Pros and Cons

How To Achieve Any Nail Shape



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.





Gel Polish – The Good and The Bad

curing lamp

If you have had acrylic or gel nail extensions, the gel manicure basically follows a similar process without doing as much damage to the nail. This is why a gel manicure has such good staying power. Which means if not done correctly, the manicure also suffers the same lifting and peeling as a set of extensions.

It is always a good idea if you decide to have a gel manicure, to ask for recommendations and look online at reviews for your local nail salons to find a good place; as a lot can go wrong if they are not very experienced at doing gels, not just lifting can occur but bad damage to the nail and cuticle area that you will be growing out over a long period of time.

So how is a gel manicure done?

The nail is first lightly filed (for the gel to adhere better to the nail plate). Then a gel base coat is applied, this will then be cured/ baked under a UV lamp. Another coat of gel is applied now in the colour you have chosen and cured again. Finally, a top coat is applied and cured once more. The nail is then wiped down to remove stickiness and the nails are done; instantly dry!

The good points of a gel manicure.

  • One of the most appealing aspects of a gel manicure is it will not chip or peel. The length of time it lasts on your nails looking perfect is impressive. It usually lasts between 2-4 weeks.
  • If you are going away on holiday or just away for a business trip, you will not have to worry about your nails looking anything but perfect.
  • It is also very durable and holds itself in inclement weather.
  • If you go shopping, do some gardening, do the cleaning, or generally tackling whatever life has thrown at you, you are safe knowing your nails will still be looking neat and beautiful.
  • The manicure is instantly dry once done with a mirror like finish; so no waiting time  at the end of the manicure process, or worrying about smudging for hours afterwards.

The bad points of a gel manicure.

  • As the gel bonds so tightly to the nail, the gel will need to be soaked off with pure acetone wrapped in foil for 15-20 minutes at a time, (which is very harsh and toxic) as well as scraping away of the gel polish. This could need doing several times to completely remove the polish. This is extremely harsh on the natural nail, over time leaving them thin, weak, sore and prone to peeling and breaking.
  • If the gel is not applied correctly they can lift and peel at the edges. Leaving that supposedly perfect manicure a hot mess and a waste of money.
  • Gel manicures are much more expensive.
  • You cannot change your nail colour very often. Just something to keep in mind if you attend different parties, events or meetings. If you like to colour match, or you simply get bored of the same colour after a few days a gel manicure may not be suited for you.
  • Repeated application or changing of the colour with no breaks result in brittle, peeling,sore extremely thin, dry nails.

gel polish

Now you know how a gel manicure is done, along with the good points and the bad points associated with it. Personally, I think having the gel option is great if you need it to last for 2 weeks like going away on holiday. Other than this option I would avoid having a gel manicure and opt for a gel like finish manicure. There are many different brands available, in a rainbow of colours with great staying power and  a mirror like finish.

This is just my personal experience and knowledge of having and doing them. I am showing you good and bad points of the gel manicure so you yourself can make an educated decision when considering having one done at a salon. I hope this helps at least a few people who are thinking about taking the leap into a new way of doing their nails.