A Guide To The 5 Basic Nail Shapes – How To Pick The Right One

what are the basic 5 nail shapes
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Embarking on a nail makeover journey? Look no further! In this friendly and informative guide, we’ll unravel the mystery of nail shapes, presenting you with the lowdown on the 5 basic nail shapes and how to choose the perfect one for you.

Navigating the world of almond, square, oval, stiletto, and coffin shapes has never been easier. Whether you’re a nail enthusiast or a newcomer to the manicure scene, our simple tips will empower you to make a choice that suits your style and personality. Get ready to elevate your nail game with confidence as we break down the basics of choosing the right nail shape for your fabulous fingertips!

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Most clients lean towards one of the five basic nail shapes which are square, round, oval, pointed or squoval.

There are several other nail shapes out there but these are the 5 basic nail shapes commonly known by everyone.

Choosing the right nail shape for your next manicure can be daunting, but with our guide to the five basic nail shapes, you’ll be a pro in no time!

What are the 5 basic nail shapes for hand types?

What Are The 5 Basic Nail Shapes?

The 5 basic nail shapes are:

  • Square nails
  • Oval nails
  • Round nails
  • Squoval nails
  • Pointed nails

Square Nails

square nails

If you’re looking for a classic manicure, then a square nail is the perfect choice for you, it’s Ideal for both short and long nails, and this shape looks good on almost anyone. Whether you’re rocking an edgy metallic look or classic French tips, square or rectangle nails never go out of style!

Square and rectangle nails are also great for those who want to mix up their nail looks often, as these shapes are easy to maintain and can be filed into different styles.

To get the perfect square or rectangular shape, file in a straight line towards the tip of your nails with the sides of your nails parallel to each other. That’s it! Now you’re free to style your nails any way you choose.


Oval Nails

oval nails

If you have longer nails and prefer a more delicate look, then an oval or soft round shape might be for you. Both of these shapes are very versatile and add a nice natural curve to the nail – perfect for drawing attention to any design. Plus, this shape helps keep your nails from catching on things as it’s slightly rounded at the edges.

To create an oval shape, you’ll want to make sure your nail bed is slightly longer than it is wide. To get a soft round look, instead of making the edges completely straight like with a square, you’ll want to slightly angle the corners to form an arch.

This will give you more of a curve at the edge and provide a smoother look that can help nails appear longer.


Round Nails

round nails

Round nail shapes are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility and range of styling options.

Round nails are a great way to show off your creative flair, there are so many ways to style them and make them stand out.

Try adding some colorful nail art such as dots or stripes, or opt for subtle accent details like a French manicure. If you’re feeling creative, you can even try nail temps or foils that let you achieve unique designs with ease.


Squoval Nails

squaoval nails

Squoval nails are the perfect compromise between sophisticated and modern. With this shape, your nails will look elegant but also creative and fun, making them a great all-rounder for any occasion.

To create squoval nails, use a nail file and work your way around the edge of your nail in an oval shape. Once you’ve gone all the way around, you can then square off the edges on either side to give an even and neat finish.

Doing so will create a balanced curve that gets slightly finer at the corners — and voilà: you’ll have achieved a perfect squoval!


Pointed Nails

stilletto nails

The pointed nail shapes are usually one of the most basic nails, if you want to go for a needle-like sharpness with maximum length, then a stiletto or pointy shape is the one for you.

Just take into consideration that this is quite an extreme nail shape and looks best on long nails. With its sharp corners and tapered sides, it makes your hands look elegant yet edgy.


Common Questions Always Asked

What Is The Most Popular Shape Of Nails?

The most popular shapes of nails are the ones mentioned above which are square, oval, round, squoval, pointed, coffin, and almond.

What Are The 3 Most Common Nail Shapes?

The 3 most common nail shapes are square, oval, and pointed nail shapes.

What Are The 7 Structures of Nails?

The 7 structures of nails are:

  • Nail plate
  • Nail bed
  • Nail matrix
  • Nail sinus
  • Nail root
  • Nail fold
  • Nail cuticle
  • And nail lunula
what are the 7 structure of nails
image credit: nailbees

What Are The Different Types of Nail Shapes?

These are the different types of nail shapes:

  • Coffin nails
  • Pointed or stiletto nails
  • Square nails
  • Round nails
  • Oval nails
  • Squoval nails
  • Rectangle nails
  • Lipstick nails
  • Arrow nails
  • Flare nails
  • Ballerina nails

How Many Basic Nail Shapes Do We Have?

