Nail Shapes: This isn’t preschool! Part 1

Who knew that beauty school would be like going back to preschool? I remember the day we started on nail technologies, my students were so excited, they had been waiting for this for months.

As they spent the night looking at pictures of nails and nail art on pinterest: I sat looking at pictures of shapes and the small amounts of basic engineering for each kind(along with fungal infections and other gross pics). As you can guessed: the first day of nail class was as exciting as the first day of preschool….and disappointing for my students.

But Nail Shapes are very important, especially if you want to keep your 30$+ manicure or 50$+ set of artificial nails.

From the top image you can see there are a lot of different shapes to nails. really the left side is the more basic, different styles of almond nails are really just varying degrees of shape between almond nails and stiletto nails.

What Shape are YOUR Nails?

First we need to know what kind of natural nails do you have? To determine what best fits your fingers, and what will no break or hurt to have a certain shape. This also helps determine what kind of service you should go for: manicure, spa upgraded manicure, gel nails, tips, acrylics?



The most common I have seen in 10 years in our region is flat nails. This creates a wide nail that creates several problems. Anything that isn’t square shape on the nails,  make them look wider. If you really wanted a different look, I would suggest that they’d have to be longer(which not everyone can have due to work/lifestyle/previous experience).  I find lots of clients come in complaining that the last time they got gel nails with tips, they said they hurt and left a big sore ridge/line on their nail.  This is from possibly the tip they used was for arched nails(which are more common, all press on nails I find are way more arched), or over filing of the nail (especially using a dremel tool).

gel nails

Arched nails, are what I have, have the another problem that comes along with getting artificial nails. If you do put the wrong tip(a flat tip) on them, they just won’t stay on, the tip will not stayed in a bent position and will always flight to get back to a flatter position. This results in them just popping off, lifting at the free edge, or breaking at the edge(which hurts!).

Nail Facts
  • Nails grow faster in the summer in comparison than in the winter
  • Nails grow approx. 3.7mm per month
  • The 3 characteristics of healthy nails are: smooth, shiny and translucent pink.

Concave/Convex nails(both can be referred to as “eggshell” nails) these nails are super malformed, either scooping in or bending over the free edge, both are very thin, bendy and flake/tear off.

Both of these types of nails, I would suggest using tips first to add strength to the gel. Then keep getting gel fills, as gel isn’t are hard on your nails. They will have the chance to grow without tearing. After a few fills you should have a good natural nail base and just a gel coat.

Acorn/Angular/Fan Nails are another hard one to work with. Both need to be corrected before doing a artificial nail set. This is because they are so wide, and usually they have lots of cuticle and/or eponychium (that weird thin skin that grows up over your nail from your cuticle). Sometimes the skin is hard to get off so a manicure first, usually with a scrub and lots of moisture will help get rid of that excess skin first.


Check Back Next Monday for Part 2 about more Shapes to Choose from after you have made your nail base ready.


2 thoughts on “Nail Shapes: This isn’t preschool! Part 1

  1. Pingback: Wedding Trend Report: Wedding Nail Styles

  2. Pingback: Trends: Wedding Nails | Scotia Kauppi -esthetician/MUA 807-251-2891

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