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The Definitive Guide to Every Nail Shape

Written by: Ellie Simmons



Time to read 7 min

From the natural curve of a rounded nail to the pointed stiletto, there are so many nail shapes to choose from for your next mani.

The possibilities are endless! But to help you figure out which shape to go for, we’ve filed it down, rounded it off and buffed it down to the most popular and best nail shapes of all time. These lengths and shapes can be achieved on natural nails, soft gel extensions, builder gel, acrylics name it!

Let's dive in...

Nail Shapes Chart

As a quick reference, we've put together this super handy nail shapes chart of the 7 most popular nail shapes.

We'll take a closer look at each shape of nails and our recommended tools and steps for achieving the perfect shape, but you can use this as a guide to shape your own nails at home or to plan what to ask your nail tech at your next salon appointment.

Our Essential Tools for Shaping Your Nails

If you're shaping your nails at home, it's important to have the right tools on hand. Most importantly, great quality tools.

We've created a little checklist below of our essential nail shaping tools, so you can make sure you've got everything you need before getting started.

  • Cuticle pusher and nippers for prepping and tidying up overgrown cuticles

  • 180-grit nail file for shaping the edge of your nail

  • Nail clippers for trimming down long nail lengths

  • Nail buffer for creating grit on your nail surface ready for polish

  • Nail extension tips  to create length and shape for your nails without needing to grow or shape your natural nails

Let's take a closer look at each of the popular nail shapes below and how you can achieve them.

#1 Round Nail Shape

Round-shaped nails offer a more defined curve of your natural nail shape. This shape suits all hands and nail lengths and is one of the easiest shapes to file your nails into.

Our beautiful brand ambassador @emfrancescanails created these gorgeous spring nails with a perfect round shape using our Apricot Jam shade from our SS24 collection.

How to File a Round Nail Shape

To file your nails with a rounded edge, simply follow the curve of your fingertip with a Half Moon Nail File – and that's it!

Alternatively, you can use our Fix 'N' Flash Tips in Short Round to achieve a perfectly curved nail shape to cut down on filing time.

Our 5-in-1 Builder Gel is another fantastic option for extending and shaping your nails.

#2 Square Nail Shape

A modern classic with all straight edges! A square nail shape is easy to achieve if you have a bit of length on the sides of your nails and can get your hands on a good nail file (we recommend our 3 Pack Nail Files for easy shaping.

How to File a Square Nail Shape

Simply file in a straight light on the top of your nails and on the sides to get a 90-degree angle on the edges.

Or, you can use our Fix 'N' Flash Tips in Long Square or Short Square to achieve a perfect square nail shape without the filing.

#3 Oval Nail Shape

The oval nail shape is a longer, more egg-shaped nail with a rounded tip. This is similar to a rounded nail, but with a bit more length, so it really helps to elongate the nail and fingers.

The set above was created by our BA @rubypolish over on Instagram, and we can't get over how sweet and perfect this look is.

How to File an Oval Nail Shape

Use the 180-grit side of our Half Moon Nail Files to file the sides of your nails straight, and then round off the end to create that egg shape.

Once you've shaped your nails, you can finish off the rest of your nail prep using our essential nail tools, ready for your gel polish application.

#4 Squoval Nail Shape

This shape is quite similar to a square by design. But instead of those sharp 90-degree edges, it has more rounded edges, which makes it a lot softer looking and less sharp!

How to File Squoval Nails

To achieve this look, simply file your nails square, then run your files over the edges to round them off slightly.

If you want to extend and shape your nails, apply our Fix 'N' Flash Tips in Long Square and round off the edges.

#5 Coffin Nail Shape

As the name of this shape suggests, this nail shape mimics the shape of a coffin with a tapered square edge! They're also referred to as ballerina nails.

How to File a Coffin Nail Shape

To create this shape, you start out by filing the sides of the nail into a point. But, instead of leaving it with a point you file the top edge straight, leaving the tip with an angle.

If you want to extend the length of your nails, our Magic Extender Gel is a really easy way to do this and get a coffin nail shape.

Simply apply a small dot of Extender Gel onto a cured base coat, using the Dual-Ended Tool and a small amount of Slip Solution to lightly pat the gel onto your nail surface.

Cure under our Pro LED Lamp for 60 seconds.

Use our Half Moon Nail File to file your nail extensions into a coffin shape.

#6 Almond Nail Shape

This natural nail shape is super popular. Almond nails have tapered sides and a rounded tip, which elongates the nail a bit more than a purely rounded shape.

@nailsbyesthersho has created these stunning almond nails using our Gold Flake No Wipe Top Coat over a black gel polish. The effect is a gorgeous and sophisticated look that adds some sparkle to the classic almond shape.

How to File Almond Nail Shape

Simply file the sides of your nail to bring it to a point, and then round off that point at the tip.

We also have two Fix 'N' Flash almond shapes in short and long lengths, which take out the filing, shaping and buffing and make it super easy to get your almond shape.

#7 Stiletto Nail Shape

This is the ultimate dramatic long nail look with a pointed tip! Super elegant, but not the most practical – but that's why we love it!

How to File a Stiletto Nail Shape

File the sides of your nails and taper them in to create a sharp point at the tip, like a triangle.

Our Magic Extender Gel is also fantastic for creating these nails, and you can get really precise with the thick gel. 

Summary: Nail Your Next Mani With Mylee

Whichever nail shape you choose, we have a huge range of gel nail products and tools that make achieving the best nail shape even easier!

Our Fix 'N' Flash Tips take out the work and time needed to file and shape your natural nails – our soft gel tips come pre-shaped and pre-buffed, ready for your gel polish and nail art application.

For more control over your nail shape and length, our Builder Gel and Magic Extender Gel are another fab choice.


What is the most popular nail shape right now?

We see a lot of nail designs and different nail shapes, and we mean A LOT! The most popular shape at the moment is the almond shape, closely followed by round nails. They’re perfect for all lengths and hands and pair perfectly with Mylee gel polish.

What nail shape is easiest to type with?

This all depends on the types and their abilities but a natural rounded or square shape would be perfect for all your typing and tapping needs.

Which nail shape is the weakest?

If your nail is topped with a layer of Mylee Builder Gel or Top Coat or Fix ‘N’ Flash Tips, there is no such thing as a weak shape! However, if we had to choose, we would say the stiletto shape is the weakest. The tip is so pointed it leaves the nail susceptible to breakages and puts strain on the sides of the nail if not cared for correctly.

What nail shape looks best on small hands?

To help smaller hands look a little longer, we would recommend a rounded or almond shape this will help to give the effect of longer fingers on narrow nail beds.

What shape do nails grow naturally?

Everyone is different some of us have naturally rounded shaped nails, and some of us grow naturally square-shaped nails.

Ellie Simmons

Ellie is a Brand Ambassador for Mylee. Alongside being a skilled and certified nail technician, Ellie's expertise extends to gel manicures and nail extensions.

Her heart and soul are devoted to all things nail-related, and she loves flaunting her own long, natural nails with captivating nail art. Ellie's ultimate favourites are iridescent and sparkly designs!

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