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Manicurists Reveal the Top Nail Shapes of 2023 That Are Sure to Flatter Your Fingertips

It's easy to make a stunning statement with your nails by just changing their shape

When it comes to our nails, we love experimenting with different polish shades and nail art to add pretty pizzazz to our fingers. What can also be flattering? Changing out your nail shape, which manicurists say can actually make hands look leaner and nails look longer. But with so many shapes to choose from, it can be hard to determine what’s best for you. So we polled nail experts for the best nail shapes 2023 that will work for you. Keep scrolling to see the shapes you should ask for at your next nail appointment.

Why wearing different nail shapes is so popular

Celebrity nail stylist Elle Gerstein says the drive to choose your nail shape is partially because of nail art, but the bigger part of it is that your nail shape is a way to show off your personal style. Deborah Lippmann, celebrity manicurist and brand founder, agrees: “I think people don’t feel the need to stick to one nail shape anymore and to become more playful and express themselves through a manicure.”

A chart of the different nail shapes 2023
BRO Vector/Getty

Michelle Nguyen, nail expert and founder of PLA, also notes that with so many styles and trends for nails, changing up your natural nail shape by adding extra length is becoming more common. “Nail artists can easily change the shape of your nails for you by either shaping your natural shape or building an extension for you,” she says.

The benefits of testing out different nail shapes

“The shape of the nail can help to elongate one’s hands and improve the overall hand appearance,” says Lipmann. Her tip? “Remember to look at the hands from two angles — with your hands straight out and in your buffing pose [with your nails curled in toward you]” to see if you like the shape. For the most natural look, Gerstein likes to create a shape that mirrors the cuticle, whether that’s round, oval or square. But this isn’t a hard rule as you can experiment with other shapes as well.

One thing to keep in mind when trying a new nail shape: It might take some trial and error to find the best shape for you. A style you liked when you saw it online might not be practical for your lifestyle, cautions Nguyen. Additionally, certain nail shapes might also not be a good fit for your nail base, she adds. “You might love square shaped nails, but not like the way they look on your hands.” If you end up not liking a certain shape after it’s been created, she says that it can easily be remedied by having your manicurist refile or remove an extension to create a new shape.

The top 6 nails shapes of 2023

Showing pictures to your manicurist of what you do and don’t like when it comes to picking a nail shape can be helpful. Here, the top nail shapes 2023 and the inspiration photos you can use as examples at your next manicure.

1. Nail shapes 2023: Almond nails

Woman with almond nails, which is one of the top nail shapes 2023
Klimenko Oksana/Getty

Almond nails are elongated oval-shaped nails with a slightly narrower tip. This shape is a favorite of the year for a feminine look, says Nguyen. “Although not too long, these give a little extra length to your nail base,” she says. Gerstein agrees: “Whether the almond comes to a point or is a little round — it’s the most requested shape right now.”

Gerstein says this shape is great for medium to extremely long lengths and it’s super flattering. “It’s not going to cut your nail in half visually like a square would,” she says. Additionally, shorter almond nails work well even if you work with your hands or type a lot because, as Gerstein says, you don’t have to worry about the corners of the nails getting in the way. 

2. Nail shapes 2023: Square nails

A woman with square nails, which is one of the top nail shapes 2023

Square nails, which are flat on top and have straight 90-degree corners, are making a big comeback, says Gerstein. And Nguyen agrees, saying “it’s all about short square” nails right now. This nail shape is easily created on natural nails, says Nguyen “and the square [shape] gives the appearance of a clean manicure without adding additional length to your base.” Best of all, square works for those with short nails since “it follows the walls of your nail and then it gets flattened out,” says Gerstein.

3. Nail shapes 2023: Coffin or ballerina nails

This nail shape, which mimics a coffin or the toe of a ballerina shoe, is best for longer nails as shown above by @merlin_nails on Instagram. Coffin or ballerina nails are more narrow than your typical square shape but do have a squared off tip, notes Lippman. “This shape is perfect for nail art — it really had a rise in popularity this year and will continue to grow into next year.” Long, narrow squared-off nails are great for a sophisticated, edgy look, notes Nguyen.

Gerstein adds that the ballerina or coffin shape is the most versatile as it can be customized to your liking. But this nail shape must be worn on a longer nail due to the shape itself, she notes. 

4. Nail shapes 2023: Round nails

Round nails, as shown above from @gelpolish_bar on Instagram, have straight sides but are rounded off at the edges. “This shape works well on all nail lengths and is a classic that many people turn to for their manicures,” says Lippmann. “It is great for anyone trying to keep a simple and neat manicure.”

5. Nail shapes 2023: Oval nails

Nails with an oval shape, like above from @raelondonnails on Instagram, are slightly more elongated than round nails and feature corners that curve inward. “Creating a more oval-shaped nail can also make the fingers appear longer and, in turn, younger,” explains Lippmann. “This classic shape is great for women of any age for a more lean looking hand.” She adds that “long, oval nails are so feminine.”

6. Nail shapes 2023: Squoval nails

This nail shape has a square silhouette but with rounded corners as shown above from @nailsbyalsn on Instagram. Lippmann says squoval nails are are universally flattering and are one of the most popular nail shapes of this year. Squoval nails offer “a smoothening of the edges to create more of an oval shape that really suits everyone,” she says. “With this nail shape, any nail design is possible and will achieve a gorgeous manicure.  However, a great classic design to pair with this shape is a French manicure.”

If you want to create these nail shapes 2023 yourself, watch the tutorial below from @PaolaPonceNails on YouTube.

Have short nails? You can still wear a new nail shape

For those who have shorter nails or want to add more length to nails to try out a new shape, it’s possible. Gerstein says using acrylics, gel extensions or Polygel allows you to choose your length no matter what shape your natural nails are in. “Shapes like stilettos, coffins and almond — a natural nail simply can never do that [kind of shape],” she adds. To see what option is best with you, discuss with your manicurist at your next salon visit.

Give new nail shapes a test run with press-on nails

Press-ons are a fun, quick way for women to test out nail shapes, says Nguyen. That’s because today’s versions come in different lengths, shapes and sizes — plus, a variety of solid colors and nail art. “Press-ons are also a good option when you don’t want to pay for a full professional nail set,” she adds. But they might not last as long as a professional manicure, especially since exposing press-ons to water can cause them to come off more easily.

Gerstein warns that taking off press-on nails can be a bit more damaging to your nails as well. For the best removal method, apply one drop of cuticle oil, like Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil (Buy from Deborah Lippmann, $22) to each nail to loosen the adhesive. This not only nourishes nails and cuticles, but Lippmann says it can also lower the risk of damaging the nails.

Related: The 8 Best Press On Nails According to Celebrity Manicurists

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