When it comes to nails, most women would love to have long stunning nails but hardly do they take the shape of their nails into account. Honestly, selecting a nail shape, we admit, is not high on the list of life's highest priorities, but it shouldn’t be completely ruled out.
After all, your nail shape can determine the vibe of your entire manicure. All shapes are striking and unique, so it's not necessarily about which form you choose—it's about how you wear them correctly. Below, nail experts uncover how to file down seven of the most common nail shapes.
A classic shape, round nails are, well, round at the tips with no sharp angles on the sides—it's a great shorter-length style. To file your nails round, nail technicians suggest starting at the side of the nail and filing toward the centre, in the same direction. When you notice one side getting rounder, move to the other side of the nail. The result should yield a perfect half-circle on your fingertip.
These have defined, sharp corners and a geometric, modern feel. If you want a square shape, start filing from the middle. Don't touch those corners—let those edges remain angled and sharp. With square nails, it can be tempting to file the sides vertically to sharpen the shape, but don’t because you never want to dig into those cuticles.
This traditional shape elongates the fingers and is oh-so-natural-looking. If you'd like to achieve an oval shape, file your nail at a diagonal in an egg-like shape, really going in on the sides. You'll likely need some length to create an oval shape, ideally reaching just beyond the fingertip; otherwise, it'll turn into more of a squoval.
A mixture of square and oval shape (get it?), "squoval" nails have a flat, squared-off tip with rounded corners. A popular choice, it's great for elongating the fingers without putting in too much work. Start by filing the top of your nails straight across. Then go in on the sides to round the corners of your nails.
Now, we've reached the shapes that aren't so easy to achieve on a natural nail. A stiletto isn't impossible to file down yourself—your nails just have to be quite long already. That's because they're filed down to a sharp needlepoint, like the slim heel. They can easily collapse without any acrylic or gel to sculpt the shape and support the structure. It's not impossible but will it maintain? Possibly not. If you are going to attempt a stiletto on your natural nail, experts recommend you start by trimming the edges of the nail with a nail clipper at a diagonal. Then file the sides to sharpen the tip of the nail, making sure to alternate between sides to make sure they're even.
Coffin-shaped nails which is also called a "ballerina" nail, is super long and narrowing, squaring off at the tip. Unfortunately, you can't create this bold shape by filing down a natural nail: A natural nail will not hold up, and it most likely won't have the length to support the coffin. So, unless you're opting for a faux-nail procedure, like acrylics or gels, you'll have to skip this one.
HOW TO KNOW WHICH SHAPE IS BEST FOR YOU
It's simple: One of my rules of thumb is to always mirror-image the cuticles. Meaning, if your cuticles have a square outline, the strongest nail shape for you is likely a square. The same goes for round, oval, and so on. Perhaps this goes without saying, but most people's cuticles don't form a stiletto, coffin, or almond shape. While those shapes are bold and eye-catching, if you're looking for a natural, elongated look you might want to stick to a round, square, oval, or squoval.