Nine different nail shapes to consider for your next manicure. (Yes, nine!)

When you get a manicure, you have a far bigger decision to make than just the colour of your nail polish; you also need to select a nail shape.

And there are a surprising amount of options.

From styles that are better suited to acrylic nails, to those that elongate shorter nails, there’s a formula to picking the most flattering nail shape to go with your shellac gel or SNS manicure.

We picked the brains of Adelaide-based manicurist, Vanessa Schirripa of Pretty Little Things Beauty (Instagram: @pretty_little_things_beauty), for her professional opinion.

Yes, you can take off acrylic nails at home to reduce nail damage, but you’ll need a bottle of acetone handy.

Video by MMC

Almond Nails

“Almond nails take the classic shade of a rounded or oval nail and update the style with a modern and tapered edge,” says Vanessa.

“They’re suitable for someone looking for more length without resorting to the coffin shape, which might be too daring for some people. The overall effect is a more feminine and elegant-looking hand.”


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Square Nails

A little bit retro, there's a nostalgic aspect to a 'french trip' square-nail manicure that takes us right back to the 90s and 00s.

Vanessa says this nail shape is still on trend thanks to its flattering shape which suits most hands.

"Whether you have elongated fingers or tiny dancer hands - the square nail will always be a neat and polished nail choice."



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ombré ✨????

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Oval Nails

"A tried and tested classic, oval nails are fantastic for smaller hands," says Vanessa.

"This shape will mimic the appearance of extra length, even if you don't actually have it."



Rounded Nails

Another manicure staple, rounded nails are more curved than their oval and almond counterparts, and are the perfect shape to compliment people with a more rounded nail bed.


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~ muted grey + gold inspo ⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Squoval Nails

A little bit square and a little bit oval, the squoval nail adds the appearance of length and suit people with both squared and curved nail beds.

"They are a modern and universally flattering shape with a square edge and slightly rounded corners. It’s also an easy shape to maintain on shorter nails," Vanessa says.

We're sold.


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Listen: This Glorious Mess asks, should little girls be allowed to get manicures?

Ballerina Nails (or Coffin Nails)

A favourite among the Kardashian clan, ballerina/coffin nails are a squared off stiletto shape and the talon-esque shape will have you looking "strikingly cool".

"The great thing about this shape is that it can vary in length and you can choose from daytime to disco. Perfect to lengthen the shortest of nails or show off longer shapes," says Vanessa, and recommends going all out with the look and adding in some embellishment.

"Make Kimmy West proud!"


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Lipstick Nails

A style that will definitely have you standing out, there's nothing subtle about this shape... which is definitely the point.

You're going to go through a considerable amount of filing whether you're using an acrylic base or your natural nails which means you're going to have to up your nail care.

"We recommend coats of nail hardener to point you in the right direction for this daring trend," says Vanessa.

Pointed Nails

Not quite as lengthy as the 'stiletto nail' but just as dramatic, again Vanessa says you'll want to invest in your nail health to ensure your nails are "strong and sturdy for these daring looks".


OPI's Nail Envy, $34.45, is a favourite for keeping your nails in tip top condition.


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Stiletto Nails

This style combines height with a dramatic pointed tip, which is why Vanessa says you're probably going to want to look into artificial or acrylic nails if you want to try the trend.


All the more reason to grab a magazine or download a podcast and book yourself in for a lengthy manicure appointment... don't mind if we do.


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What is your go-to nail shape? Tell us in a comment below.

This content was originally published on July 12, 2017 and was updated on April 12, 2019.