With the rising popularity of nail art, we’re seeing more creativity than ever before in the way women choose to do their nails. From bright, fun colors, to sheer layers of glitter, to rhinestone decals, your imagination is the limit– well, other than practical concerns, like using a keyboard. From delightfully kitsch to posh and refined, changing up your nail color is a great way to change up your day-to-day look.
When it comes to nails, color and decoration aren’t the only aesthetic considerations: you’ll also want to consider the shape of the nail. There are several main nail shapes which occur naturally in women, or can be created through shaping by a manicurist. Long or short, pointed or rounded, different nail shapes may be more flattering or less flattering for different people. Here’s a basic rundown of the different nail shapes, along with their relative pros and cons.
Many of us just can’t stop unconsciously biting at our nails, leaving them shorter than we’d like. For decades, long nails have been considered more desirable, but recently, the paradigm may be shifting a little. Beginning in Spring/Summer 2015, short but neat fingernails began making appearances on runways and magazine pages. Short nails can look striking in dark colors like navy blues and forest greens, imparting a subtle “grunge” look.
Many people’s fingernails grow naturally into a rounded shape, and round nails are decidedly classic-looking. If you have large hands, rounded nails can draw the eye down toward the natural contours of the finger, making them look smaller but more elongated.
Square nails are an eye-catching way to draw attention to bright colors or inventive designs on your nails. Squared tips can make the nails look shorter than they really are, and if you have relatively wide hands, this style may not be particularly flattering.
Stiletto nails have a pronounced point to the end. This style can be quite chic, but it takes some balance to avoid looking too over-the-top. Very dark nail colors can make it look like you’re ready for Halloween a few months too early, so blacks and deep blues and purples should be avoided.
Almond nails aren’t pointed like stiletto nails, but rather, they’re elongated ever so slightly into a subtle oval shape. The narrowing tip helps elongate and slim the hands and fingers, and this style looks elegant with almost any color.
Whichever shape of nail you choose, it can help to find a professional manicurist, at least for the first shaping. They’ll help you determine whether you have short cuticles, what shape would look best, and what length is best suited to the nail shape you have in mind. The coloration or decoration you choose can also affect which shape is best. Current trends like nail art with negative space, crazy patterns, and graded sunset tones work best on healthy nails with a decent amount of length, and choosing the wrong shape could make your nails look gaudy or over-the-top. Nail shapes are also a great way to experiment with different looks if you shy away from attention-grabbing nail art or bold colors.