The Ultimate Guide to Different Nail Shapes
It’s not an easy decision trying a new nail shape is it? You’ve been wearing your chosen shape for a long time and it’s as much a part of your look as the shape of your hands themselves. That’s why we often stay in our comfort zone, creating/requesting the same nail shape over and over again. If you’re reading this however, maybe you’ve decided to live on the edge and go for a new shape and look.
Did you know some nail shapes are designed to elongate the nails or others to help with wider nail-beds? Experimenting is the only way you’ll see what feels and appears fantastic for your unique fingers. With that said, we have put together a list of 17 nail shapes, for you to consider in the quest for your new look!
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Basic Style Nails
If you like the classics, these nails will suit your style perfectly. They’re also great if you work somewhere that doesn’t appreciate longer nails. Or, if you use your hands often! But just because they’re classic shapes, doesn’t mean the artwork and design need to be.
The squoval: this word is a mash-up between square and oval, and makes for an elegant nail shape. It can be seen everywhere these days, and its popularity comes from the shape, which is a softer square. You can file your nails with this shape to be short, or long, and create whatever vibe you’d like.
Unlike other shapes, the squoval helps to keep your nails strong, as they have no sharp edges. And the best part is they never go out of fashion! They are especially flattering for those who have wider nail beds.
The rounded nail is the classic shape, dating back to the 1940’s, that most of us learn to guide our nails into when we pick up a nail file for the very first time. And is in the first image on this post! It’s easy to achieve and looks great when eye-catching designs are applied, as the shape itself doesn’t compete with the nail art itself.
To achieve this shape, all you are required to do is follow the shape of your own nail in a nice smooth curve. This can be shorter or longer depending on your preference. It looks especially flattering on those with a wider nail bed and the good news is, the rounded nail is very strong as it has no sharp edges that could potentially break off.
The square is another one of those classics that is very easy to achieve. This look is just a touch more unusual, and quite obvious you intentionally shaped your nails this way. Making it a go-to for anyone who wants you to know that they take care of their nails.
It can be very eye-catching, whilst keeping your day-to-day nail upkeep pretty minimal. However, this shape does have edges, and your polish can easily chip if you are not careful. Square fingernails are usually medium to long.
These nails are like their name suggests, oval. If you have short nail beds, this look will help disguise and elongate the nail. This also is a fantastic choice for those with smaller fingers or nail beds. However, to achieve this look, your nail must grow beyond the tips of your fingers.
It’s also a daintier classic look that was often worn by Audry Hepburn. Plus, it can be seen in a longer style all throughout Breakfast at Tiffany's, her iconic movie.
Sometimes you just want to show off a little, or enjoy some killer long nails. That’s why so many of these longer nail shapes are currently in fashion. If you’re ready to show off your nail art, try out these shapes below.
There are a couple variations to the almond nail shape, but they look really cute with a long nail. Just a basic color on top is enough to draw the eye, but nail-art is always better.
Unfortunately, the almond-shaped nail isn’t as strong as some others, so if you have an issue with nails breaking, this probably isn’t the look for you. But if you have strong nails or press-ons, this is a great way to showcase some beautiful designs, or bold colors.
And did you know? Almond nails were popular in the 50s and 60s as they have a distinctive dainty style that makes your fingers look long and delicate. They could be seen worn by Marilyn Monroe and now they’re making a comeback!
This is the first unusual shape on the list. Its namesake is rather obvious, as these nails have a pointed end that looks exactly like the heel of a stiletto. These nails originated in the 20’s and have snuck their way back into the world of fashion. Celebrities such as Cardi B. wear this technique so often, she had to switch to shorter nails to heal her naturals. She likes to use this dramatic look to stand out, and so could you.
This sort of nail shape is one you want to apply your jewels or fashionable colors to. Like Gucci’s new Vernis À Ongles Nail Polish in Miriam Mint. Which would go amazing with, Smitten Tips gel Nebula Nails, for an alternating unique style.
