A Complete Guide to Every Type of Nail Shape

From stiletto to squoval.


@NAIL_UNISTELLA / Design by Zackary Angeline

So, you're thinking about your next manicure appointment. With so many photos and ideas circulating the 'gram, how could you not? But with all those photos comes a whole lot of questions—and we're not just talking about which colors to choose. Instead, it all comes down to shape.

Do you want coffin-shaped nails? No? Too long? Well, perhaps almond. Still not your jam? What about squoval? These internal questions could go on forever. That's why we took it upon ourselves to create a guide to every nail shape. That way you'll know exactly what you're getting into when you ask your manicurist for edge nails or the ever-elusive flare.

So, what're you waiting for? Keep scrolling to discover the top 10 nail shapes known to Instagram. At last, you'll be able to answer your own nagging nail question.

01 of 10

Round-Shaped Nails

As the name implies, round-shaped nails are, well, rounded. Easy, right? Unlike some of the other nail shapes in this round-up, round nails are especially great for shorter lengths, as they only require rounded edges for a conservative manicure finish.

02 of 10

Square-Shaped Nails

Yet another obvious nail shape, square nails are all about flat edges and corners. They can be short or long, though mid-length is often preferred. The ever-popular Kiss Press-On Nails often take this square shape, so if you're not sure if you're ready to bluntly file your edges, consider testing the shape out with a store-bought set.

03 of 10

Oval-Shaped Nails

We know what you're thinking: How are oval nails different than round nails? Well, for one, they're longer. What's more, in addition to being rounded at the tip, the sides of the nails are also filed flat to create the elongated shape.

04 of 10

Squoval-Shaped Nails

As you might have guessed, squoval-shaped nails are characterized by an ovular shape with squared edges at the tip. They're a popular choice, as they're the shape that most closely matches a natural nail bed. As a result, they don't require a ton of filing and shaping to score the double-click-worthy silhouette.

05 of 10

Edge-Shaped Nails

Want to really take your nail shape to the next eye-catching level? Allow us to introduce you to edge nails. Rather than a smooth stiletto shape, these nails feature—you guessed it—edges to create the 3-point tip. So, instead of a straight line from the base to the tip, these nails feature points on each side of the nail that are then filed into a single point at the tip.

06 of 10

Ballerina- or Coffin-Shaped Nails

Whichever moniker you choose for the manicure trend ("coffin nails" seems to be the name de jour on Instagram), the look is the same: A long, tapered, stiletto-like shape finished off with a flat square tip. Think about just about every manicure Kylie Jenner posts to her grid and Instagram Stories. If you love the look but want more inspo, be sure to follow celebrity manicurist Chaun P. Legend, the man behind Kylie's most popular nail looks. The LA-based nail artist knows a thing or two not only about trendy shapes, but must-have patterns too (hi, cow print).

If you're creating this shape on your own with natural nails, try using nail scissors to create sharper lines, then buff away any inconsistencies with an emery board—filing in one direction rather than sawing back and forth.

07 of 10

Almond-Shaped Nails

Almond-shaped nails are easily one of the most popular nail shapes of the year. They're characterized by a long ovular shape that tapers slightly at the tip, creating the signature almond silhouette. Think of it as a more conservative stiletto or coffin nail, as it maintains length and an ever-so-slightly rounded point at the very tip of the nail.

08 of 10

Stiletto-Shaped Nails

Just like the fan-favorite shoe style this shape is named after, stiletto nails feature ultra-sharp, dagger-like points. They're typically reserved for long nails, though mid-length tips can get away with the look too. Given their super slim design, they're often layered with gel or acrylic to help prevent them from breaking.

09 of 10

Lipstick-Shaped Nails

Lipstick-shaped nails are one of those trends that some people are totally obsessed with while others could simply do without. The controversial shape features diagonal edges that create the appearance of a stick of lipstick and is the brainchild of Park Eunkyung, the woman behind the cult-favorite Instagram account @nail_unistella. While the shape is trendy in and of itself given its bold nature, Eunkyung says she actually created it out of comfort and curiosity, noting that, while it looks different, it's an incredibly convenient and comfortable nail shape.

10 of 10

Flare-Shaped Nails

Here we have another controversial nail shape that some people love for its extra space for nail art, but others hate given its resemblance to duck feet (no offense to our quacking cousins, of course). Given nails don't naturally grow out further than the edges of the nail bed, flare-shaped nails are often the result of acrylic manicure appointments. They're not the most popular nail look, though in the ever-changing world of beauty, you never know.

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