Go-To Guide: Find the Best Nail Tip Shape for You

Go-To Guide: Find the Best Nail Tip Shape for You

These days you have so many options when going to a nail salon (or doing your nails at home). You have to not only choose your nail art or nail color, but you must choose your nail tip shape.

There are many different shapes of fingernails to choose from, and you might be wondering which one is most suited for your nails.

Well, this can depend on many things - like: your lifestyle, the shape of your nail bed, the length of your fingers, and/or your style preference.

The best way to figure out which nail shape to go for is by knowing the details about each one. This article will help you get the deets you need to make the right choice.

Here is a complete list of the different nail shapes. Use this table of contents to go to a specific one, if you'd like, or just scroll through to see each. Enjoy!

ultimate nail shape guide. Find the right shape for your hands.

Nail Tip Shapes

A detailed explanation of each shape and finding the right one for you.

Round Nails

The Look: Classic, natural, low-maintenance, popular

Who is this shape best for? Short nails. It's also the strongest nail shape, so if you have weak fingernails, opt for this shape.

Round nails are less likely to break or tear in this shape. It’s the most common shape and easy to create.

Just shape as a square with a file and then file along your nail in the same direction of the natural curve of your fingers.

Nail art? With round shaped nails, anything goes with nail art. You can go girly, geometric nail stamping art, short round french tips, or just a simple color. Great short nail inspo.

Oval Nails

The Look: Classy, feminine and elegant

Who is this shape best for? Anyone with small or short fingers and they want their fingers to "look" longer and slimmer.

Better for people with strong nails because the shape can cause the nail to be weaker and it might break easier. Or, opt for acrylics or press ons if you don't have strong natural nails.

Oval nails are like a longer version of round nails. The tip is filed around into an oval shape.

Nail art? Girly + cool nail art is the way to go with the oval shape.

Almond Nails

The Look: Glamorous, chic, feminine, girly

Who is this shape best for? The Almond tip shape is good especially if you have long and narrow nail beds. Good for medium or long nail lengths.

It’s like an oval but with a soft rounded point at the tip of the nail. It's similar to the shape of an actual almond, but it's also egg-like in shape.

This shape can make your hands look more slender.

Usually this nail type is best if using gel nails or acrylic nails, because filing your natural nails into this shape makes them weaker, so it's best to strengthen them with acrylics or gels.

Nail art? I love a feminine nail art look on oval nails. But really, anything goes. Get creative and enjoy the almond nail inspo above.

Square Nails

The Look: Clean-cut, stylish, fun, geometric, low-maintenance

Who is this shape best for? Square shape is perfect for people with long fingers and nail beds. This shape is fairly easy to maintain. The tip of the nail is just filed flat.

Good for short or medium length nails.

If you like the flat tip with sharp edge look on your nails, this is the choice for you. Opt for long square acrylic nails if you don't already have the length in your nails.

Nail art? Geometric nail art is awesome on square shaped nails. But square french tip nails are really cute and just a basic color is always beautiful, too.

Squoval Nails

The Look: Classic, natural, sophisticated

Who is this shape best for? Great on nails that have grown out a bit, but not too long. Technically this shape will work with any finger or nail type. But if you have short nails, this is a great nail tip shape choice.

Squoval is a softer look than the sharp angles of the square shape. It's also one of the most natural nail shapes like the round nail shape.

File into an oval and then flatten the tip a bit to give it a square, yet, oval look.

Nail art? Nail stamps would be good on squoval nails. Any color will do, just have fun with the designs. We have a nail stamp guide, if you're curious check it out here.

RELATED POST: Nail Stamping Guide

Coffin or Ballerina Nails

The Look:  Glamorous, high-maintenance, chic, bold, fun, popular

Who is this shape best for? This shape is popular among anyone who loves to be in style with the latest fashion trends. This nail shape looks best on longer nails.

Coffin nails are also known as ballerina nails. This nail shape is basically a tapered nail with a flat squared off tip.

It's a dramatic long nail shape with a flat tip similar to the shape of a coffin or ballerina shoe point. They are basically long tapered square nails.

Nail art? It's popular to have super long coffin nails that are colorful and sometimes even have jewels attached on them or other outrageous nail art accessories. But they don't have to be outrageous if you like the shape, but don't want to add embellishments.

Longer nails means more room for nail art! Check out our coffin nail inspo in the photos above and on our post here.

