The Ultimate Guide To Finding Your Perfect Nail Shape

Square or almond, stiletto or ballerina, learn how to choose your perfect nail shape

How to pick nail shapes

Photo: Getty

A nail look doesn’t stop at highly-pigmented polish or intricate art design. Trying different nail shapes can easily elevate your manicure. After all, nails are the canvas that a stark matte or glimmering glitter polish sits on, so their shape deserve some extra attention. Learning the myriad nail shapes out there isn’t the where your fingertip education stops either—you also have to figure out which nail shape is right for you. So we asked celebrity manicurists Jin Soon Choi and Deborah Lippmann, as well as OPI educator and licensed lacquer and gel artist Sigourney Nuñez, to break it all down. Take note of their nail shape knowledge, then follow their advice to get your Insta-worthy manicure. Square or almond, stiletto or ballerina, one of the top nail shapes is just what your fingers asked for.

Round Nails

Definition: It mirrors the contour of the nail with a circular edge at the tip.

Bottom Line: Anyone looking to elongate fingers. “[It makes] them look more narrow and makes wide nail beds appear thinner,” says Nuñez.

Wear It With: Any shade will really do.

Oval Nails

Definition: Similar to an almond shape nail, except with a more rounded tip.

Bottom Line: “An oval shape nail is very feminine,” says Lippmann. “Perfect for experimenting with trending colors.”

Wear It With: Along with bold and unexpected shades, this shape is great for metallics and reds.

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Square Nails

Definition: Choi says that the front edge should be exactly perpendicular to the sides of the nails.

Bottom Line: If you have narrow nail beds and slim fingers, this is the perfect shape for you. “I classify it as a modern shape and it seems to have appeal among younger people,” she says.

Wear It With: “Beautiful solid dark colors lend this shape a cool trendy feel,” she says. “Geometric and negative space nail art work well this shape too.

Squoval Nails

Definition: Take a square shape nail and round out its edges and you end up with this hybrid.

Bottom Line: “This is a universally flattering nail shape that looks good on short and long fingers,” says Nuñez.

Wear It With: She suggests wearing a dark shade with this nail.

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Coffin/Ballerina Nails

Definition: Mimicking the shape of a coffin or a ballerina pointe shoe, this shape is tapered on the sides with a straight edge on the tip.

Bottom Line: “This is a favorite among people who are really into nails and fashionista’s in general,” says Choi. “This shape is both chic and strong.”

Wear It With: Choi suggests choosing a solid color with a matte finish.

Almond Nails

Definition: An elongated nail with tapered tips.

Bottom Line: “The chicest nail shape in the fashion world,” says Lippmann. “Sexy, slenderizing, and strong is how I would describe an almond nail shape.”

Wear It With: She recommends to pair this nail with a nude.

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Stiletto Nails

Definition: Long, pointy, and dramatic.

Bottom Line: “It’s good for people who have a daring fashion style,” says Choi. “People who want to sport a nail look that is outrageous and noticeable get this as a fashion accessory.”

Wear It With: This is wear you can show off gems and glitter.

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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