How to choose a nail shape: tips from a manicurist

How to choose a nail shape: tips from a manicurist

Together with an expert, we understand the varieties of nail shapes, their features and combinations with color and length.

  • How to choose
  • Top 7 trends
  • Expert advice

How to choose your nail shape

Trends in nail shapes change with time and season, but masters highlight several of the most current options. When choosing, you should take into account not only personal characteristics – the structure and length of the nail bed, but also practicality.

Photo: shutterstock

Some of the shapes look attractive, but are inconvenient in everyday life, this mainly applies to very pointed and long nails. Super-long nails and voluminous bubble nails have lost their relevance in the new season 2024-2025, giving way to more natural forms. Focus on the following criteria:

  • Convenience. The main function of manicure is visual, but it should not interfere with your usual activities.
  • Nail quality. Modern materials and strengthening methods allow you to create a long manicure of any shape, even on weak, thin and fragile nails. But it is worth considering that they will be more susceptible to injury.
  • Length. The shorter the nail, the less likely it is to break; the longer, the more graceful the fingers look.
  • Features of hands. Oval nails visually elongate the fingers, while short square nails shorten them. This is worth considering if you want your fingers to look thinner.

Fashionable nail shapes 2024: 6 main trends

The master in the salon will tell you what is in fashion and what he personally likes, but the decision always remains behind the client. Here are the most common options.

1. Round

Ideal shape for short natural nails. Both bright colors and a nude manicure or lack thereof will look equally good on them.

Round shape —  most easy to maintain, therefore best suited for brittle nails

The round shape is the most easy to maintain and therefore best suited for brittle nails

If you often do housework or gardening, are involved in renovations or have children, short round nails are the best choice. They are the hardest to snag and break, and the edge can be easily fixed yourself with a nail file.

2. Oval

The shape creates the illusion of graceful fingers, but for it you need to grow your nail at least 3–4 mm from the end.

Graceful oval —  a timeless classic that is also relevant in 2024

The graceful oval is a timeless classic that is also relevant in 2024

Unlike the round version, the cut is made at a sharper angle: the line of the nails remains smooth, but elongated. You need to be careful with this manicure – it is easier to break it by catching your nail or hitting it on something hard.

3. Square and soft square

The square shape with sharp straight edges is suitable for both long and short nails. She can visually shorten her fingers; take this into account if your hands are already not graceful enough.

The best option for French and any types of nude coverage

The best option for French and any types of nude coverage

Nude and classic pink look especially good on a square manicure. The soft square, a variation with rounded tips, is a little more discreet and versatile. These shapes are suitable for short nails, but on long nails they may require more attention as the edges are prone to chipping.

Soft square nails grow beautifully, but such nails are easier to break than round and oval ones

Soft square nails grow beautifully, but such nails are easier to break than round and oval ones

4. “Almond”

The shape is so named because of its resemblance to an almond. It may look like an oval, but the tip of the nail should be much thinner than the base.

Almond-shaped nails visually make fingers longer, but are less comfortable compared to oval ones.

Almond-shaped nails visually make fingers longer, but are less comfortable compared to oval ones.

The pointed nail remains softly rounded and is the perfect balance between femininity and sass. “Almond” visually lengthens the fingers and suits everyone. This shape can only be done on long nails, so start by growing a round or oval nail, or get extensions.

5. «Ballerina»

Long, tapering nails that end in an even cut. The name comes from its resemblance to pointe shoes.

The optimal shape for those who like a square, but find it difficult to maintain the length of their nails

The optimal shape for those who like a square, but find it difficult to maintain the length of their nails

Most often, “ballerina” is done on long extended nails, otherwise it will not be possible to build the correct shape and they will be closer to a square. This manicure looks good with any design, but is not suitable for weak and brittle nails – they will not withstand the load on wide tips.

6. Long nails

Photo: shutterstock

Super-long nails coexist in trends with ultra-short ones. Which one to choose depends on the individual characteristics of the nail plate and lifestyle. If you know how to carefully wear lengths or, at a minimum, are willing to spend more time on corrections in the salon, try growing or extending your nails, on which you can implement any nail art ideas. Anti-trends include openly pointed stiletto ends, so you should choose a more rounded shape.

Expert commentary

Catherine Dvorzen, nail technician, Kontier salon: “The trend for 2024 is a comfortable length, most often a few millimeters of overgrown free edge. Most prefer a soft square, less often – clear shapes with sharp corners. Not everyone can afford this shape, only those with very strong and unbreakable nails. Also, almonds are back in fashion now; this form can vary from mild to more acute. To choose the appropriate option, you need to take into account all factors: the condition of the nails, the length of the fingers, the size and width of the nail plate, lifestyle, profession – all this directly affects the appropriate manicure. For example, athletes, people with small children and doctors prefer minimal length and softer shapes.”