Whether you're at the salon and your manicurist asks you, "Round or square?" or if you're simply using a nail file at home, you need to know what nail shape is best for you. Even though the most popular nail shape is oval, you might be surprised to find out that it's not always the best shape for nails.
First, after taking off any nail polish, take a look at the half moon shape you see near your cuticle. If the half moon shape is curved, your nails will probably look best in an oval shape with rounded tips. However, flat ones are best suited for a square shape. If you're unsure or somewhere in between, try a mix of the two or a "squoval."
Another way to decide what nail shape is best for you is by looking at your nail beds. If they're short and wide or long and big, go for a square shape with rounded edges. For narrow and long oval nail beds, try a square shape with sharp edges. And, if you have an oval nail bed, you can just continue the look with an oval shape with rounded edges.
As for nail length, it's really about personal preference and lifestyle. If you use your hands a lot and tend to break long nails, it makes sense to keep them short. The shape of your nails can affect how strong they are as well. Oval nails tend to break more easily because the rounded edges can weaken them and cause them to split at the sides. Square shapes, on the other hand, are stronger because the sides and tip of the nail are even. If you like the oval look but want a stronger nail, try a rounded tip with square sides.
Learning how to paint your nails like a pro really comes down to gaining the same level of painting confidence as the people to whom you turn in the salon. Learn how to have to the tools and know how to get the job done.