RELATED POST: Coffin Nail Inspo

Stiletto or Pointed Nails

The Look: High-maintenance, loud, dramatic, flashy, eye-catching

Who is the shape best for? The stiletto style is perfect if you want to make a statement. The shape makes your fingers look longer, so this shape is good for anyone with small hands with short fingers.

To be honest, they aren’t the most practical nail shape being they are long & pointy and they might even be dangerous! If you have a job that requires you type or use your fingers and hands, they might not be a good fit for you.

They are high maintenance, and especially if they are your natural nails, but you can also find press on nails in this shape or use acrylic stiletto nails.

They are sharp, so be careful with them, don't poke your eye out (or someone else's eye)!

They can break easily, so use acrylic or gel nails for more strength.

Nail art? This loud and dramatic nail shape screams for bold colors and designs. But some people go simple with a plain color, especially on shorter stiletto nails. But the longer ones tend to use up the long shape well and fill it with color and unique designs.

Nail enthusiasts will even go all out with gems, crystals, or other accessories you can apply to the nail along with paint.

Nail stamps or hand painted nail art is also super cool on long stiletto nails.

Lipstick Nails

The Look: Unique, rare, uncommon, fun, cute, chic

Who is this shape good for? This style is good for anyone, and will definitely make you stand out in a crowd. Great on long nails, but if you have short nails, these can be done with acrylic tips and are recommended this way since the shape might cause your nails to be weaker, so the acrylics would give them strength.

Every set of lipstick nails is unique. The nail can be filed at any angle really - super sharp angle or just a touch of an angle.

The shape is like that of a brand new stick of lipstick where the tip is cut and filed into an angle.

The look can be chic and girly, but might be harder to maintain.

Nail art? This shape looks beautiful in a classic simple one color design. But some nail art lovers will add their unique designs with nails stamps, glitter, and gems - especially on a longer lipstick nail shape.

Flare Nails

The Look: Flashy, brave, bold, different, triangular, requires acrylics or gel nails

Who is this nail shape best for? WOW, the flare nail shape is definitely for someone who wants to stand out. Not a good shape for people who work with their hands a lot. Great for people who love bold designs and colors.

The shape goes upward and out like flared jeans and are also called duck feet nails.

Because of the nature of this shape, sometimes the longer the nail is it even comes out curved from your finger. This is one reason the shape isn't great for anyone who has to type at their job or work with their hands in any other way.

Nail art? This shape is unique and most go crazy with their nail art in this shape. But I've also seen just a simple french tip flare nail design.  

Nail Shape Combo

The Look: Unique, brave, fun, different

Who is this shape good for? If you really just want to try something unique a different, you can go this route of trying a different shape on each nail, or choose a couple different shapes to go with.

A popular combo is stiletto with coffin shaped nails because they are both long and so why not give them a try together.

Nail art? Of course this nail combo choice can be crazy designs, but you can go simple with one color or go with chrome like in the photo above!


Now that you've seen all your options, which ones are your favorites? It really all depends on your style and preference. Some like to stand out and others like to go natural. The good news is you can always change them if you don't like a choice you made.


nail shape guide infographic


What nail shape is best for short nails?

Square, squoval or round.

What nail shape is best for medium or long nails?

Oval, almond, coffin, stiletto, lipstick or flare.

What’s the strongest nail shape?

Square or Round

What nail shape is the weakest?

Stiletto, but you can use gel nails or acrylics if you want to avoid breaking your real nails. Coffin can also be weak, but using acrylic coffin nails or gel coffin nails is the way to go! Almond shape can also weaken your nails, so maybe opt for press ons, acrylics or gel nails in this shape.

What’s the most natural nail shape?

Squoval and round

What nail shape is most feminine?

Oval and Almond

Which nail shape is best for long and skinny fingers?

The most flattering shape for this type of fingers is the square nail shape.

Which nail shape is best if you have short fingers and want them to look longer?

Almond, coffin and oval will help to create the illusion of length in short or stubby or fat fingers. You can purchase press ons or get acrylics or gel nails in these shapes if your natural nails are really short.

What are the most dramatic nail shape styles?

Flare and stiletto are the most dramatic and are great for fashionistas. Coffin can also be dramatic on extra long nails. Lipstick is also very unique, but isn't as dramatic as the others.