Ballerina Nails / Coffin
These nails are also called coffin shaped nails, however, ballerina has a nicer sound to it. They’re almost identical to the stiletto nail, except for one thing: The end of the nail is squared off, much like the end of a ballerina’s shoe.
This unique style will get noticed everywhere you go. Which is why this shape is especially common in high fashion and in the world of nail-art. And, it’s a pretty sturdy shape to wear too, making your nail art last longer. Heidi Klum is often seen wearing this shape.
These nails allow you to cut down on length, whilst still keeping the pointy appearance of the stiletto nail. Their beautiful pointed effect will be easier to manage in your day to day. These are the classic nails everyone associates with Lady GaGa and have her same wild, artistic flare to play with.
These nails stand out, without detracting from other statement pieces in your closet. And as they can be shaped to a medium length, and feature rounded edges, they’re also a durable nail—
making nail-art with this shape popular.
This nail is the sharpest one of them all because it comes straight into a point at the end of your finger. A fairly simple shape with a dramatic feel, if you’ve ever wanted to experience the power of claws, now is your chance. These nails are rather popular this year, and have popped up all over social media. Their daring, bold style showcases art amazingly, whilst offering a fun shape to experiment with.
If you really want to have some fun with your nails and show off a unique nail-art, these nails will do the trick. They are for the fearless nail artist, who wants to push their artistic skills to the limit, or maybe try a fun shape for a while.
This nail type isn’t one you see every day. It’s a highly intentional show stopper that looks just like the end of a tube of lipstick. It first became popular with celebrities in 2019, ramped up in 2020 and it’s not going anywhere fast. And that’s all thanks to an incredible nail artist, Park Eunkyung, who creates beautifully bizarre designs on nails.
But to achieve this look, you’re probably going to have to use fake nails or acrylics, as it looks best on long, sturdy nails.
When using Smitten gel strips, there is no need for the hassle of acrylics, which can be very damaging to your nails. Check out our quick start sets, to find out more.
Want to get really strange and fun? This nail is just like the lipstick nail, except for a swirl at the top of the nail, which creates a 3D effect. It’s perfect for a simple color, or design, as the shape speaks for itself.
Thanks to TikTok, this nail trend has come back into fashion, under a different name. Duck Nails. The flared feature at the end of the nail is obviously intentional and creates a wider surface area to depict some really bold nail art. The art mostly seen are charms, clashing colors, and embellishments galore.
The last time these nails were popular was back in 2012 when reality T.V. star Snooky wore them. But they first made an appearance in the early 2000s.
Want something that is really going to wow people? These nails from the front look like your average pointed nail. But when they are turned to the side, you can see why these are called arrowhead nails, with their wide wings fanning down either side of the nail.
This nail is so dramatic it’s definitely not for your everyday use, and can’t be recreated with your natural nail. For this you’ll have to go ahead and buy some long, large press-ons and get to filing. But when done, this unusual shape will have heads turning.
These nails are the trending look of 2021 and can appear really trippy, with their amazing 3D texture. First, the nail is shaped into a pointed tip, and then the ends filed down from above into tapered edges. When crafted with acrylics, it creates an edge down the center of the nail; the edge creating a 3D appearance to the nail.
However, although you can go ahead and buy edge nail kits online, this isn’t the wisest choice. Creating this shape on your own nails should be done by a professional, as they will use acrylics or gel to strengthen beforehand. Therefore, at home, it’s best to create the edges on press-ons.
This is the most complicated design on the list if you’re going to create it from scratch. But it has become very popular recently due to the unusual, exciting art that can be created. For this style, if you create each part, you will have to know a bit about acrylics—as this involves layering them.
Because the acrylic is layered on top of another, you can “cut out” parts of the top layer to reveal the underneath. Once done, one color can appear underneath, and the look of layers adds an interesting dimension. However, if you wanted to do this the easy way, you could just purchase press-ons with see through designs. From there you can give your natural nail a unique look, then apply the press-on, on top.
Whatever nail style you pick for your nails, Smitten Tips artwork will be a great addition to your look. Our glamorous art, and finesse, will look great with any shape on this list.
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