Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Nail Shapes

Just like we can choose what we wear, whether or not to wear makeup or how to style or color our hair, we can choose the shape and length of our nails. The shape you choose is completely up to you.  Your activity level may be a factor in choosing your nail shape or you may prefer to wear a more high maintenance style because it's the style you prefer. One thing is for sure, it is a very individual decision and thankfully we can change our mind at any time!  Let's take a look at the most common shapes.


This shape is a square shape nail with rounded corners. This is probably the most common and versatile of nail shapes. Whether you keep your nails short or long, the squoval is easy to maintain and helps prevent nail breakage. It's great for someone who leads an active lifestyle or wants to do as little maintenance as possible on their nails.


The square shape is probably the easiest shape to file as long as you can keep your file straight. This shape may not be suited for someone if your nails tend to curve in at the sides.  The edges can also be prone to chipping with this style. However if you have flatter nail beds, this could be the perfect shape for you as it may prevent breakage near where the nail meets your finger (otherwise known as the free edge).


The rounded nail takes a bit more practice to file, but once you get the hang of it, it is fairly easy to maintain. It looks great at any length but is most popular when worn just beyond the finger tip. This is a great shape that will prevent chipping and breaking and is a great alternative for someone who lives an active lifestyle. 


The oval marries the round nail with the stiletto nail. It is more common and looks best on mid length to long nails. By filing the nails into an oval shape you are thinning the nail from the sides towards the tip  while still keeping the roundness around the top. This shape requires more maintenance and can be more prone to breakage if the nails get long. 


The stiletto shape thins the nails along the side wall and progressively gets thinner as you get to the tip. The tip can extremely pointed or a little bit rounded while it comes towards the center tip. The stiletto nail is one of the harder shapes to maintain, especially when doing regular nail maintenance. This look will only look good when the filing is flawlessly executed. This look is best suited for mid to long length nails. This nail shape is best for someone who has time to care for their nails. You definitely have to pay meticulous attention to this shape, as they are more prone to breakage as they grow longer.

Right now my nails are a bit rounded. I tend to go rounded or squoval most of the time. I know I don't have to think about these shapes much, other than filing my sidewalls in a bit. I know you're not supposed to file the side length of your nails, but if I don't mine tend to flare out and break. By filing them in, I am able to keep them longer. My favorite shape is the stiletto nail. I love that the shape is uncommon and I feel like it adds a little sass to my look. But building boxes and packing orders for work and then laundry and cleaning at home tend to make this nail shape more impractical. Unless I know I can spend meticulous attention to my nails, I tend to only do this shape a few times a year. What's your favorite nail shape?


  1. I have fallen in love with my squared nails! But it does feel like the end of beautiful nails when one of the corners chip, haha. While that may be the favorite shape on me, I love seeing other shapes on people when their hands are more suited to them.

    1. I'm the same! I love all the nail shapes, until one of mine breaks and then I get all bummed!

  2. Thanks for such a GREAT article!! Unfortunately I have rather odd nails that defy uniformity. In addition to the fact my nails are rounded (not the tip, the overall nail and ugh I'm forever having to clean them out) I also suffer from psoriatic arthritis--which has moved to my hands and nails. So a few of my nails grow crooked, one has a permanent "fault line" and they are pitted. A day after swatching or even painting my nails and my hands are in agony :P

    But still, I love to paint my nails--art is harder for me, whether stamping or freehand. I wish I could have those picture perfect nails--but I'm happy to have hands that still work. I can't wear my wedding ring anymore so it's bling for my fingers! The big problem is.....what color to wear? LOL

    Thanks again!!

    1. That sucks. If you were near me I'd totally do your nails for you!