How to Find Your Perfect Nail Shape

Squoval, rounded, stiletto, oh my! Which nail shape do you see in your future?
Publish date:
nail shapes

Photo: ELLE

Spring has arrived, and the start of a new season is the perfect time for a change. But have you ever thought about changing your nail shape?

There are many different nail shapes out there. It can be hard to keep track of them all, but in this post, we'll discuss four of the most popular ones.

Read on for tips on how to change your nail shape, as well as the pros and cons of each style.

Squoval Nails

squoval nails

Photo: ELLE

This shape (BTW: Squoval is nail code for a rounded square shape!) is perfect for anyone who doesn't work a lot with their hands and loves trying new nail designs and trends. This is the ideal shape for most nail designs, plus squoval nails are not overly prone to breaking.

 Pros: They're super-practical and neutral, plus they flatter every finger shape.

Cons:  This nail shape is so versatile - there really are no cons!

How to Achieve the Look:

File your nails into a rounded shape by doing a curved, rounded motion with your nail file. Once your nails are round, file down the top going in one direction. (Filing back and forth is not healthy for your nails.)

Finally, file the corners in a curved motion to once again round out and soften the shape until you are satisfied.

Short, Rounded Nails

rounded nails

Photo: ELLE

This nail shape is extremely low maintenance, but still looks chic and polished. Short, rounded nails are perfect if you play sports (no more constantly breaking nails!) or work a lot with your hands. 

Pros: These nails are nearly unbreakable and require little or no maintenance. They're great for people who work with their hands often, and are a perfect complement for those with long fingers.

Cons: Short nails are difficult to paint designs on, but there are many designs out there that work for shorter nails.

How to Achieve the Look:

With a pair of nail clippers, clip down your nails until they are at or below your fingertip. If necessary or desired, file them using a curved motion in order to smooth out the edges. Voilà! Simple and easy.

Stiletto Nails

Stiletto nails are perfect for fierce fashionistas who love crazy trends! These nails are not for the faint of heart (or anyone who works with children... or near eyeballs). Also, if you wear contact lenses these might be pretty dangerous.

Pros: This nail shape certainly make a statement. In fact, they automatically act as an accessory and as a cool accent for any outfit. This look is also often spotted on celebs like Rihanna or Kylie Jenner, so this nail shape is a must-try for trendsetters.

Cons: These will most likely make daily activities very difficult. It will probably take some time to get used to them. Also, stiletto nails are very high maintenance and prone to breakage.

How to Achieve the Look:

Since they are so long, these nails will likely require acrylic or gel nail extensions. To have these done properly, go to a nail salon and ask for a stiletto or almond shape.

If you do have naturally long nails and want to try out this look, simply file in one direction on both sides of your nail, as well as a little bit around the top to achieve the pointed triangular look.

Square Nails

Square nails are attention-grabbing, but not too wild. If you like classic and simple designs, like a solid color or French mani, this is the ideal shape for you.

Pros: These nails are very sturdy and hard to break. Square nails make a subtle statement and work well with many designs. This is the perfect shape for French tip manicures.

Cons: These do require a bit of maintenance, since nails tend to naturally grow in a curved way. They can make your fingers appear shorter.

How to Achieve the Look:

File your nail in one direction across the top (do not file in a back and forth motion - it damages the nail!) until it is squared. Next, file each side in the same way until you have bold, square nails.

What do you think?

Which nail shape do you want to try out? Or do you plan on keeping your current shape? What is your favorite nail shape? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Related Stories