Skip Nav
Celebrity Makeup
Proof This Single Makeup Product Can Change Your Entire Beauty Look
Beauty News
Your Favorite Kat Von D Lipsticks Are Discounted For 1 Day Only
Beauty News
You Can Get a Free MAC Lipstick — but Only For 1 Day

How To Choose a Nail Shape

How-To: Choose a Nail Shape

When I was little, I knew of only two nail shapes: dagger (like that of my then mean older cousin — ouch) and bitten down to the nubs (like me — also, ouch). While you can wear your nails however you please, I've got some guidelines on choosing which nail shape might suite you best.

Generally speaking, try to match the shape of your cuticle to your free edge (the part you are filing). This will give you the most complementary finish. Another basic guideline is to shape the nail to give the illusion of elongated fingers. Remember to file nails in one direction, and check out some more tips below:

Oval — Looks good on most, particularly short, wide fingers.
Round — Great for short nails and those with very active hands, since round tends to break less.
Almond/Pointed — Elongates petite hands and fingers. It's also a very of-the-moment style, according to nail guru Deborah Lippmann.
Square — Works well to balance out long, narrow fingers.
Squoval — Softens wide nail beds. Also works well for short, wide fingers or long, big fingers.


Join The Conversation
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I do square or squoval. I have very long, slender fingers so those shapes work best on me.
swati05 swati05 8 years
Nice tips
Schaianne Schaianne 8 years
I've always loved oval/squoval but the daggone nail people always want to talk me into square! I HATE square. Now I know that my instinctive choice was right for MY fingers ... thanks Bella!!
writerjenna writerjenna 8 years
Nifty.. and useful! Thanks Bella! :)
psterling psterling 8 years
For my wedding I went with a traditional oval and the lady at the salon told me it made me look like an old lady!! I usually go for the squoval otherwise. Or the square if the technician can't understand what that means.
emalove emalove 8 years
I like oval or sqoval on me best. I hate the really long, really square-shaped nails. They just look so fake.
WiCkeD_LaDy WiCkeD_LaDy 8 years
i love my nails a regular lentgh and very square, it makes my polish look prefect.
brittanyk brittanyk 8 years
I have mine squoval. My finger nails never get very long because they break so easily, and this shape tends to break the least on me.
bluesuze bluesuze 8 years
when I've tried square, it always seem like I chipped/broke my nails. I'm pretty low maintenance these days, and so my nails are very short
melda melda 8 years
Where can I find a picture of Almond/Pointed shape? I don't know what does that look like.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
Hi ladychaos, you could always do squoval. Let me now how it works out!
glam-sugar glam-sugar 8 years
Good deal, I have the right shape for me already. :)
demure20 demure20 8 years
All my fingers are naturally shaped square except my thumb nail! That one shapes into an oval! So my thumbs are the only nails I ever work on!
SmileyFace26 SmileyFace26 8 years
This totally helps me in picking my nail shape. I have short skinny fingers with long nails that grow really fast
ladychaos ladychaos 8 years
So what if all but my index finger's cuticle bed are shaped square-ish, and my index fingers' beds are oval?
How to Cook Ground Beef
Tampon Nail Art
How to Make Cutoff Shorts
Learn How to Cut a Pineapple
From Our Partners
Latest Beauty
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds