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Different Nail Shapes To Try Right Now

Patricia Shannon

If you’ve ever been asked by your manicurist what nail shape you prefer, you might realize what a loaded question that is. To get all the details on how to choose the right nail shape for your hand, as well as a few helpful tips regarding some of the most classic shapes, we tapped none other than Jin Soon Choi, renowned nail artist and founder of JINsoon Nail Lacquer.

There’s a method to choosing the right nail shape and the formula primarily hinges on whether or not you want to elongate your fingers. Me? If it was possible to wear stilettos on my teensy fingers I would have a closet full of options, but since that’s not a possibility, I’ll have to stick to rounded nails as Choi suggests.

“If you have wider hands with shorter or slightly stubby fingers, the ideal nail shape is one that elongates your fingers, such as a pure rounded nail, ideally one that is mid-length—long, but not overly so,” she says.

Before us short-handed gals get carried away down the grass-is-always-greener rabbit hole, know that lean fingers also come with their own set of considerations. “If you have more narrow hands with long, thin fingers, wearing your nails too long accentuates that characteristic," explains Choi. "If this is not the intention, then it’s best to wear a soft square shape.” The more subtle shape gives a slightly wider look and highlights the femininity of the hands.

While these two quick tips are a great place to start when it comes to determining your winning combo, there are a few more shapes to keep in mind for your next trip to the salon—or even your next at-home filing job. Here’s a quick guide to a few of the most popular and traditional nail shapes.

Round Nail Shape

“The round shape is a perennial favorite—it’s classic and safe; never garish or too daring,” says Choi. It works well for shorter nail lengths, just follow the natural curve of the nail or try to replicate a similar curve as to that of your cuticle.

Oval Nail Shape

Think round, but tapered at the edges. You’ll need a little extra length to make this happen; short-nailed ladies, it’s probably best to take a pass on this one.

Squoval Nail Shape

Between the oval and square spectrum is a flattering shape known as “squoval.” It’s characterized by square-like dimensions with rounded edges. It works well for shorter nail lengths. “Following the approximate contours of the natural [nail] shape seems to be the trend,” says Choi. “This is why we’re seeing a lot of ‘squoval’ shaped nails this season.”

Square Nail Shape

This angular shape has the potential to look stocky if you’re not careful. Choi suggests opting for a soft polish like JINsoon Blush, Pixie, or Muse.

Almond Nail Shape

This shape has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. It’s characterized by a rounded base and long, curved tip with a slightly pointed edge. Think of it as a sharpened oval. You’ll need a little length to pull off this style.

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In case you’re wondering, there is in fact a stiletto nail shape but, as I mentioned above, I think we’ll stick to the footwear for now.