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Tired of Breaking Nails? Try This Nail Shape

a woman's hands with pink fingernails against a pink wool sweater

If you love the look of long nails, you’re probably also well-familiar with the struggle of trying to grow them out.

Unless you can afford to act like a princess and never use your hands for anything, broken nails can seem like a way of life. You’ll be making great progress with your nail growth, but all it takes is a single mishap while you’re cooking or doing yard work, and you’re back to square one.

However, the shape of your nails plays an important role in how likely they are to break. A pretty almond, coffin, or tapered square fits with modern trends, but these shapes are also much more prone to breakage.

Want to grow your nails out successfully without babying your hands? A squared oval or “squoval” shape is your best bet for strong, unbroken nails. This shape is also flattering to any nail bed and hand type—it’s the most universal nail shape of all. (Ovals are also very flattering, and fairly strong, but squovals tend to be a bit more durable.)

This shape doesn’t have any sharp corners that can easily get caught on something, and the squarish design gives the whole nail more strength. This will allow your nails to grow longer without breaking. If you do your own nails, cut them straight, and then use a file to gently round the edges. If you go to a salon, you can ask for a “squoval” or bring a picture of the shape.

If your nails aren’t healthy yet, keep them short and use this shape until they get stronger. Then, you can grow them out without breakage, and choose the shape you really want once they’ve grown healthy and long.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »
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