When it comes to nail shapes, there are seven that are most popular. (Here, we talk through them clockwise.) To start, there’s the very polished looking almond. “These are slim on the sides and wide on the base and come to a rounded peak,” says Deborah Lippmann, celebrity manicurist and brand founder. She also says it’s a very European and chic look.
The most traditional of the bunch are oval shaped tips: “It’s a rounded shaped nail with corners that curve inward,” she says. It’s a go-to for those who want the appearance of longer fingers even if yours are short and stubby.
If you prefer to keep your nails short, rounded tips are probably for you. There’s no bells or whistles with this shape, just a basic nail that has rounded or curved sides.
Next is the square shaped nail. You guessed it, this is when the nail is shaped like a, well, square and extends across the entire width of the nail bed. Nearly as popular as the oval nail, but Lippmann says this shape is ideal for those with long nail beds and long fingers.
The last of the “natural” (read: don’t require gels, fake nails, or strengtheners to keep the shape) is the squoval. Read on below for more info on this shape, but a top line note is that’s a good blend of square and oval.
The final two: Stiletto and coffin-shaped nails have a bit more pizazz and spunk—they also usually need professional tools to achieve them. “Stiletto nails are similar to almond nails, but with a much more drastic point,” Lippmann says. You may not find this nail look at your 9-5, but it’s certainly a hit amongst the A-listers. And the same goes for coffin shaped nails. This is a squared nail with a tapered end, but Lippmann says it’s not ideal if you use your hands a lot. But it may be a good option if you have weaker nails that tend to break since it will protect it from breaking or bending.