The Most Common Nail Shapes Explained

If you've ever been stuck in a moment of panic when your manicurist asks what nail shape you want this week, you're not alone. Good Housekeeping lists round, square, oval, squoval, almond, rounded square, ballerina, stiletto, and lipstick all as common nail shapes, but it's not easy to remember what each nail shape looks like, let alone what each is called. Here's a quick refresher.

Square nails are one of the more popular nail shapes for those with short nails. They look just as they sound, and are straight on the sides as well as the tip. Round nails are similar, but they're curved at the tip. Ideal for those with shorter fingers, round nails help make fingers appear longer and more narrow, and can make wider nail beds seem thinner, OPI educator and licensed lacquer and gel artist Sigourney Nuñez, told Harper's Bazaar. Rounded square nails are a combination of the two — think a slightly softer square.

Squoval nails are said to be universally flattering

Oval nails, on the other hand, are filed down on the sides to exaggerate the tip, making fingers look even more slender. If you've ever wondered the difference between oval and almond nail shapes, you simply have to look at the tip. Almond nails are filed down much further than oval nails to mimic the shape of an almond. According to Good Housekeeping, squoval nails are simply flat at the top, rather than pointed. "This is a universally flattering nail shape that looks good on short and long fingers," Nuñez told Harper's Bazaar.

The more extravagant (and at times impractical) nail shapes are stiletto, ballerina, and lipstick nails, often seen on celebrities like the entire Kardashian klan. These nails are more of an accessory and require acrylics to be applied to achieve the look. Ballerina nails, also known as coffin nails, are similar to squoval nails but are generally thinner and longer. Stiletto nails are shaped like a triangle, complete with a sharp-pointed tip, and lipstick nails are angular, in the shape of your favorite lipstick.