Genetic Nail Shape Guide and Advice

Local professional nail artist, Sarah Bacchus gives some great advice on natural nails shape in her latest blog.

I have been a professional nail artist, educator, beauty expert and personal stylist for over 30 years, and I have been writing about all these topics for well over 7 years. Now it occurred to me that I have never really seen any articles about genetic natural nail shapes and what you need to understand when it comes to either growing your nails, having a gel manicure or nail extensions applied. There is a huge misconception that nail technicians and nail products damage nails…..Well this isn’t totally true. I have never ruined anyones nails and in loads of cases I’ve saved a clients nails from permanent problems that can arise if they have been to an unqualified or poorly trained nail technician. The nail industry looks like a very inviting place for some but be warned it takes years of experience, training and above all passion to be a master of your craft. It also requires in depth knowledge about anatomy and physiology to really deliver a good service. 

Sarah Bacchus nail professional

The main reason people visit a technician is to get that perfect looking nail. It’s a bit like styling and someone wanting the ultimate hourglass body. But we are all born with very different shapes and that includes your nails. Each and every persons nails are very unique, their lifestyle choices, their daily routine and the shape of their natural nails will depict if their nails will look phenomenal or not. 

When I see a new client I always run through all they need to know about their own nail shape, the way their nails grow and what should and shouldn't happen in a nail salon. One of the most misunderstood things is what the cuticle is, how nails grow and how to help them look their best. The cuticle isn’t the skin at the bottom of the nails, this is actually called a proximal nail fold and should NEVER be cut. The cuticle is a layer of dead, dirty and unwanted cells that cover the entire nail bed! Bet you never knew that! With professional products and tools this can be removed and a nail service carried out in pure comfort. No pain, no clipping and above all no damage is required to obtain a beautiful base for polish, gel manicures or a stunning set of real looking and real feeling sculptured nail extensions (I never use plaice tips) that you will love and adore for weeks. 

I have many articles about other beneficial subjects about nails on my website but I have never written it down in an article to cover the genetic shape of real nails. 

You will see all kinds of articles mentioning the shape of the latest trends within the nail industry, like the almond, the coffin shape or the must requested stiletto. But nowhere have I ever seen a practice guide about REAL genetic nail shapes. What you can and can't accomplish from your nails, whats possible and what you need to know about certain natural shapes.

There are primarily 6 nail bed types and this will determine how long your nails will be able to grow or your gels and extensions will last. 

Sarah Bacchus nail shape

The Style Bible - Natural Nail Shape Guide

  1. Vertically long and Almond nails are the most desired and long lasting of the bunch. They have long straight side walls and a beautiful arch. The perfect amount of strength and natural support. Just like an self supporting bridge. Many ladies with this shape nails can go for weeks and weeks without their nails looking any different. Nail treatments, polish, gels or nail extensions will just grow out with no distortion. They are generally the most desired shape and if your lucky enough to own nails like you will be admired!
  2. Broad sideways nails tend to be flat along the top and have a curve at the side walls. These nails are generally seen on male customers or ladies with shorter fingers. They tend to be a bit thicker and gels will lift at the corners in various cases. This type of nail will need to have a regular rebalance to help keep them from chipping. Nail treatments will also benefit this shape nail as it will help keep the nails from splitting vertically. 
  3. Rounded nails that have gels or extensions grow out supper fast. They don't have much or any side wall to keep the shape. The best way to visualise this is to grab 2 cotton pads and place on top of each other and slide the top pad away from the other as if it was a gel polish growing out on a real nail plate. You will see the round circle exposes the side walls really quickly. Nails like this will most certainly need to see a technician every 2 weeks to keep the gels from lifting. Also they should invest in a good nail treatment to help keep their nails from splitting at the very edge where the nail tip grows out. 
  4. Egg shaped nails are fairly similar to a round nail but they are generally harder to grow without the ends curving over. So the client will need to have regular natural nail shortening with rebalances or new sets of sculptured nails done every so often if they are wanting longer nails. 
  5. Squarish nails are fairly easy to keep looking neat. They have a shorter side wall and they have the same characteristics of a vertically long nail but they will grow out faster meaning more regular visits to a salon.
  6. Triangular nails are possibly the most difficult nails to look after for an individual and a tech. These nails grow out very easily so they need to be serviced every 2 weeks without fail. they have no side walls whatsoever so this means that they are prone to problem's. As long as you are aware of this and make regular appointments you will have stunning nails. But they will need to have the free edge sculptured every month to get the look of a vertically long nail. 
  7. Inverted Triangle nails are usually seen with a ski jump edge or they have a tendency to grow out and alter shape meaning they can get snagged easily. These types of nails will need to be filed and reshaped every 3 weeks or so. And most certainly need help with gels, oils and treatments as they have a huge tendency to split horizontally. 
  8. Sword shaped nails are fairly easy to maintain but they have a tendency to split at the sides or straight down the middle due to their genetic shape. These nails will also be prone to peeling as their shape can easily get caught. The perfect option for these nails is to have a gel overlay and use treatments on a regular basis.
Sarah Bacchus nail professional

The main thing to remember is that you should never see damage after visiting a salon, you shouldn't feel pain, have your skin cut and above all utter the words "Having my nails done ruined them" when returning home or chatting to a friend. These are all phrases I hear when I have conversations about being a nail technician and its totally irritating to a passionate well educated nail technician.

Unfortunately the good tech's get tarnished with these labels, that only really apply to those nail bars you see on the corners of the high street or those where you see countless techs using drills, wearing masks, applying false plastic tips and using very very cheap products to keep the cost down. Most of these salons use a product called MMA and its illegal in loads of countries. 

Each and every client I see gets a total consultation about nail health, product application, treatments they can use, aftercare and why their nails will last a certain time compared to their friends. 

I really hope that this article has helped you understand your nails in a more loving way! If you are looking for advice about caring for your nails please don't hesitate in contacting me! Head over to the nail page for more advice about the services I offer if your in the Winchester area. I’m taking on a few more clients at the moment so please feel free to contact me and lets have a chat! 

Sarah xxx 

For more information on my services visit my website or follow me on Instagram.