Nail Shapes 101

I don’t know about you but I love a good personality test.  Meyers Briggs, AEM Cube, Strengths Finder … you name it – put me in a box and pigeon hole me!  I know most people crave uniqueness and individuality, but personally, I love being reminded that there are other people out there like me.

This got me thinking about nail shapes – does someone’s file style reflect their personality?

There’s no such thing as the perfect nail shape – ultimately it’s all down to taste.  So, what are the options?

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Oval – this shape is achieved by filing the nail into an egg-shape.  It’s necessary to take off quite a bit of the sides of the nails, which can weaken them in the long run.  It is also dependent on the nail being long enough to attain the desired shape.  It is good for people who have quite wide nails as it makes them appear more feminine.

Bubble sea nails

Square – this shape is formed by allowing the nail to grow out and then filing across the tip of the nail, perpendicular to the nail length, while maintaining straight edges at the sides.  It looks good on long nails but can accentuate the bluntness of short nails.

Demilune Ruffian Nails

Squoval – this shape is a combination of the square and the oval and is achieved by filing a straight tip and then softening off the corners.  It gives a feminine look and is great for both long and short nails.  It is also hard-wearing and good if you are trying to grow your nails out because the sides aren’t thinned and weakened.  For advice on helping your nails grow strong and long, read this.

Flamingo nails

Round – this shape is created by filing the tip into a circle shape that runs parallel to the shape of the white moon at the base of the nail (otherwise called the lunula, in case you were interested!).  It is perfect if you like to keep your nails short.

Yellow crowned nails

Stiletto – this shape, sometimes called mountain peak or pointed, is not advised for natural nails as it would weaken the nail completely.  The sides are filed away so that the nail forms a long point at the centre.  Think Lady Gaga!  I only paint my natural nails so have never tried these but to get an idea – see here.

Almond – this is a less drastic version of the stiletto shape made by filing the sides of the nail to form a soft, shallow point at the centre.  It can be achieved on natural nails but ultimately weakens the nail and prevents them from growing very long.

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Straight-edged circle – this shape is similar to the square shape in that the edges are straight, but rather than the tip being a straight line, it forms a semicircle.  It provides strength and support for the nail, much like the squoval shape, and is good for growing out nails.

Illusion stripe nails

Edge – this shape has straight edges like the square shape, but the tip forms a point at the centre.  It is good for adding drama and can work on long or short nails.  If the tip is broken, it can easily be filed into a squoval or round shape.  This is another style I am yet to try but you can see an example here.

Oblique – this shape is achieved by having straight edges but filing the tip at a slant so that it creates a point that is off centre.  It is not very practical and wouldn’t be advised for a long-term shape but if you were transitioning from long to short, it could be an option to trial before filing your nails down.  Again, I’ve never opted for this style but here’s some evidence it can be done.

So which nail shape are you sporting and does it reflect your personality?

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I currently have a squoval look … hmmm … I’ll leave you to decide whether my personality matches up!

Tweed and Border Nails

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4 Tips to Make Your Manicure Look Professional

Do you ever spot someone’s manicure and think ‘wow, they look so shiny, she’s definitely been for a professional manicure!’? It used to frustrate me that I couldn’t achieve the same level of excellence. Now I see people’s manicures and think ‘she definitely did that herself’ and I get frustrated that people don’t use these simple steps to make their manicures look professional.

1. Base coat

This prevents weak nails breaking and helps give a smooth surface and easier application for the coats of colour.

2. Two coats of colour

The first provides a guideline and can be quite thin. The second provides fuller coverage and gives a more vibrant overall colour and needs to be fairly thick.

3. Neat lines

Aim to start with the brush in the middle of the nail near the base and don’t hit the edges or the cuticle. The moment you do, it looks unprofessional so wipe away any varnish that touches the sides immediately.
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4. Top coat

This makes your nails shine like shellac and hardens them to last longer.

For advice on what products to use, click here and for directions on application watch this.

Dry Marble Nails

Related articles: How to Make a Manicure Last a Week

How to Make a Manicure Last a Week

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All too often I’ve had friends complain that when they paint their nails their efforts only seem to last a matter of days. Over the last couple of years I’ve been learning and refining some easy techniques to make manicures more durable. Here are my top tips:

When you paint your nails it is vital to apply the correct amount of varnish with each coat in order to ensure a longer lasting finish and mastering your brush technique can help do this.

Hold the varnish with two hands – one on the lid and one on the bottle. Then as you lift the brush out of the bottle tap it on the far rim and drag it towards you along the nearside rim. The tap removes excess polish and the drag makes the brush flat and wide which means you can apply the varnish to each nail in just three strokes without the need to re-load the brush with extra paint mid nail. The shorter the tap, the less varnish will be removed from the brush and therefore the thicker the coat will be. The coats should be as follows:

1. Base coat

It seems obvious to say it but so many of my friends miss this stage out. Their nails chip or break because they aren’t protected by a base coat. When applying the base it should take three swipes – one to the left, one to the right and one to the centre. Before moving on to the next nail apply a little stroke of the brush to the front ridge of the nail. The nail tip is the area that will most likely be chipped first and so applying varnish here holds off any premature damage.

2. Thin first coat of colour

This is more of a guideline and helps you to work out which areas on the canvas could get missed. For example, it’s easy to leave too much of the far side of your nails naked because you can’t see them as easily. With fairly transparent varnishes the first coat may come out slightly streaky or uneven but the thick second coat will solve this. Don’t forget to swipe the tip before moving on to the next nail.

3. Thicker second coat of colour

This evens out the coverage and ensures no areas are missed. It should still take only three strokes of the brush if you’ve mastered the amount of varnish, plus a swipe to the tip of the nail.

4. Nailart design

(Optional)

5. Top coat

This adds shine and hardens the colour and is the final key stage to making sure your manicure will last a week. Again, remember to swipe the tip of the nail with the brush. If you have opted for nailart rather than just block colour you will need to wait longer before applying the top coat and you will need a much thicker coat to avoid streaking or smudging your design. If your pattern is very intricate, you may like to dab the top coat on gently in thick applications rather than stroking it on to avoid ruining it.

Yellow crowned nails

There you have it! Enjoy your week-long manicure and come back soon for more tips.

Related articles: 4 Tips to Make Your Manicure Look Professional