Skip to content

Rounded tips, who? These are the most popular nail shapes this year

Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Confused by the concept of squoval nail shapes? Stumped when someone tells you they’ve opted to wear a stiletto on their fingers, or fascinated by how the girlies are running errands with their lipstick-shaped talons? We hear you; thanks to the proliferation of nail art trends popping up, suddenly the humble options of 'round' or 'square' seem insufficient and quite frankly outdated.

While the past few years have largely been dominated by the "coffin" nail shape (a long nail with a blunt tip) thanks to celebrity fans such as Kylie Jenner and Rihanna, or the long square nails sported by the likes of Megan Thee Stallion and our very own Cover Star Saweetie, the past year has seen the rise of a far more demure, subtle style — the squoval.

Not only is the squoval a great way to add a little edge to your nail while remaining very demure and practical, but they're also flattery and give the illusion of elongated nail beds. Alternatively, you can of course opt for the short version of squoval. They are praised for being more hygienic as pathogens, including viruses and bacteria can get trapped under long nails. That means less maintenance.

Still not sure which shape to go for? To clear things up — and so that you know what to ask for at your next nail appointment, whether you're having gels or acrylics done, we’ve come up with this ultimate guide to all the nail shapes you need to know about in 2022 — and asked experts about the benefits of each.

Squoval

Go for this if you’re confused — it’s usually the beginner's shape of choice, a great middle-ground between the square and oval and looks great on most hands. Session manicurist Ama Quashie makes the very good point that with this nail, you get a sharper tip (aka the look of a longer finger), but “without the right-angled corners that often get caught and break more easily.”

Round

If you’re all about practicality, this is the one to go for — this semi-circle is the ultimate “low-maintenance, understated look that’s tidy and lovely with or without colour”, according to Margaret Dabbs, Founder of global health and beauty brand, Margaret Dabbs London. If you type a lot or find long nails always break, this is the ideal shape for you.

Almond

You’ll need a bit more length for this — but if you have it, it’s a universally flattering option that elongates the hand for an elegant finish. Unsurprisingly, Ama Quashie refers to it as her favourite and claims it works wonders if you have “short stubby fingers like me”. Apparently, she’s not alone: at TOWNHOUSE, it’s one of their most-requested nail shapes.

Stiletto

This one’s a statement look that, according to Margaret Dabbs, works enormously well when paired with bold nail art or vibrant colours — though she warns that natural nails are more prone to breakage if you go for this shape, so draft someone in to carry the shopping/send your texts for you/do pretty much anything taxing in the hand department or check out our top tips for strengthening your nails. Alternatively, enroll to Cardi B's ‘how to function with long nails school’ where she will do virtual tutorials on how to do everyday tasks like changing a baby's nappies with those long and sharp talons.

Square

Straight at the sides, and flat on the top, Ama calls this the “sportier look” and says it looks pretty damn great when juxtaposed with ultra-feminine pillar-box red. It’s a good choice if you’ve got narrow nail beds and Margaret says it’ll give the “impression of extra width”.

Coffin

Popular on the ‘gram, the coffin shape has long, tapered edges and a straight, blunt tip. The length of the nail leaves space for nail art or experimental patterns, you should only go for this one if you a) wear fake nails, b) are willing to outsource anything you usually do with your hands as per stiletto nails.

Lipstick

These don't seem like the most practical, and could probably be as much of a hazard as stiletto nails, but either way, they deserve a spot on the best nail shapes. They're fun, quirky, and work for any nail length. They're shaped just like lipstick, hence the imaginative name and are right on trend.

Share this article: