The ultimate guide to the different nail shapes

Rounded Nails


We know how exciting it is to book in to have your nails done. You can finally feel like yourself again by being well-groomed – plus, it’s always a real mood booster! But, knowing which nail shape is the best one for you can be a tricky process. From a simple rounded tip to coffin-shaped nails, there are many different nail styles to choose from.

When booking a manicure, the biggest decision to make is usually which colour to choose. It’s not just about colour though. Your nail technician will also ask you which nail shape you prefer – and there are more options than ever before.

With such a range of nail shapes to choose from, it’s a great opportunity to play around and experiment with different looks. If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in the right place. From stiletto to square nails and everything in between, our nail technicians explain their favourite trends in the ultimate guide to the best nail shapes. 

Round-shaped nails

If you’ve never really explored different nail shapes, the chances are you usually opt for a simple rounded nail shape. This is often the default option. The beauty of this classic style is that it suits all hand shapes and always looks effortlessly elegant. 

It’s also a great choice for anyone whose job involves keyboard work, as you are less likely to chip and crack when typing than with some of the longer styles. As you probably know, nails and typing can be uneasy companions, so choosing round-shaped nails can be the safest option.

It’s a popular choice with anyone who prefers to wear their nails a little shorter too as the rounded tip is designed to extend just beyond the nail bed for a modern, chic look. A rounded nail tip can also help to strengthen nails as there is less likelihood of the nail snagging or tearing. So if you are looking to improve your nail health, then this is the nail shape for you.

Square-shaped nails

Square nails are all about the angles. They are designed to give your talons an edgy look that stands out from the crowd! They are striking and quite intense. They look fabulous but can be a little tricky to maintain. To achieve a square shape, the nails need to be filed bluntly to create sharp corners and defined edges. 

It’s a shape that works well with shorter nails, as the squared-off tip keeps nails neat. It’s a look that is particularly flattering for those with slim fingers.  But you’ll need some length to work with in the first place, unless of course you’re going for falsies.

However, this shape is one of the hardest styles to carry off, as the flat-cut edge can make fingers appear short and stumpy. If you still want to go square, then you can rock the angular look if you allow the nails to grow a little longer before shaping them to give the illusion of elegant, elongated fingers.

Oval-shaped nails

Similar in style to rounded nails, the oval shape is perfect for anyone who wants a soft, smooth look but with more length than a rounded nail. They still have a somewhat classic look, but with a more contemporary edge.

This style makes shorter hands and fingers appear slender and are worn best at a medium or long length with a semi-circular tip. Oval nails offer a timeless look and pair perfectly with a classic French Manicure. We’ve noticed that oval-shaped nails are very popular at the moment.

Coffin-shaped nails


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Bang on trend for 2022, and also a favourite nail shape of Kylie Jenner, coffin-shaped nails (or ballerina-shaped nails as they are also known) are guaranteed to make a statement. They are eye-catching and enticing, but they can be a little hard to maintain.

Worn long and tapered, but with a flat squared-off tip, this nail style seemingly extends the length of your hands and fingers. To pull off the look, you’ll need to grow your nails long and make sure they are healthy and sturdy, as weak and brittle nails will break easily with this shape.

This statement nail shape demands a bold polish – try deep red matte for Hollywood glamour – or team with nail art for a fun-loving finish. Your new very fashionable nails will definitely be the envy of many! 

Stiletto-shaped nails

A daring nail shape that isn’t for the faint-hearted! Stiletto nails are long and curved, finishing in a spiked point. Realistically, no typing is possible with stiletto-shaped nails (and not much else is either!).

If you’re ready to give stiletto nails a try, remember that these babies are sharp – you need to beware of scratches and tears. They are not the most practical of nail shapes (using your phone and typing can be quite challenging) but the overall effect is truly stunning. Finish your stiletto nails with a glossy scarlet polish to add to the drama.

Almond-shaped nails

A perfect nail shape for medium-length nails, the almond shape can make short digits appear extra-long and slender without the high maintenance of longer nails. 

Sharper at the tip than an oval nail, this softly tapered look looks great on everyone. Think of it as a blend of coffin and stiletto nails that offers all the style and none of the high maintenance.

Lipstick-shaped nails


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Bold and angular, lipstick-shaped nails look great on shorter and longer nails alike. To achieve the asymmetrical look, the nail is filed on an angle at the tip. The result is a nail that looks like a brand new lipstick. 

Lipstick-shaped nails offer endless options for creative nail art, but they look equally as fabulous with a nude polish .

Squoval-shaped nails

Squoval nails bring together the best parts of square-shaped nails and oval-shaped nails. This newer take on the classic nail shapes is both practical and effortlessly stylish. Squoval-shaped nails are great for nail art, but look just as chic with a single colour on the nails. 

The best part about squoval-shaped nails is that they look just as good on longer nails and shorter nails. If you opt for shorter squoval-shaped nails, they’ll grow out nicely.

How to shape nails at home

Shaping your nails at home is possible with just a little know-how and a high-quality nail file. Remember to always file in one direction, and if you’re experimenting with a new shape to take your time. It’s very easy to file too much of the nail away, which will prevent you from getting the desired shape you’re after. We’d recommend that you familiarise yourself with the different nail shapes before you start to determine which style best suits your hand shape, lifestyle and personality.

We don’t blame you, if you’d rather leave nail shaping to the professionals! Our mobile nail technicians can provide expert advice on the best nail shape for your hands. Choose from a classic manicure or gel manicure, which include a relaxing hand massage and shaping, all finished with a slick of polish or gel polish of your choice. You’ll love the pampering in the process!


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