Finding your perfect nail shape

Shaped nails with coloured french tips

While we all love acrylics, nail art and manicures of any kind – it’s all too easy to neglect the foundation of every gorgeous fingertip – the perfect nail shape. 

While choosing colours to match your outfit, season or mood, any look can be totally enhanced by finding a nail shape that works with your design, finger length and hand shape. 

From elongating to accentuating to drawing the eye, the shape of your manicure has much more power than you might think! 

So which nail shape is right for you? And what nail shapes of 2021 came out on top? 

Let’s find out!

The almond nail shape

Best for – everyday elegance

The Almond Nail has taken the beauty world by storm with its universal ability to add dreamy sophistication to pretty much any hand shape or design style. King of classy nail shapes, you’ll leave the salon with slim sides that taper towards the end, with a gently rounded tip…like an almond! Adding length and definition to your hands, it’s effortlessly elegant every day. Works really well with a neutral or nude polish for that sophisticated shine. The only catch? You’ll need longer natural nails to start with, or acrylics to achieve the desired effect.  

The oval nail shape

Best for – pops of colour

The oval is a great natural nail shape that can usually be achieved no matter your current length. You’ll be getting a medium to long finish, with straight-filed sides that end in a soft semicircle. The ideal canvas for something poppy, bright and fun, use this simpler design to unleash your wild side with whacky colour pairings – think Promising Young Woman!

The square nail shape

Best for – thinner hands

Straight-filed sides and a straight-filed edge, the square nail gives an athleisure finish. Strong and dependable, they’ll stand out and add definition to hands that can feel too long or thin. Because they add visible width to the appearance of your nails, you might want to steer away from these if you are wanting to add length with your looks. 

The coffin nail shape

Best for – fashion-forward edge

Also referred to as ‘The Ballerina’, the coffin shape is set to take 2022 by storm. The perfect blend of edgy and feminine, this shape compliments the city street strut oh-so-well. Your artist will be filing the nail into a tapered point, finishing with a flattened tip. So, beware, you’ll need long and sturdy natural nails to pull the coffin shape off, or some serious acrylic additions. 

The stiletto nail shape

Best for – a dramatic finish

Strike a pose, and show those stilettos a night on the town! This dramatic shape involves filing your nails into a sharply pointed tip, so while they aren’t the best for office hours they work wonders for creating a strong first impression. Usually achieved with acrylics, you could achieve this look with some seriously strong natural nails. However, acrylics provide a great base for some edgy art to top off this gravity-defying shape. 

Still unsure? You can always review the full set of shapes before deciding, by asking your artists if they have any shaped acrylics in stock. As a general guideline, Almond-shaped nails tend to suit everyone! So they are always a good option. If you have short palms or short fingers – opt for a rounded shape over a square edge. For longer palms and fingers, you will likely find stilettos and squares suit you well. 

Want to turn your nail art passion into a thriving business? Then invest in your future and secure a spot with our Manicure and Pedicure course, or explore our Certificate in Nail Tech. Led by industry professionals, you’ll have 24/7 access to our incredible learning materials. So you can start your side hustle around any other commitments. Plus, we offer you affordable payment plans, with a custom beauty kit included. So nothing is holding you back! 

Whether you dream of working for yourself and choosing your own hours or picture yourself working alongside the best in the business in a bustling, popular salon – the potential is endless with our qualifications under your belt. Join us today!

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
Still wondering which course is the perfect fit for you?

Got a few more questions before you enrol?

Then get in touch!  We’re here to help in whatever way we can.

Address: 142 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand 1023

Phone: 0800 121 805

New enquiries email: [email protected]

Student support: help.nzbeautyschool.co.nz

Icon Icon
Need help?

Ask us about our courses, or get help with your existing course

Are you a Beauty School student?


Have a question about your course?

Check out our Help desk. We cover topics like;