Five nail shapes for your next manicure

Monday, 22 July 2013

When it comes to shaping your nails, there is no ideal shape. The shape of your nail will largely depend on personal preference, however, certain nail shapes are stronger than others and allow for the nail to grow without breaking. We’ve put together a list of the most common nail shapes and what defines them:

Nail shapes

The round nail shape is the most conservative shape and it is also the strongest. This shape is ideal for short nails as well as nails that are weak and prone to breaking. The round nail shape is ideal for men and is best suited to a wide nail bed as it creates the illusion of a thinner nail.
Get the look: File your nails short and shape them to follow the curve of your fingertip.

The oval nail shape is suitable for both wide and narrow nail beds as it adds length to the appearance of the finger. It is not a very strong nail shape, so it is best suited to nails that are thick and wide.
Get the look: Grow your nail to a medium length and file the tip into a very subtle point or egg shape.

The square nail shape is the classic French manicure shape. This shape is best suited to long nails and a wide nail bed as a short square nail will make the finger appear shorter.
Get the look: Once your nails have grown to the desired length, hold a nail file at a 90° angle to your finger and file the nail straight across to create an angular square shape.


The squoval nail shape combines the strength of the square nail with the elegance of the oval nail. This shape is very popular as it is suits most fingers and nail bed shapes.
Get the look: Create a square nail shape and then file the corners down ever so slightly to create a soft curve without removing the square tip.

The almond nail shape is a classic shape and is currently popular amongst celebrities as it is an ideal shape for nail art. The shape of the nail creates the illusion of slim fingers. Due to this shape, it is not strong and is best suited to thick nails that are not prone to breaking.
Get the look: Grow your nails to a medium length and file the sides of your nail into a tapered soft point.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Nail files explained
Nail your personality
Spring nails 2012
Rescue my nails


Written by

Emily studied make-up and loves all things beauty related. When she is not reading up on the latest make-up trends, she can be found baking cupcakes, scouring Pinterest for beautiful images and dreaming of her next European adventure.
Emily on Google+

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  1. Robbiemoss

    I like the sqoval. Its very nice.

    3 years ago •

  1. Cupcake

    I have round, but wouldnt mind trying the square shape, it looks nice.

    5 years ago •

  1. Alice

    I love the square shape, but I’m not into the almond/ stiletto shape…

    5 years ago •

  1. Tiaan Smith

    I like the round look on a lady.

    5 years ago •

  1. Glamista

    SQUOVAL… I need to try this one out!

    5 years ago •

  1. Rox Starr

    My nails naturally grow in a squoval shape and then later start to look more oval. I tend to just maintain them but the natural shape suits my hands. I love the slightly more square shape but my nails keep breaking at the tip and getting snagged when I shape them like that.

    5 years ago •

  1. Nxumalo

    I like squoval and oval. But theres a new shape that most people are liking lately, its called the stilleto. It looks like the almond shape but more defined.

    5 years ago •

  1. Nadine

    I love squoval. I like round and square, but I’m not a fan of oval and almond.

    5 years ago •

  1. Adele

    Love the round, very interesting article.

    5 years ago •

  1. Khalisi

    I’m never sure of what shape my nails will take but I love the squoval!

    5 years ago •

  1. Carlene

    Definitely squoval for me (love that description)!

    5 years ago •

  1. Gorgeous

    Squoval, thats me. I love the oval nail shape but mine is the best of both worlds.

    5 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    My favourite is the round shape. It’s fuss-free and easy on the eyes. I find that the square, oval and almond look either aggressive or unnatural.

    5 years ago •

  1. me

    Squoval, only recently learned the name for how I keep my nails.

    5 years ago •

  1. Humphreys

    Oval and round are my favourites.

    5 years ago •

  1. ABeauty

    I also like the squoval and round shapes.

    5 years ago •

  1. Cornelli

    I love the round and squoval shapes!

    5 years ago •

  1. Arthz

    I prefer Round. I have always had it and I think it would look strange if I changed.

    5 years ago •

  1. lainey

    I like the oval and squoval :) I think I’ll try it out.

    5 years ago •

  1. NaturalDiva

    Out of all the shapes, I prefer squoval. The square is nice too but the edges can get caught on fabric.

    5 years ago •

  1. CindyR

    I will give the Squoval shape a try when I next get my nails done.

    5 years ago •

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