Short Nail Shapes You Need to Try

short nail shapes
Written by Allison

Short nail shapes are always on trend.

As a dedicated nail care enthusiast it genuinely bums me out to have short nails. Every time I break a nail or two to a noticeably shorter length, I’m compelled to even them all out. My current set of short nails has finally started to grow past the tips of my fingers (ahem, grown out gel nails). I’m due for a manicure any day now (let’s not talk about how grown out my gels are here) which got me thinking about short nail shapes.

short nail shapes

In general I go for a “squoval”. It’s the short nail shapes between a square and oval.

short nail shapes

This time I went for something even softer. This is softer than the traditional squoval, but not quite a rounded nail.  As far as short nail shapes go, you can really do anything long nails can do, besides the stiletto nail. There is the one caveat though: your nails can’t be broken down to the quick. You do need a little wiggle room to play here, but so long as your nails are somewhere in the vicinity of the tips of your fingers, you’ll be good.

Top 6 short nail shapes

We’re going to go from easiest to hardest here. The further down we get in this list, the more likely it is that you’ll need longer nails. These short nail shapes are all brought to you by the power of photoshop!

Square nails

Square nails are the short-nail go-to. If your nails are only a smidge past the quick, you should be able to do square nails. This nail shape is simple: just a straight, flat edge, with no rounding. There are straight nail clippers you can use to achieve this shape. You can always just file your nails and keep the file perpendicular to your finger. If your nails are really short, invest in a crystal nail file, they have rounded edges so you’re not grinding a sand-papery surface into your skin.

Squoval nails

The squoval (square-oval) is only slightly different from the square. Round off the edges and you’ve got it!

Round and oval nails

A round nail is exactly like how it sounds. This nail shape can be difficult to achieve because it’s not always easy to eyeball a perfect round shape. If all else fails, try to mimic the curve of your cuticle to create the curved edge! To make it an oval, angle in the sides of the nail slightly.

Peak or point nails

Now we’re getting into the series nail shapes. If you want stiletto nails but you can’t grow out the length, this is as close as you’re going to get. You can start angling your nails inwards from wherever your nail lifts from the skin. Aim each side evenly and regularly switch back and forth to make sure you have an even peak.

Almond nails

The major difference you can achieve between peak nails and almond nails when you have short little talons is rounding the tip. Typically almond nails are a bit longer (think literally the size and shape of an almond) but you can mimic the soft, pointed effect this way.

Coffin nails

The last style is the coffin nail! Again, this shape is a bit more clear when you have longer nails but you can get the effect by angling the sides in like the point nail. But, instead of creating that sharp point, the tip of the nail is flat like the square nail.

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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