There are 5 basic nail shapes out there which are square, oval, pointed, round and squoval.

Nail Shapes And Meaning

Are you curious about the different nail shapes and meanings? Check out this guide that explores 11 nail shapes and explains their symbolism in detail.

Round Nails

Round nails feature a classic, but timeless style that creates a beautiful shape. They often create a more uniform look with the sidewalls being rounded inwards and the free edge of the nail curved downwards.

This type of nail gives off an air of simplicity while still offering a look of elegance, round nails are most commonly associated with gracefulness, professionalism, and reliability.

Coffin Nails

Coffin-shaped nails are a popular style that resembles a coffin, hence the namesake. The nail starts with a tapered tip and widens as it reaches the sidewalls of the nail.

Coffin-shaped nails, sometimes referred to as ballerina nails create an edgy vibe with perfect angles from corner to corner.

They are often associated with power and elegance, perfect for those who want to make an impression without being too outrageous.

Almond Nails

Almond-shaped nails are a very trendy option for people who want subtlety with elegance, they are much easier to create than the stiletto shape but can still make you feel like royalty.

To create this look, start by filing the edges until they’re rounded, creating an almond-like shape.

This is a great option for those who want to add length without sacrificing naturalness. Almond-shaped nails symbolize femininity and grace, making them perfect for the modern woman on the go.

Squoval Nails

Squoval-shaped nails are the perfect blend of square and oval.

To achieve this look, file the edges of your nails until they’re rounded in an oval form. This minimized square and oval shape is great for those who want a longer look but with less destructive filing on their natural nails.

The squoval shape combines practicality and style, making it a go-to choice for many nail enthusiasts, interpreted symbolically, this shape represents sophistication and balance in life.

Stiletto Or Pointed Nails

Stiletto-shaped nails are long, sharp, and pointy, the shape itself is quite daring and edgy as its super long length can be intimidating to some.

Symbolically, this bold nail shape is interpreted as a sign of strength and confidence, conveying someone willing to take risks to get what they want. When wearing this style of nail art, be prepared to make a statement!

Square Nails

Square nails are square-shaped nails, flat at the top with straight corners, these nails are usually short and perfect for those with short nails and long or narrow nail beds.

Square nails are easily drawn to those who mean business. If you have square nails or a variation of square nails, you tend to be very ambitious and driven by your dreams and goals.

Chart Of Different Types Of Nails

Below is a chart of different types of nails.

what are the 5 basic nail shapes?

Acrylic Nail Training Mat

 This acrylic training mat is the ideal learning tool for nail techs in training. It teaches multiple skills while learning to perfect product consistency.

The training mat allows you to create various sizes of beads, learn application by zones, work on different nail shapes, and easily test out color combos on your mat so you can become an expert at acrylic application on any type of nail!

The training mat is made of silicon which makes it durable and the fun part? it’s easy to wash.

The silicone mat is large enough to give you plenty of working space but is also flexible and easy to store, click on the image to get one.



Mastering the art of choosing the right nail shape is like finding the perfect frame for a work of art – it enhances and complements the beauty within. Throughout this guide, we’ve navigated the intricacies of the five basic nail shapes, shedding light on the unique characteristics of almond, square, oval, stiletto, and coffin styles.

As you embark on your nail journey, consider your personal style, comfort, and practicality. Each nail shape is a canvas for self-expression, allowing you to showcase your individuality. Remember, it’s not just about trends but about finding the shape that resonates with you.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re now equipped to confidently communicate with your nail technician or embark on your at-home manicure adventures. Whether you prefer the classic elegance of oval or the bold statement of stiletto, the choice is yours. Embrace the creativity and versatility that nail shapes offer, and let your fingertips become a canvas for your unique style.

And who says you can’t do all shapes of nails? If you are feeling bored with your square-shaped nails, then try something different like oval or pointed-shaped nails.

Here’s to fabulous nails and endless possibilities – may your manicures be as vibrant and dynamic as you are!

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What are the 5 basic nail shapes for hand types?

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2 thoughts on “A Guide To The 5 Basic Nail Shapes – How To Pick The Right One

  1. The edge ones look like fountain pen nibs! I never knew there were so many. In looking at these I often get the almond press ons! I love the ballerina ones but avoid any nail shape with pointy bits lol

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