Rehab Your Nails: How to shape nails

7:00 AM

This is a quick guide to shaping your nails in a way that will flatter your hands and make your nails look the best they possibly can. I've had a lot of people ask exactly HOW to file and I'm working on bringing you a "how to" series which will address polishing, filing, shaping and some other things that I get asked about frequently.  For now, I have this mini guide to making nails look their best.  This deals a bit with nail beds and the length of your particular bed, so I feel that it fits in well with this months New Year New Nails series.  The pictures in this post are NOT mine.  I love you all but growing and nubbinizing my nails was just too much work for me! This girl did an amazing job of taking the pain out of this simple tutorial for you.  So here we go!

This first picture shows you two different shaped nails.  On the left you'll see that the nail is very short and because of the width and length of the nail bed, it's creating a square shape.  On the right we see the same nail but grown past the length of the tip of the finger so that now we have a more rectangular shape.  What I want you to notice about this is the way that her FINGER looks in each picture.  It's the same finger. The same hand. The same nail  But notice in the picture on the right how much slimmer her finger looks.  Keeping the nail length and the nail width complimentary can do wonders for the appearance of your hand! 

Now we're seeing the same effect here but with rounded nails.  Notice again how on the left the circle shape is making her fingers look more stubby and on the right her hand looks more slim and feminine.  Again, all that's changing is the proportion of the nail.  If you have longer nail beds, you may be able to carry off these shapes without much or any free edge but if you have shorter nail beds you'll need to carry more length to keep them in proportion.

Here we have two basic shapes.  On the left we have the dreaded triangle shape.  Notice the way it makes the tops of her fingers seem wider and shorter?  On the right we have the more pleasing rectangle.  Again this is slimming and lengthening the finger. The triangle shape happens to some people naturally but if it can be avoided it generally should.  You can fix this quite easily by taking in your sidewalls a bit. (Please note: You should never attempt to remove the side portion of your nail to the point where it hurts or loses it's natural curve. This can be dangerous and causes a breakdown in structure).

Finally, we go to the square vs. round shape.  This is a point of contention a lot because classically people tend to go for more oval or rounded shapes. It's a very modern and trendy thing to go square.  You can certainly choose which you like but do notice that the square shape (on the left) makes the fingers appear more wide and blunts the tips of them whereas the rounded shape (on the right) will make them appear more slender and elongate them.  If you have wider nail beds, a rounded shape may be to your advantage unless you are able to carry a lot of length.  If you have slimmer nail beds, you may want to go for the squared shape in order to give the appearance of width.  I hope this lesson in nail balancing and shaping has been helpful to you! Try out some different shapes and lengths on your own hands and watch the difference it makes!

The pictures shown on this page do not belong to me. They are from a nail care post by Into-Mind and the original post can be viewed at

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  1. Great post, I've never really thought about how a nail shape and length can change the appearance of your hand x

  2. Great post thanks! I always loved to have my nails in round shape but I like the rectangyular shape better now on me,x


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