Find Your Best Nail Shape

Picking your polish isn’t the only decision you should be making when you get a manicure. Whether short or long, oval or square or anything in between, nails can be filed into any shape. “Different nail shapes create a different overall effect on how the nails and hands look,” says Shel Pink, founder of SpaRitual. Read on to find out which nail shape is best for your hands.

Straighter on the sides and blunt across the top, square nails are best on smaller nail beds; when worn on a wide nail bed, the hands can look stocky or stubby.

Oval nails convey a feminine, classic look. “For someone with short, small hands, oval nails can create the illusion of longer fingers,” says Pink. 

For subdued, natural-looking nails, choose a round shape. “It looks nice on shorter nails and makes a wider nail bed look more elegant,” says EssieWeingarten, founder and creative director of Essie cosmetics.

“Nail shape should follow cuticle shape. That’s why most hands look best with a ‘squoval’ shape—a bit square, a bit oval with soft edges,” says Weingarten.

More of a trend than a staple shape, pointy nails (which can be difficult to function with) tend to make the hands appear thin.