20 Ways to Wear the Coffin Nails Trend (AKA Ballerina Nails)


@lifeofashley / Design by Camden Dechert

If you're anything like us, you're constantly dreaming up your next manicure. While choosing your color gradient is one of the most crucial (and most fun) parts of a great mani, you should also consider your desired shape. Trust us—it goes way beyond square and round. For example, squoval nails refer to ovular mid-length beds with squared tips, while stiletto nails feature long, dagger-like points. And then there are coffin-shaped nails, which are here to be your edgy middle-ground between the two.

If you can't quite picture what coffin nails—also known as ballerina nails—look like, just imagine Kylie Jenner's go-to manicure. It's all about long, narrowed, flat-edge nails that offer more space to bring stellar nail art to life.

Ahead, our favorite coffin nail looks to inspire your next manicure.

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Minimalist Neon

Love a neutral nail but want to hop on the neon color train? Us too. To get the look, merge the two with neon-bordered coffin-shaped nails. The long length allows for a bit more color than a short squoval shape, meaning, you're that much more likely to turn heads in the process.

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Wavy Ballerina

Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicures Wavy Ballerina


Squiggly lines add a touch of whimsy to these coffin nails. Choose a few complementary colors against a neutral base to recreate this gorgeous mani. Nail gems are optional but highly encouraged.

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Classic Red

Just like a bold red pout, classic red nails are guaranteed to make a statement. To cop this manicure, paint your nails with Smith & Cult's Color Nail Polish ($18) in Kundalini Hustle. The ultra-pigmented nail lacquer goes a long way, so you'll only need one coat to nail the look.

04 of 20


What if you could confine color to a short nailbed but still capture the essence of a long, coffin-shaped nail? Well, with this clear peach glitter mani, you can. These nails require professional skills, so be sure to make an appointment with a manicurist to bring the peach-pumpkin look to life.

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Polka Dot

Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicures Polka Dot


Be springtime fresh year-round with this cheery polka dot design. Featuring mismatched colors in a matching pattern, it makes for the ultimate intrigue. Best of all? It's totally DIY-able. Simply dip a bobby pin in polish and dab a drop over your base coat to get perfect polka dots.

06 of 20


Ah, pink or blue? A tale as old as time. These coffin nails look like they came straight from Kylie Jenner's IG feed, featuring a fun jelly finish and Sour-inspired butterfly nail art. If you have super long nails, you can paint the base yourself using a pink and blue polish of your choice.

07 of 20


Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicures Taupe Ballerina


Neutrals go a long way with coffin nails. Perfect for the nail novice, a solid taupe mani is a versatile, year-round look. Try Essie Treat Love & Color Strength and Color Nail Polish ($10) in Tonal Taupe to replicate this look.

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Neon Negative Space

Nude, neon, and negative space? What's not to love? These more keyboard-friendly coffin nails are simple as can be with just a pop of diagonal color on each corner. You can DIY the look with a little striping tape and a touch-up brush nearby.

09 of 20


Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicure Tie Dye


We can't forget Kylie Jenner's famous tie-dye coffin-shaped nails. The pale, blurred design is a summer staple that can be updated for every season by simply switching out the colors. While her mani was created by a celebrity manicurist, you can try to DIY the look by sponging your favorite colors on top of a white base coat.

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Water Marble

Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicure Watercolor Marble


The tips of these nails look like they were dipped in the ocean. To get the look, first, apply a transparent gel base coat. Then, dab blue and white gel polishes on a tile ($3) and use a toothpick to swirl the colors together. Scoop up your customized color with a gel brush ($10) and apply the polish from nail mids to tips, guiding and swirling the color.

You an use either an oval or square-tipped gel brush to apply your bespoke marble nail color. If you need more polish, try using the edge of your brush to drag the existing gel around the nail.

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Peach Gradient

Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicure Gradient


We love gradient nails that feature different shades within the same color family. And this pretty-in-peach palette is subtle but striking. Regardless of the occasion, these nails will make the perfect match.

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Two accent nails are better than one. Use them to complement and upgrade an otherwise standard mani. They can be as simple or as intricate as you want—or as your nail skills will allow—and this paisley number falls somewhere in between.

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Medium-Length Mauve

Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicure Mauve


Mauve is in all year 'round. Once you've nailed the coffin shape of these medium-length nails, the solid color is a breeze to pull off. Just don't forget a base and top coat to prevent chipping and make your mani last.

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Contrasted French

Pretty Coffin Nail Shape Manicure Contrasted Black French


White tips and a black nail bed make for a highly contrasted French mani, ballerina nails style. With its monochrome palette, this look is highly adaptable to any and all occasions—Halloween included.

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Rainbow coffin nails

@nailsdaily15 / Instagram

Rainbow color makes this the cheeriest of coffin-nail looks. Rather than paint nails entirely, add a pop of color at the tips using nail tape to get crisp, sharp, lines. Nicole Miller makes a colorful Mini Nail Polish Set ($19) in Floral Collection.

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This manicure is a work of art, literally. Inspired by Jean-Michel Basquiat's oeuvre, celeb nail artist Chaun Legend recreated the late artist's designs using coffin nails as his canvas. It's as impressive as it is Neo-Expressionist.

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Short, wintry coffin nails

@nailsdaily15 / Instagram

With their white and glitter tips, not to mention, their snowflake design, these short coffin nails make for the perfect winter manicure. Still, you can wear them any time of year by simply removing the snowflake or replacing it with another accent.

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These coffin nails are giving off serious '70s vibes. Bursts of color against a milky white base make it the grooviest manicure to top our list.

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Barbie Chrome

Metallic nails are having a moment. You can experiment with color as you see fit, but we're partial to this Barbie chrome mani. Try OPI Nature Strong Nail Lacquer ($10) in Intentions in Rose Gold to recreate the look.

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Matte Pink

Bubblegum pink nails read as fun and flirty. But rather than go with your traditional glossy finish, try going matte instead. You'll still be able to DIY your mani at home but the resulting look will be that more interesting.

  • How do you shape coffin nails?

    Coffin nails are long nails with a flat tip. To shape coffin nails, start by first filing them into an almond shape. Next, file straight out on each side and then gradually taper slightly toward the center. Once you have that shape, take clippers and cut straight across to get that flat tip. Lightly file for smoothness but keep the sharp flat edge at the end.

  • What is the difference between almond nails, ballerina nails and coffin nails?

    Almond nails have a rounded tip and slightly tapered sides. Ballerina nails and coffin nails are different ways to describe the same nail shape, which is long and tapered with a flat or square tip.

  • Can you have coffin nail shape on natural nails?

    Yes, but coffin nails are typically long so if your natural nails are the right length you can easily pull off this look. If not, try a shorter version or opt for acrylics to get the perfect look with all your nails the same length and size. Acrylic nails are also more durable than natural nails, especially when your nails are long. 

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