How do you decide which nail shape is right for you? If your nail beds are wide, try a squoval shape. If they’re narrow, try a sharp square shape to widen and strengthen.
If you keep short nails, a rounded shape is your best bet for low-maintenance style. You can also look at the lunula (the half-moon shape on your nail bed) for nail-shaping guidance.
If it’s more curved, try oval or rounded shapes. If it’s flat, you’re better off shaping your nails square or squoval. The three most common nail shapes are square, oval, and squoval—a mix between an oval nail and a square nail. Less common nail shapes include the classic round nail shape and the stiletto, or pointed, nail shape.
Round nails: Rounded tip is not easy to chip or tear so round nails would be ideal for the ones who have weak nails and like to keep them short. The round shape is ideal for men and those who like to maintain short nails. This shape is flattering for wide nails, and gives the illusion of a thinner nail bed. File the side walls straight like a square, then round the free edge into that perfect swooping circle.
Square nails: This shape actually draws attention to the hands, it looks best on medium and long nails. This is the sturdiest nail shape, it won’t slice steel in two, but it won’t break as easily either. This nail shape works best for long fingers with a wide nail bed. To create this timeless shape, file the side walls straight and make sure they’re perpendicular to the free edge of the nail. Once you’ve got the perfect square, angle your emery board and bevel the nail.
Almond Nails: For a lady-like nail, the almond shape is the way to go. The almond nail shape elongates fingers and adds a feminine flare to shorter fingers. It makes the hands appear more delicate and fingers less chubby but it won’t allow your nails to grow too much. While it’s not favoured for the everyday look, this extreme shape can actually slenderize and lengthen the fingers. File the side walls evenly and taper until you’ve reached the desired tip.
Oval Nails: Oval nails combine all positive elements of almond, square, and rounded shape so they are both strong and good-looking. They are durable like round nails, the oval nail shape gives wide nail beds a more feminine appearance. Oval nails are best for short fingers because it replicates the shape of the finger and gives a longer appearance. This is also a strong nail choice since the majority of the nail is as wide as the nail bed, similar to square nails. To achieve the perfect oval shape, file side walls straight to make sure they’re even.
Square oval (Squoval): Combining the elegance of the oval with the strength of the square, the squoval is a popular nail shape for most fingers. First begin with a square with straight and even side walls. File the corners until your free edge is rounded and beveled. Remember, you still want strong side supports so don’t go too file-happy.
Stiletto Nails: The stiletto nail, also known as a pointed nail, it’s also the nail shape choice for those looking for a long and slender look to their hands. It is however the weakest nail shape and is often seen done on acrylic or gel nails to avoid damaging natural nails.