How to find the best nail shape for your hands in 2024

How to find the best nail shape for your hands in 2024

01 January 2024 – 6 min read

Whether you’re peeping your friends’ nails, scrolling through curated Pinterest feeds or glancing through a glossy mag, you’re bound to be coveting any number of Instagram-worthy styles. But perhaps the answer you seek sits a little closer to home; at your own fingertips. When you play to the shape of your hands, you find the best tricks to accentuating the good bits and minimising the not-so-good bits. So, what works for which hand types and how can you get the look at home? Well, we’ll tell you.

But first, a reminder that healthy natural nails are the foundation for any great manicure. Enter our Ultimate Nail Rescue set, the  perfect duo to get dry, damaged nails back in tip-top shape. Rest & Repair Mask is proven to fix flaking, peeling or splitting nails while you snooze (it’s called beauty sleep for a reason) while Self Love Oil softens cuticles and helps nails look shinier, smoother and healthier. It’s a win-win. 

Bonus: hexanal, our patented hardening agent, is a hero ingredient in most Kester Black nail polish. So not only do you get glossy colour, but a nail-strengthening treatment at the same time. 

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How to find the best nail shape for your fingers: a visual guide to nail shapes

Best nail shape for your hands

While there are more nail shape types out there than you can count on both hands, here are a few of our favourites for your perusal. 

Natural

Whether they’re straight, flared or slightly uneven-shaped, natural nails will grow as they please; as nature intended.

Oval

The oval is a medium to long shape with straight-filed sides that end in a soft semicircle. While you don’t always need long nails to pull this off, a few millimetres of free edge extending over the fingertip will go a long way.

Square

Another low-maintenance style for both long and short nails, characterised by straight-filed sides and a straight-filed free edge. The square nail shape is known to add visible width to the appearance of your nails, so please wield them wisely.

Almond

A.k.a our all-time favourite shape because it looks great on everyone. The almond shape is achieved by keeping a wide base and filing the sides into a tapered peak at the free edge.

Square Round

The square round nail or soft square is just that; a square shaped nail with softened corners. This is a great low-maintenance shape for growing your nails and can be achieved by straight-filing the sides and straight-filing the top of your nail before gently softening the corners.

Squoval

Imagine a rectangle with soft corners. Nice. Meet the squoval, a shape that captures the elegance of the oval with a flatter tip. Start by filing straight across your free edge, then around the corners in one smooth stroke.

Coffin

Also known as the ballerina, the coffin shape is the perfect blend of edgy and feminine. This look can be achieved by filing the nail into a tapered point with a flattened tip. Warning: You will need long and sturdy nails to pull the coffin shape off. 

Stiletto

The striking stiletto shape involves filing your nails into a dramatic pointed tip. While this is usually done with acrylics, you can achieve this look with strong natural nails. Grow your way to greatness with help from our Ultimate Nail Rescue set.

How to find the best nail shape for your fingers: what’s your hand type?

Find your hand shape

  • Hi-five hands: long palm, short fingers
  • Grounded hands: wide palm, short fingers
  • Piano hands: wide palm, long fingers
  • Generous hands: long palm, long fingers

You don’t need to be a palm-reader to see that all hands are unique. The proportion of your palm and the length of your fingers all come into play when finding the best nail shape for your hands. Now, let’s take a closer look to see what (great) hands you have:

Hi-Five hands: long palm, short fingers

Best nail shape: Oval. This shape will help make your fingers appear longer and more slender to balance out the length of your palm. 

How to: Use a glass nail file to file the sides of your nails straight and gently taper the free edge into a semicircle.

Best for: Dramatic texts and even more dramatic selfies.

Not so great for: A casual round of volleyball.

Wear with: Kester Black Nail Polish in Fairy Floss; the “perfect balance between feminine pink and lilac,” according to customer Rhianna K.

Grounded hands: wide palm, short fingers

Best nail shape: Almond and Oval. Tapered shapes like almond elongate shorter or wider fingers. We recommend that you opt for rounded shapes in general, especially if you have a wide nail bed.

How to: File the sides of your nails so they gently taper to the tip, then round out the tip into a gentle curve.

Best for: Practical, low-maintenance wear.

Not so great for: Playing guitar or the piano.

Wear with: Kester Black Nail Polish in Petal. Fans like Sophie P. say it’s “exactly what I was looking for!” Not too shabby for this best-selling hazy beige.

Piano hands: wide palm, long fingers

Best nail shape: Coffin (or Ballerina). The edgy coffin shape is enhanced by long fingers and balanced by a square palm. They do require some sturdy nails and regular TLC to avoid breakages.

How to: File the sides of your nails so they gently taper to the tip, then file the tip down parallel to the nail bed.

Best for: Gathering attention.

Not so great for: Weak nails or short nail beds.

Wear with: Kester Black Nail Polish in Black Rose. "So shiny, dark and glam!" says Jacinta G. "It's still on two weeks later."

Generous hands: long palm, long fingers

Best nail shape: Square, lucky you. You can get away with wearing this blunt look at any length. And they are one of the more practical, low-maintenance shapes to wear to work.

How to: Use nail clippers to flatten the tip of the nail down to parallel to the nail bed, smooth out with a glass nail file and slightly round the corners on each side.

Best for: Nail art. These little squares create the perfect canvas for your creativity. Have you tried our Bright Delight Nail Stickers?

Not so great for: Getting that last bit of product out of the tub. Sorry.

Wear with: Kester Black Nail Polish in NarcissistWith reviews like “deep, rich and dramatic” (thanks, Julia), just try resisting this decadent dark red.

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Wait, but what if you have short nails?

That’s cool. Harry Styles happily struts his stuff with perfectly polished shorties. There’s even a hashtag dedicated to celebrating short nails (look up #tortiesforshorties). But if your nails are short because they’re weak, brittle or damaged then it’s time to get your grow-on. Read our blog on how to treat damaged nails depending on your concern and restore them back to their former glory with our Ultimate Nail Rescue set.

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Summary

Before you go choosing nail shapes willy-nilly, we highly recommend you:

  • Find out what type of hand you have by looking at your palm proportion and finger length.
  • Enhance and elongate the appearance of your nails by matching your hand type to a suitable shape.
  • If you have short palms and short fingers, it's best to opt for rounded oval and almond shapes.
  • For longer palms and fingers, consider dramatic stiletto or coffin (or ballerina) shaped styles.
  • Almond shaped nails tend to suit everyone.
  • Incorporate natural nail care like our Ultimate Nail Rescue set into your beauty routine for healthy, stronger nails - the perfect foundation for any manicure.

What next?

You’ve figured out the best nail shape(s) for your hands (congratulations!), now it’s time to put it all into practice with 5 steps for the perfect at-home manicure.

Still not sure?

If you're still feeling stuck, we've compiled a neat little quiz to help you find your perfect nail shape. 

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