Shaped, done up nails are the new fashion statement among millennials and Gen Z alike. From natural, sleek shapes seen on fashion girls like Margot Robbie, to wild, sometimes ridiculously quirky shapes sported by Cardi B we are seeing it all. The trend quickly caught on and is making everyone line up at nail bars to get their manicure fix. But what makes getting your nails done so exciting? We think it is the sheer variety that is available with shapes, colours, nail art, embellishments and sometimes even drilled-in jewellery. And while we can go on all day about all the trendy new ways to do your nails, this list is about one basic aspect of it - nail shapes!


Different nail shapes

Different nail shapes

As seen above, nail shapes can be broadly sorted into these nine shapes. While you can always upgrade on an existing idea, these broad categories will help you start a conversation with your manicurist. And, if you like to do your own nails, it will help you distinguish between styles and explain how to choose the right shape for your nails. So let's get started with the simpler ones...


1. Round nails

Round nails

Image courtesy: @gelpolish_bar

Nail biters, rejoice! Round shapes are perfect for short nails, are mostly low-maintenance and look minimal, yet chic. Round nails will appeal to you if you think your fingers look too 'short' or 'chubby'. This is because they can elongate your nail bed and make it look wider and more slender. Round shapes are also the go-to style for someone who is starting fresh and wants to grow out healthy and strong, natural nails.


2. Square nails

Square nails

Image courtesy: @1emski

Just a step above round nails are the square-shaped ones. This shape is defined by a top that has been filed flat and straight edges on the sides. They are not as popular as the other entries in this list, as your fingers run the risk of looking stumpy with the shape. But, if you have naturally short nails and narrow nail beds, this shape will work for you. The sturdy shape also makes your manicure last much longer as they are unlikely to break or chip when styled this way.


3. Rounded square nails

Rounded square nails

Image courtesy: @laurens.beautybox

If you find square-shaped nails to be too intense or 'serious', its rounded off version may appeal to you. After filing a square shape, your manicurist will round off the edges for a softer finish - making it look more appealing. Rounded square nails are also a great way to wear neutral, nude and short manicures.


4. Oval nails

Oval nails

Image courtesy: @nagelstudiorednails

Kylie Jenner's go-to Insta-worthy manicure, oval nails look great on longer lengths. They are also a slimmer and more feminine shape when compared to round and square shapes. Distinctive in their look, because the tip is soft and blunt, they can make your hands look longer. Oval shapes look flattering on wide nail beds and are the popular choice to display nail art on.


5. Squoval nails

Squoval nails

Image courtesy: @nailstrendymagazine

As the name suggests, squoval nails are a combination of square and oval nail shapes. It combines the stylish length of oval nails with the contoured edges of square shapes but makes it softer in appearance. Also known as the soft square, this shape is also easy to maintain and is universally flattering on everyone.


6. Ballerina (Coffin) nails

Ballerina nails

Image courtesy: @dk_jo

The ballerina shape can be done with both naturally long, sturdy nails and faux, acrylic ones. Also known as coffin nails, the shape is similar to stiletto nails, but with a much approachable, squared-off tip. The name comes from ballerina slippers or the slightly more gothic inspiration of being shaped like a coffin. If you like maintaining long nails and are looking for an eye-catching shape, this is the one to pick.


7. Almond nails

Almond nails

Image courtesy: @nailbyhaylie

A cuter, shorter version of oval nails, almond-shaped nails are narrower and end in a rounded point. Similar to oval nails, almond-shaped tips also give your hands an elongated and slender look. To get this shape, you have to file slender sides, have a naturally wide base and bring the tip to a peak - almost like an actual almond. The shape can be worn for medium to long nails and is slimming in its overall look. As adorable as the shape is, it can make your natural nails weak, so take care. Reinforce your nails with a gel polish or acrylics for added strength.


8. Stiletto nails

Stiletto nails

Image courtesy: @kasianails2020

We are officially in the OTT section of the list because stiletto nails are one of the most dramatic manicures you can get. Imagine elongating almond shapes into a pointier, more drastic tip, and you have the stilettos shape. Natural nails will never be able to maintain such a shape, which is why this is a good option if you are looking to get enhancements or stick-on acrylics. And, we hope you are not too big on texting because even auto-correct won’t be able to help you while typing with these nails!

FYI - Much like a stiletto heel, this statement shape is super-long and ends in a sharp point. While they are undeniably fierce, they are more vulnerable than some other, sturdier nail shapes on this list. If handled in a sloppy way, they can lead to breakage, and end up damaging your natural nails.


9. Lipstick nails

Lipstick nails

Image courtesy: @daniedoesnails

With a very niche and dedicated fan base, the popularity of the lipstick nail shape is proof that even the quirkiest shapes can find an audience among nail enthusiasts. Incredibly difficult to maintain and achieve, lipstick shapes can be good as stick-on acrylics for a special event. Because let's face it, you are not going to get anything done with your hands wearing that nail shape!


FAQs about nail shape

FAQs about nail shape

1. What nail shape is best for my hands?

A. The best way to pick the right shape for your nails is to look at the cuticles! For instance, if you have an oval cuticle shape, match it with an oval nail shape. While you can rock almost all of the nail shapes in this list, short and squared filings can be the trickiest to wear, as they can make your hands look thick and stubby!

2. Which nail shape makes your fingers look thinner?

A. If you wish to make your fingers appear leaner, there are some shapes that can do that for you. Long, tapered shapes, like almond or stiletto are pointed at the tip. They add drama and give your nails the illusion of being longer, slimming their look in the process.

3. Are some nail shapes stronger than others?

A. Yes, there are some nail shapes that tend to last longer than the rest. Tips that are cut as short as possible, and filed with a round edge make for healthier, stronger nails.

4. How can I strengthen my nails so that they are able to hold tricky shapes?

A. For healthier nails, build a good nail care kit that contains a nourishing cuticle oil, a buffer and soothing hand cream. Moisturised and well taken care of nails tend to grow and stay strong from the base, making them more capable of holding OTT shapes.

5. What shapes can I wear if I have super short, barely-there nails?

A. Just because you have really short nails, doesn’t mean you can’t shape them to look more stylish. Speak with your nail technician and ask them to round off the edges, or file them in a square shape, to give your nails a cleaner look.

Main image courtesy: @nailsbymei, @badgalriri