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There seems to be no body part that cannot be used as a vehicle of self-expression. We tattoo our backs, pierce our navels, wear rings on our toes, studs through our noses, and that’s the PG version. With all this going on, we sometimes take nail decoration for granted. True, the manicure is nothing new, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new about it. if you have seen Lady Gaga, Rhianna, or Beyonce lately, you may have noticed the new trend toward razor sharp nails. Maybe you caught Gaga curling her black set at paparazzi on a recent London visit or Beyonce flashing her gold painted ones in her “Baby Bump” reveal. If you’re considering adopting talon-like nails as your new form of self-expression, you may want to explore your range of options.
If you’re going for a classic look, you can’t go wrong with the oval. This shapely style is a natural match for the female hand. Orly educator Elsbeth Shuetz points out the versatility of the shape as one that can complement both long and short nail beds, adding length to a nail while retaining the round shape.
To File: Begin by straightening the sidewalls of your nails, ensuring that they are even. Next, file nail from the side of the nail to the top using fluid, arching motions. Work angles on the sides and around the top to smooth into the desired oval shape.
The square nail is the shape most commonly used for the traditional French manicure. Although it is a popular choice for nail shape, EZ Flow educator MaeLing Parrish warns that the square may not be the best choice for all nail beds, warning that the shape can make a short, wide nail bed look short and stubby.
To File: Using a medium grade file (150 grit) shape the free edge and side wall. Place file at a perpendicular angle to the free edge of the nail and shape into hard square. File side wall straight up and blend with tip. Use angles to sharpen corners.
The happy marriage of the square and oval, the squoval nail is an essentially square shape with the softer edges of the oval. Kupa’s Vicki Peters recommends the squoval nail for short wide nail beds, pointing out that the shape can create the illusion of length without causing nails to appear oversized.
To File: Follow directions to build the square to make sure the sidewalls are straight. Then, tilt the file under the corners and file back and forth from underneath to take the edge off, creating round corners.
If you have wide nail beds and large hands, a rounded shape can have a slimming effect on hands. It is a common choice for males and can have a softening effect on hand features.
To File: File side walls straight. LCN educator suggests visualizing making a square, filing side walls straight, then rounding the corner using moderate angles. The round nail should be tapered and extend slightly past the fingertip.
This most adventures nail choice first became popular in Russia and eastern Europe. Pointed nails can be used on a smaller hand to create the appearance of length, while longer nail beds will take the look to a more extreme level.
To file: Greg Salo of Young Nails uses a technique based on the letter “I” to achieve a pointed tip. In this approach, the center of the “I” shape is the upper arch which forms a straight line down the nail bed. The top of the “I” is created by bending the cuticle smoothly with the natural nail. The bottom of the “I” is seen when looking down the nail’s barrel to ensure that the C-curve is even. The tips made by filing the top of the “I” to a point that meets at the vertex of the nail. File to blend.
What does your nail shape say about you? We want to hear how you’re shaping your nails and what you think.