it, you can soak it off with acetone in 15 minutes.
LuxeUp UV Nail Lamp Dryer 55W Upgraded Design | LED Curing Light Nail Art Lamp
This compact nail lamp sets both UV and LED polishes. It works on all gel polishes as well as gems glue and sculpture gel.
Believe it or not, you can cram ten fingers under the light. It’s powerful enough to cure the polish in seconds.
Also, the company offers 100% satisfaction or your money back guarantee.
Cutex Ultra-Powerful Nail Polish Remover
Curex is the tried and true solution to remove nail polish. It contains acetone plus apricot seed oil to lessen damage to the nail.
This particular bottle of polish remover has a pleasant cucumber fragrance.
Karma Nail Polish Remover Wipes; Non-Toxic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free
Wrap each nail in one of these polish remover wipes instead of dipping cotton pads in acetone. They go to work dissolving polish and glue in minutes and cause as little damage as possible.
The highlighted ingredients include solvents like propylene carbonate and soybean oil methyl ester. The formula also has Vitamin E to strengthen the nail. There are no carcinogens, acetone, or petroleum ingredients.
Which nail shape will you try next?
We’d love to know – please leave us a comment below.
Remember, the nail shape you pick is just as important as the color or the nail art. Pick the shape that emphasizes your natural beauty and makes the statement for you.
1. https://www.allure.com/story/popular-nail-shapes by Dana Burke and Kristi Kellogg, published July 13, 2017, accessed June 16, 2019
2. https://www.instyle.com/news/nail-shape-guide by Alexis Bennett, published May 16, 2019, accessed June 16, 2019
3. https://www.thetrendspotter.net/best-nail-shape/ by Taylah Brewer, accessed June 16, 2019
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