Beautiful nails may seem like a small detail, but they really can change your whole appearance! While colors and patterns obviously make an impact, one important thing that people often overlook is nail shape. There are so many different ways that nails can be filed to make different shapes, and each nail shape gives a very different look. It’s important to choose a shape that works for your personal sense of style, but also suits the quality of your nails, and fits your lifestyle.
Almond Nail Shape
Almond shape nails are somewhere in the middle between very pointed nails and more rounded nails. They taper to a point, but then curve off into a smooth, rounded shape. They work on both short and long fingers, but are especially good for people with narrower nail beds, where there might not be enough space for more rounded shapes like an oval. It’s a particularly great style if you want to create the illusion of slimmer, more elegant fingers, because it visually elongates each finger. Filing away the sides can drastically weaken your nails, however, so this is a style best reserved for artificial nails, or super-strong natural nails. Bear in mind that it will probably weaken natural nails, and stop them from growing very long. But at least they’ll look pretty!
To achieve this shape, mark a spot in the middle of your nail, and begin to file the sides away towards this spot. Make sure to leave a flat tip in the center, which you can then round out once the sides are finished.
Mountain Peak Nail Shape
Even more sharply pointed than almond shape nails, mountain peak nails are an unusual and daring nail shape! They can only really be achieved on artificial nails, because natural nails are just not strong enough to support the strain of having their sides removed. They are sometimes known as stiletto nails because they are so sharp and pointed that they almost look like mini knives! This is definitely not the most practical style for everyday life, but it certainly is striking – there’s a reason Lady Gaga wears her nails like this so often! It’s also a favorite with many other celebrities, because it makes a definite style statement, as well as helping to make fingers look long and slender.
As with almond nails, the easiest way to achieve this style is to mark a central point, and then file towards it. Go slowly, and adjust the shape as you go along. It should just be repeated that this style is very unlikely to work on natural nails, so you should only try it on acrylic or gel nails!
Square Nail Shape
Unlike the two nail shapes above, the square nail shape is an excellent style for natural nails. As the name suggests, a square nail shape involves squaring off the top of the nail into a single line, rather than the two sloping lines of a mountain peak style. This is particularly good for longer fingers, where it looks very neat and elegant. On shorter fingers, other styles may be better, as a square shape does not make the fingers look any longer. If you like a very classic nail style, a square shape is perfect, and it looks particularly good with a French manicure. It is best on medium to long nails, as it can be achieved on short nails but tends to look a little too blunt.
Filing your nails into this shape is very easy – just trim them to the right length, and then file straight across! You may need to round off the corners just a little, and file along the edges to prevent any snags or tears.
Rounded Nail Shape
Rounded nails are one of the most popular nail shapes, probably because they are quite close to the natural shape of most nails. They also work on any nail length, and can actually look lovely even on very short nails. This is one of the most practical nail shapes, and shouldn’t interfere too much with your day-to-day life, so anyone can have nice nails! This is a great shape for trying out bold or even neon colors, as the shape itself is very simple and not too overpowering. It also makes a great base for more classic styles, like a French manicure.
To achieve this shape, start off with a square nail, then continue to round off the corners until you reach a lovely smooth curve. Hopefully this will then grow out quite well, making maintenance pretty easy! For the most flattering shape, follow the natural curve of the whites of your nails.
Oval Nail Shape
This nail shape has a similar curved tip to the rounded nail shape, but it is much more elongated, with the sides tapering inwards a little more. It is quite a traditional nail shape, and is great for making fingers look long and elegant. It can often even actually make your nails themselves look longer! Like other long nail styles, this requires quite a bit of nail strength because taking so much off the sides of the nails can weaken them considerably. You also require fairly long nails to be able to reach this shape rather than round nails.
This is a simple shape to achieve- just begin filing at the edge of the nails, and gradually develop the shape. You will want to file quite slowly, just to make sure that you do not accidentally take too much off the nail and ruin the shape.
Squoval Nail Shape
‘Squoval’ is just another way of saying square-oval, and as the name suggests, this nail shape is a cross between square and oval nail shapes. It is great for elongating the nails, and basically combines many of the best qualities of the square nail shape and the oval nail shape. It is one of the most popular nail shapes, because it allows the nail to keep much of its strength, but is more rounded and feminine than the square shape, allowing it to work better on shorter fingers. It’s great if you are trying to grow your nails out, because this style is much less likely to break than an oval! They are also less high-maintenance than square shapes, because there are no sharp corners to get damaged.
To create this shape, you should start with a nice long square shape. You should then begin to gradually file away the corners of the nail, moving back to a straight line as you file towards the middle of the nail. Alternatively, begin with an oval shape and gradually flatten off the top of the nail.