Much like choosing the perfectly styled little black number for your figure, choosing the most flattering nail shape for your hands, can work miracles for you manicure!
I did this article for beautybulletin.com in December last year & now want to share it here with you guys as well
Lets start by having a look at the 5 most popular nail shapes at the moment:
The Oval – the nail is shaped into an “egg shape”, slightly tapering from the nail bed to the tip of the nail.
To create: file the side walls of your nail from the nail bed to the point of your nail into a perfect rounded oval shape, while ensuring that you have even angles on both sides.
This is an elegant, sleek and graceful shape that adds an illusion of length to shorter, wider fingers and looks good on pretty much any & all finger shapes.
The Square Oval (Squoval) – as the name suggests, is a “marriage” between the stronger Square and the more delicate Oval.
To create: file the tip of the nail edge into a straight edge, with straight and even side walls and then slightly round the corners, keeping the tip to a square shape, with softer, rounder corners.
This is a very popular nail shape and lends a bit more strength to the nail than the oval. Also suits most finger shapes.
The Square – A bold shape with a straight edged tip that runs perpendicular to the straight side walls.
To create: grow the side walls of your nail straight out & then file both the sides and the tip of your nail straight, at a 90 degree angle to each other.
Classically used for French Manicures, this shape is ideal to balance long, narrow fingers & nail beds. It also looks better on nails that have some length (a free edge of atleast 5mm).
Rounded – this shape differs from the oval in that it doesn’t taper, but mimics the shape of your fingertip and thus has a rounder tipped edge.
To create: once again grow the side walls of your nail straight out (do not taper the side walls of your nail to the tip like with the Oval) and then file the tip of your nail into a half-circle, using the shape of your fingertip as your guide.
This shape is ideal for shorter nails, but could also work on a slightly longer nail.
The Almond/Pointed – the nail is tapered into a sharp point, with the tip slightly rounded
To create: file the side walls of the nail from the nail bed to the tip into the desired tapered point. The tip can be ever-so-slightly rounded, to prevent it from hooking on clothing, etc.
Because of its avant-garde appearance, this shape is popular for nail art & favoured by flashy celebrities like our recent visitor – Lady Gaga. This shape severely weakens the nail (making it easier for the tip to break) so is not recommended unless you have really strong nails, or acrylics.
So how do you now decide which shape would look best on your own digits?
- A very good guide to what shape would look most natural on you, is to have a look at the small half-moon shape near your cuticle. If it is more rounded, choose one of the rounder shapes like the Oval or Rounded nail. If it has a flatter, more squared shape, go for the Square or the Squoval.
- Another part of your nail’s anatomy to look at when choosing your nail shape, is your nail bed. A short & wide nail bed will look even shorter & wider with a squared tip, but will be elongated by a more oval-shaped nail. While long & narrow nail beds can be balanced by a more squared-shape nail.
I found this fun flow chart on OPI’s website that helps you choose your shape, by looking at your finger length and nail bed size:
- Also consider your daily activities & lifestyle when choosing your nail shape. If you use your hands a lot e.g. doing house work, gardening, playing sports, etc. a shorter nail would be more practical, with either a Rounded or Squoval shaped tip. Or if you are in the entertainment industry for example, a bolder Squared or Almond shaped nail would give you that extra ‘Va Va Voom’
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong. By experimenting, you will find your best fit & have some fun in the process!
I usually wear my nails somewhere between the Oval and a more Rounded tip, but since I did this article in December, I’ve been test driving a more Square shape. And I’m loving it!!
Here I tried to show the Oval, Rounded, Squoval & Square shapes all on my one hand (Unfortunately my nails were too short to try the almond/pointed shape, although, my oval here does lean a bit more towards the almond.. almost.. lol) :