A Guide to the Different Types of Nail Shapes to Experiment With

A Guide to the Different Types of Nail Shapes to Experiment With

Getty | Christian VierigGetty | Christian Vierig

Beauty is all about experimenting, whether it’s with your hair, makeup, nails, or all of the above. If you want to spruce up your nails, outside of playing with the latest nail design trends and hot new polish colors, you can try out different nail shapes.

Many people are familiar with the standard round and square shapes of nails, but there are a handful of others that are super fun and deserve your attention. If you’re tired of your usual look, it’s time to familiarize yourself with different shapes of nails available to you.

“Different looks can be sexy depending on the occasion,” LeChat Nails educator Syreeta Aaron tells PS. “If you’re going on vacation, simple is sexy, so go with a very short, natural, square, rounded shape. You don’t want anything too high-maintenance when you’re on the go — a broken tip isn’t sexy.”

Types of Nail Shapes

Aaron notes classic nail shapes, like almond, can stand out while still looking very subtle and natural, while the coffin nail shape is a bit edgier and bold. While picking nail shapes can be fun, the process can be a little stressful. What you choose ultimately determines the look and vibe of your manicure, and there’s something out there for everyone. Don’t pay attention to or feel self-conscious about your finger size, but instead focus on the details of your mani, like the nail-polish color.

If you’re looking for options, consider this your nail shape guide. Keep reading to see examples of almond, ballerina, oval, coffin, round, square, lipstick, and more nail shapes.

Stiletto Nail Shape

Of all the nail shapes, stiletto is probably the most dramatic, as these typically have a spiked shape with a point at the end that’s meant to mimic — you guessed it — stiletto heels.

“It is tapered and filed to a sharp point,” nail artist Miss Pop says. “And it is popular with edgy celebs like Lady Gaga and Rihanna.” These days, you can also find the stiletto shape on plenty of other nail-art-obsessed celebrities like Khloé Kardashian, Saweetie, and Cardi B.

Lipstick Nail Shape

Lipstick nails are made to mimic the angled shape of a fresh tube of lipstick — and the only thing that can make you feel sexier than a swipe of that is wearing it on the tips of your nails. This shape is similar to a square nail, only with a slightly slanted (read: unexpected) twist.

Square Nail Shape

Square nails are exactly what they sound like: square with sharp or rounded corners, depending on your preference. But just because they’re simple doesn’t mean they’re not sexy. In fact, according to pros, this is one of the most popular nail shapes and one of the few that looks amazing on both long and short nails.

Coffin Nail Shape

The coffin nail shape has risen in popularity over the last few years. Coffin nails are characterized by having a wide base that gets slimmer as it inches toward the fingertips. Think of it like the toned-down version of a stiletto nail in that the tips are slightly filed down.

Oval Nail Shape

The oval shape is one of the most classic styles. In other words, you can’t go wrong, but it especially looks great on those with wider hands. “It’s been on sirens from Tippi Hedren to Jerry Hall to J Lo and Beyoncé,” Miss Pop says. This is another shape that looks great on both long and short lengths. To get the look, Miss Pop suggests you “taper your nails gently on the side, then round the tip.”

Ballerina Nail Shape

If you like the look of coffin nails but want something a little more pared down, might we suggest the ballerina nail shape? It’s similar to the coffin shape but a bit more rounded, which gives it a more muted look.

Squoval Nail Shape

Squoval nails are having a major moment right now. It’s like a square nail, but with rounded edges, and the shape looks good on anyone. It’s perfect if your nail length is in between long and short.

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Edge Nail Shape

Never heard of edge nails? You might want to get acquainted. This shape is a little less pointy than the stiletto but is far more unexpected. “European shapes like the edge are very sexy — think Parisian chic,” she says. “This shape is mainly sculpted, and it’s pointed with a nice soft cone shape. It has an exaggerated rise in the middle of the nail.”

Almond Nail Shape

Almond nails look similar to oval nails, but according to Miss Pop, this shape is “an extreme form of oval that comes to more of a point because it is so tapered.” Ariana Grande wears the look often, typically with a classic french manicure like the one she was seen wearing in her engagement photos.

Round Nail Shape

While long nail shapes like square and stiletto are highly beloved, they require a lot more maintenance. Round-shaped nails solve that problem. According to Miss Pop, “Round nails make for a very soft, natural look that’s easy to maintain. Even if you break a nail, you can sacrifice a little length and still keep the shape.” Plus, they look great on smaller hands.

— Additional reporting by Renee Rodriguez

Danielle Jackson was a former assistant editor for POPSUGAR Beauty.

Renee Rodriguez is a staff writer and social producer for POPSUGAR. She writes across all verticals, but her main areas of expertise focus on fashion and beauty content with an emphasis on reviews and editor experiments. She also produces social content for POPSUGAR’s TikTok and Instagram accounts.


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