Your Guide To The Most Popular Nail Shapes In 2024

Posted on May 5, 2023

Your Guide To The Most Popular Nail Shapes

With so many nail trends being shared on social media and different nail shapes entering the spotlight constantly, how do you decide which one to request at your next nail appointment?

What You Will Learn

We’ll go over the different nail shapes available and show you some examples of common nail shapes, along with some tips to help you decide which nail length and shapes works for you.

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  1. How To Choose the Best Nail Shape For You
  2. Various Nail Shapes You Can Choose From
  3. Conclusion

How To Choose the Best Nail Shape For You?

 

Gone are the days of limited nail shape choices- clients are no longer limited to just round shaped nails or square nails. Instagram content now showcases a range of options, including edge nails, lipstick nails, almond nails and even coffin shaped nails.

With all of these options, it can be hard to choose the best nail shapes that work for you. While there are strict rules regarding which types of nail shapes to choose (and you should always select what makes you happy), here are some guidelines to help.

Natural Nails

If you’re sticking with natural nail shapes, then your nail technician probably won’t recommend a coffin, flare or stiletto shape.

That’s because these shapes work best with acrylic nails or require the nail beds to be filled in for extra support. Consider a rounded shape or almond shaped nails instead for extra length.

Do not miss our post on The Most Popular Types of Manicures For You.

Lifestyle Factors

If you work with your hands or are looking for something low-maintenance, then certain nail shapes work best for this.

Rounded shaped nails, or a square or squoval shape are some of the most common nail shapes for this reason. It’s close to a natural shape, and shorter square or round nails don’t get in the way of hands-on tasks. Plus, they’re always stylish and tend to last a long time.

Nail Length

Right angles or dramatic points like the stiletto nails instagram content you recently saw might look great on a screen, but they do break more easily than rounded edges.

If you’re trying out long nails for the first time, you may want to stick with round nails, oval nails, squoval shaped nails or almond nails. In fact, even short almond shaped nails or a round nail shape can create the appearance of length.

That said, some variants on square nails, like ballerina nails (also called “coffin nails”), flare nails and lipstick nails all require more length to achieve their nail shape. And if you’ve ever seen stiletto nails, you know that they’re gorgeously long.

Popular short nail shapes include round, oval and a square nail shape with soft edges. If you’re set on square nails but don’t want a lot of length, ask your manicurist about squoval nails- this square shape can be tapered as much or as little as you want.

Finger Length

So, which nail shape works best with long or short fingers?

Round nails or oval nails add length and give a graceful shape to shorter fingers, and even almond shapes have this effect. Avoid blunt or sharp edges if you want to elongate fingers.

On the other hand, square shaped nails or a squoval nail shape can flatter longer fingers. In general, longer fingers are more suited to the more dramatic shapes like stiletto nails, flared nails and ballerina nails.

If you’re looking for the best nail shape for fat fingers, go with almond, round or oval nails (or coffin nails if you’re feeling adventurous). These will add length and offset thickness.

various nail shapes
Various Nail Shapes

Nail Beds

Ideally, the different shapes of nails should mirror or compliment a client’s nail beds. If your nail bed and cuticle is rounded or narrow, go for a round or oval shape. Longer nail beds can support an almond shape or soft square.

Nail Design

Maybe you’ve been browsing coffin nails instagram content or are in love with the idea of bright nail polish, nail art and a stiletto nail with a sharp point. Or maybe you just want a classic french tip on your next visit to the nail salon.

Nail art and nail color also affect which nails shape you might choose. If you want to go with blocks of bold color or funky nail art, then a round or oval nail shape is a great way to showcase this, whereas tapered edges or a squared off tip are good nail shapes for subtler designs.

Of course, you can also go all-out and get stiletto, lipstick or coffin shape nails in bright, bold designs. The important thing is to think about how your nail polish and art choice will look when paired with different nails shapes.

Various Nail Shapes You Can Choose From

 

Because there are so many nail lengths and nail shapes- short, long, tapered and pointed available to choose from, you might not know where to start. Here’s a guide on how to shape nails and the different shapes you’re most likely to see.

Round Nails

Round Nails
Round Nails

These are exactly what they sound like- a classic round shape that follows a fingertip’s natural curves. This rounded tip works well on people with short nail beds, since it adds the appearance of length. It’s also easy to upkeep and a very practical choice.

Consider dressing it up with bold nail polish or art- there’s a ton of round nails instagram content out there showing off fun color trends.

Square Nails

Square nails
Square Nails

These are nails that are flat on top, with sharp corners. You can either wear them as long square nails or as short nails, and they are a good choice to offset narrow nail beds.

Like any sharp point, square edges are more prone to breakage than round or oval shapes, so stick with short nails if you’re not accustomed to length yet.

Oval Nails

Oval Nails
Oval Nails

Oval shaped nails are a classic choice that give the illusion of more length than round ones, since the edges are filed to a more pronounced curve. Oval nails instagram content is full of gorgeous art, and for good reason- this is a slightly bigger canvas, and the simple shape lets the art stand out.

Squoval Nails

Squoval nails
Squoval Nails

A combination of square and oval nails, this shape really flatters a wider, longer nail bed. That said, anyone can pull it off and it’s a very flattering, feminine, yet practical choice for people who work with their hands or want something low-maintenance.

Almond Nails

Almond nails
Almond Nails

Almond shape nails take things a step further than an oval shape, filing edges to a more dramatic tip that resembles an almond. These are usually acrylic nail shapes, since they require some additional support on the edge.

Popular almond shape nail designs are often simple or two-toned, drawing attention to the length and elegant shape. Of course, almond nails instagram content gets creative with this, adding swirls of color or bold designs.

Coffin Nails

Coffin nails
Coffin Nails

A coffin nail shape is a nail straight out of the early 2000’s, and it’s making a comeback. These are often long nails with a slightly tapered front and a square tip. Among the more popular acrylic nail shapes at the moment, coffin nail shapes can be challenging to wear and maintain.

Ballerina Nails

Ballerina nails
Ballerina Nails

The ballerina nail shape is almost the same as the coffin, but the edges are slightly rounded instead of squared off. Ballerina shaped nails thus have a softer appearance but are no less dramatic.

Lipstick Nails

Lipstick nails
Lipstick Nails

If you search for lipstick nails instagram content, you’ll see that this trend has blown up recently with fun colors and bold art. Their nontraditional shape (pointed on one end like a tube of lipstick) lends itself to playful, trendy aesthetics.

Stiletto Nails

Stiletto nails
Stiletto Nails

These acrylic nails shapes boast a pointed tip that needs a lot of support to achieve that dramatic look. Like an almond nail but sharper, these are both dramatic and unforgettable. They’re also very bold and require regular upkeep.

Flare Nails

Flare nails
Flare Nails

Unlike other nail shapes, acrylic flared nails (and they need to be acrylic to achieve this look) flare out beyond the nail beds for a wider look. If these sound right for you, then go for bright colors or flashy art, because this shape of nails will definitely draw attention.

Arrowhead Nails

Arrowhead nails
Arrowhead Nails

Another style of pointed nails, arrowhead combines the best of the stiletto and almond nail shape. It can be a lot shorter than a stiletto, while still allowing you to enjoy a dramatic point- great if you want to try out a new look.

Edge Nails

edge nails
Edge Nails

A challenge worthy of a celebrity manicurist, edge nails build up the center of the nail, then file it into a sharp, angled tip that resembles an actual arrowhead. These nails are dramatic and gorgeous, but they require regular filling to stay looking great.

Do not miss our article How Much to Tip Nail Salon.

Conclusion

 

Whether you’re scrolling through squoval nails instagram content, browsing coffin shape nail designs, or just looking to update your look with a classic round manicure, picking out your next nail upgrade can be a lot of fun.

When it comes to choosing nail shapes, one of the best things to remember is that any changes don’t need to be permanent. You can update and undo any manicure relatively quickly, so why not experiment?

Citations

Nail anatomy
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article

Finger nail plate shape and size for personal identification–a possible low technology method for the developing world-Preliminary report
https://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajhs/article

Physics of nail conditions: why do ingrown nails always happen in the big toes?
https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088