Beauty & Fashion

An Expert Guide to the 10 Most Popular Nail Shapes

For the indecisive, having many different nail shapes can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand (forgive the pun), it can be an easy way to elongate your fingers or elevate whatever intricate nail art you want to wear. But how does one possibly make a final decision on a shape without living in regret? For that, you need all the facts laid out in front of you. Consider this the ultimate guide to every nail shape.

The list isn’t as overwhelming as one might think. Celebrity nail artist Holly Falcone says the most common shapes include the classics: round, square, oval, and almond. After those, you’ll find some sort of variation that mixes two classic shapes into one, such as the squoval, or longer nails that lend themselves to intricate designs like the stiletto or ballerina. A few new designs are also emerging and gracing our social feeds with their abstract shapes and cuts. But regardless of what nail shape you settle on, the good news is you can pretty much wear whatever art or color you please.

“I don’t really let the shape determine the design as I feel it’s more of a personal preference,” says Tom Bachik, celebrity nail artist and Tweezerman Pro Artist. “Whatever the design though, I do like to create looks that help to make the nail appear longer and more narrow to add a bit of elegance and softness to the hands.”

And to file your own nails into your desired shape, you’ll need a couple of tools. Falcone says to look for a nail file with 180 grit to shape the nail. To smooth the edges, she recommends something that has at least 220 grit, like our personal pick: the Deborah Lippmann Eco File Nail Set. Bachik likes his Tweezerman x Tom Bachik Ultimate Nail Care Set, which comes with a dual-sided file, buffer, and a fingernail clipper for when you need to trim.

Expressing your creativity on your nails can go beyond the intricate art or bold shade you decide to paint on. As it turns out, your nail shape can be that small tweak to elevate your mani to the next level. Below, Falcone and Bachik break down the 10 most common ones to help guide you. Be sure to bookmark this for your next nail appointment.


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