9 Best Nail Shapes for Your Clients’ Hands
Adapted from the Drop, OPI’s nail blog.
Your clients’ hands are all beautifully unique, and to enhance that beauty, you’ll want to flatter those tips. First, you’ll need to figure out which nail shape works for them by determining the shape of their cuticles and nail beds. Push back their cuticles with a cuticle stick to look at their true cuticle shape, then get started.
Start shaping by filing the sides down and narrowing them out a bit. Depending on the shape you're going for, you’ll go narrow. For best results, file in one direction, lessening the fraying of the nail. Once you get the sides down, start to refine the tip to get your final shape.
1. Short Fingers
Best Shape: Round Nails.
This shape elongates fingers, making them look slender and wide nail beds appear thinner. Start by filing and following the natural shape of the fingertip. Ask your client to flip hands and check the symmetry of the curve.
2. Wide Nail Beds & Long Nails
Best Shape: Oval Nails.
This runway favorite elongates nails in width and length. It’s similar to an almond shape but slightly blunter. File each side of the nail, and slightly curve your file toward the center of the nail to create an egg-like shape.
3. To Lengthen & Slim Fingers
Best Shape: Almond Nails.
Slender at the sides and slim at the base, this is an instantly flattering shape. File each side of the nail and shape the tip by narrowing the free edge to create a peak.
4. Low Maintenance
Best Shape: Square Nails.
If your client has long, narrow nail beds and a short length, this is the shape for them. Looking for extra length? Acrylic fans rejoice, long square nails are the perfect canvas for trending shades and nail art. Achieve this shape by filing in a straight line across the free edge.
5. The Universal Shape
Best Shape: Squoval Nails.
This universally flattering nail shape looks good on short and long fingers. Part-oval and part-square, this is super easy to maintain on short nails. Start by filing straight across, then round of the corners in one long stroke, connecting the free edge together. Adjust as needed.
6. Short Fingers and Long Nails
Best Shape: Stiletto Nails.
This shape is made for long nails (we recommend with acrylics) that ends with a sharp statement point. This is like an almond shape, but more pointed. Find the center of the nail tip, then shape both sides by filing into a slight taper towards the nail tip. Next, begin shaping the tip by narrowing the free edge to create a peak.
7. For the Acrylic Enthusiasts
Best Shape: Ballerina Nails.
This shape requires salon maintenance. Long, slim, and squared off at the tip, this shape suits long, slender fingers and angled cuticles. They’re called ballerina nails because the tip resembles a pointed shoe. Looking for something with a bit more edge? Try a related shape with coffin nails, this shape is slightly more angled than ballerina nails and is less rounded when it comes to the sides of the nail.
8. The Influencer
Best Shape: Lipstick Nails.
Be a trendsetter! This squared nail style slants diagonally for a seriously unique nail shape.
9. The Diva
Best Shape: Long Square Nails.
If your client has long, narrow nail beds and prefers a long length or acrylics, this is the shape for them. Try trending shades and nail art like an ombre on long square nails. Achieve this shape by filing in a straight line across the free edge and parallel to the sidewall. Perfect for filing down into other shapes when wanting to switch up for something different.
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