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What Nail Style is Best Suited to Your Unique Hands?

nail shapesThis morning I unzipped my makeup bag and it happened: I was totally bored. I’d been rotating through the same old makeup products and tools for about a year and, apparently, I’ve reached that point where nothing in my makeup bag excites me. This boredom quickly escalated to crisis status as I realized I was in dire need of a new, spiced up look, and, to complicate things, I didn’t have a lot of wiggle room in my budget for it. So, there could be no new shades of $40 lipsticks and no new $60 eyeshadow palettes, either.

But, it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money (or even require much effort!) to boost your everyday look to the next level of glam. Even something as simple as a do-it-yourself manicure can enhance your regular look—that is, if you know the right nail shapes suited to your unique hands. The shape of your fingers, as well as your skin tone, can help you determine which nail shapes and polish colors to sport.


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Finger Shapes

Shaping your nails can make you look well put-together, but which shape is most flattering on your hands? Well, that all depends on the shape of your whole finger. That’s because each finger shape correlates with a unique nail base shape.

This nail shape is essentially the area where your nail meets your skin.

Different nail base shapes look better with different nail tip shapes. So, knowing the shape of your finger can help you to determine the most flattering way to shape the tips of your nails. The five predominant finger shapes are:

  • Thin fingers
  • Thick fingers (sometimes called fat fingers)
  • Tapering fingers
  • Square fingers
  • Spatulate fingers

Tapering Fingers

tapering finger shape

Your fingers taper if they are noticeably thicker at the base (where the finger meets the hand) than at the fingertip.

This feminine shape can be balanced out by shaping your nails with dominant corners and edges.

The most flattering nail shape for someone with tapering fingers is square or squoval (square with rounded edges). These shapes add the illusion of a slightly wider fingertip, making your finger look slim and straight!

square nail squoval nail

Thick Fingers/Fat Fingers

thick fingers

If your fingers are equally thick at the base (where the finger meets the hand) and at the fingertip, you probably have thick fingers.

You can make your fingers look thinner and more delicate by shaping them as ovals or almonds. Both of these shapes work to elongate the finger, creating an elegant look.

almond nails oval nails

Square Fingers

square fingers


Do you want to balance out the square shape of your fingertip? Do you want to emphasize it?

Either way, it’s no problem—simply try shaping your nail with an oval or coffin shape!

Ovals make the fingertip appear longer and rounder while coffin shaped nails play up and emphasize the edges of your fingertip.

oval nail and coffin nail

Spatulate Fingers

spatulate fingers

This charming finger shape, called spatulate due to its resemblance to a spatula, is best flattered by oval and almond nail shapes.

Each of these slims the fingertip to give the overall appearance of a thin, straight finger.

almond nails oval nails

Thin Fingers

thin fingers


Last, thin fingers are generally equally thick at the base (where the finger meets the hand) and at the fingertip, though the knuckles may protrude a bit.

Thin fingers always look good with square and squoval nail shapes. The sharp edges of a square or squoval shape bring a sharp contrast to your otherwise dainty fingers.

square nail squoval nail

Skin Tone

Everybody looks good with sleek, painted nails, but before you choose a color, consider how it may look paired with your unique skin tone. Whether you’re going for a vibrant pop of color or a more subtle look, here are the nail polish colors that contrast and harmonize with your skin tone.

skin tones
Light Skin Tones

light skin toneIf you have fair or light skin, you can easily look “washed out” and bland if you are using the wrong nail polish colors. Prevent this problem by avoiding most rich and deep colors and by using soft pastels or eye-catching, bright nail polish colors, instead.

  • Pinks: Most types of pink complement fair to light skin, so, go ahead, try them all! If you’re looking to add a burst of color, you can totally rock a hot pink or fuchsia shade, but for a simple and clean look go for sheer and dainty pinks.
  • Nudes: Nude nail polish is growing in popularity. But there are a ton of nude tones and using the wrong one can make your gorgeous skin look yellowy. We recommend lighter nudes with underlying tones of pink or maroon as opposed to heavy nudes with beige bases.
  • Blues: If you want head-turning, hard-to-miss nails, navy blue will contrast nicely with you fair skin. For a more subtle manicure, you can always try a periwinkle blue-purple hybrid color. These help to make fair skin appear bright and glowy.
  • Reds: How about a classic fire engine red on your nails? Bright reds are great for drawing attention to your manicured nails and, as long as you avoid deep maroons, you simply can’t go wrong with reds!
  • Purples: Rather than using a deep purple on your nails, which can make your skin look much paler and washed out, try a more neon purple. Not your style? Lavenders suit fair to light skin tones, as well, without being in your face.

Medium Skin Tones

medium skin toneDo you have a beautiful medium or olive skin tone? There are a lot of flattering nail polish colors for medium skin tones! There is a wide spectrum of medium skin tones, but here are our recommended colors suitable to most of them.

  • Pinks: When it comes to pink nail polish, your best bet is summertime pinks and peach-colored polishes. Pinks with a summer vibe tend to look great on medium skin all year round and add a pop of color to your look while peachy colors create a subdued look.
  • Nudes: Nudes look great on every skin tone, but different shades of nude complement different shades of skin. For medium skin, yellow-based and beige colors create a put-together look without overwhelming.
  • Blues: Take your nails to the next level with a rich sky blue color. This will contrast nicely against your skin and add color to your overall look. For those who prefer a played-down look, consider pastel blues!
  • Reds: Rather than using a classic red, it’s fun and flattering to play with orangey-red nail polish colors! These hues really stand out against medium skin tones!
  • Purples: Your nails will look juicy and colorful with a nice deep plumb tone! If you’re looking for something less pronounced, avoid lavenders and pastels and go for a grape tone, instead.

Dark Skin Tones

dark skin toneIf you have a dark skin tone, you’re in luck—your skin is gorgeous and your nails will look great with a variety of colors.

  • Pinks: Darker skin tones can pull off the “real” pinks—fuchsia, hot pink, neon pink. However, sheer pinks and baby pink will compete with your skin tone, rather than complementing it.
  • Nudes: People are excited about nudes these days, but some are more flattering than others, depending on your skin tone. Creams and beiges will stand out nicely while maroons help to complement the skin with a touch of color.
  • Blues: If you want people to notice your nails, you simply can’t go wrong with a bright cobalt blue. This color contrasts nicely with dark skin tones. Baby blues (without a strong white undertone) harmonize with dark skin to create a clean, professional look.
  • Reds: Here you have the most versatility—almost every kind of red looks flattering on deep skin tones.
  • Purples: From deep berry-like shades to pastels and lavenders, dark skin looks amazing with a variety of purple colored nail polishes! Try them all and pick your favorite!

Hand and Finger Shape Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best nail shapes for fat fingers? Well we generally use the word thick instead of fat, but you will probably find that an oval or almond nail shape are likely the best fit for you. Be sure to check our guide for square fingers as well as it is very similar to thick fingers.

Get Polishing!

So as you can see here, there are specific nail shapes and nail polish colors that can enhance your overall appearance. Choose the right nail shape to go with your finger type, and the right polish color to go with your skin tone and you are well on the way to looking great.

Our nail polish of choice is gel nail polish, do yourself a favor and invest in the equipment needed to do your own – it will save you time and money and you learn a new skill for life.

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About AmyChristine

Writing from Vienna, Austria, AmyChristine loves to talk beauty! Whenever her nails aren’t wet with polish she can be found playing with her two Bengal kittens or typing away on her laptop in a local cafe. Aside from being a beauty enthusiast, AmyChristine is an international student currently working towards her Masters in International Relations and currently works as a freelance writer.

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