Best for: Strong nails and wide nail beds as this shape makes them appear narrower.
The shape: Straight sides with a rounded tip.
Pros: A flattering, delicate and elegant shape that adds the appearance of length to the nail.
Cons: This shape has a weaker structure, as the sides are slightly filed away.
How to achieve: Hold the file flat against the side edge of the nail and gently file in one direction (toward the tip), until the sides are even and straight. File using a curving motion, evenly and smoothly from nail end to nail end. Check the shape from both the front and back to ensure that it is even.
Best for: Very long nails.
The shape: Tapered sides that end with a highly rounded tip.
Pros: A very flattering shape for longer nails as it gives a beautiful tapered look that makes nails look delicate and narrower.
Cons: Unless your nails are super strong, you will need to reinforce this chosen shape with gel or acrylic, as it is very weak due to the sides being filed away.
How to achieve: File the sides of the nail inwards to taper the nail on both sides. Next soften the edges of the nails by using an arc shape, gently filing in one full direction until the tip is nicely rounded and even.
Best for: Men and women who like to keep their nails shorter.
The shape: A rounded nail shape that follows the natural curve.
Pros: Makes wide nail beds appear thinner,a clean look and a strong nail shape.
Cons: A great shape for shorter nails but does not look good on longer nails.
How to achieve: File the sides of the nails straight in one direction gently. Now gently going in one direction with the file, file in a swooping arc following your natural nail curve to shape and soften the edges.
Best for: Ideal for bigger nail beds, not recommended for smaller nail beds as the nails will appear short and wide.
The shape: The sides of the nail are straight and the tip is flat, appearing square in shape. Classic French.
Pros: The strongest of the nail shapes.
Cons: The sharp corners can snag and scratch things, not ideal if you wear contacts, are around children or work with material.
How to achieve: File the sides straight in one direction (towards the tip), make sure they are even and straight from front and back of hand. File along the tip straight in one direction. The shape should be a perfect square without tapering in or flaring out.
Best for: Most popular shape, as it flatters any nail bed and length.
The shape: Straight sides and straight top but the corners are rounded off.
Pros: Combined strength of a square and the elegance of an oval shape.
Cons: The shape is not to every ones liking.
How to achieve: File the sides straight, going gently in one direction. file the tip straight across in one direction. Then gently soften both edges on the nail edges so they are rounded off.
Ballerina/ Coffin Nails
Best for: Long nails with both wide and narrow nail beds.
The Shape: Tapering in at both sides of the nail, coming to a small flat tip.
Pros: Look neat and well shaped, makes nails appear longer and is a great shape for nail designs.
Cons: This shape needs some reinforcement from gel or acrylic. Filing the side of the nail away will weaken the nail.
How to achieve: File gently in one direction (towards the tip), in a slanted or tapered manner at each side of the nail. Ensure both sides are even from the front of the hand and back. Gently file the flat tip to desired width evenly. The more you file the wider the tip will look.
Best for: Acrylic or gel nails.
The shape: Tapered sides at both sides ending in a sharp point.
Pros: This extreme look can slenderize and elongate the fingers. It looks unique and can hold amazing nail art looks.
Cons: The weakest of all the shapes, easy to snag and can scratch.
How to achieve: Ideally, having them done with acrylic at a nail salon. These will not last very long on natural nails, so it is not advisable.
If your nails are wide try a squoval, narrow go for a square to strengthen and widen. Short nails should aim for rounded and once grown out try a different shape that suits your nails.
I have not included every shape for nails, as there is many available. These are just the most common, who they are best suited for, the pros and cons and how to achieve them. I hope that this has helped in your nail journey and you can enjoy the nails that you desire.