10 best nail shapes that really suit older women

older woman's hands

by Akhila Thomas |
Published on

Whether you are looking to get your next set of acrylics in or opting for a simple manicure, being informed about the best nail shapes to choose from can take your next nail look from good to great. While your sources of inspiration could be a set of beautifully done nails you saw on a stranger, designs for festive seasons like Christmas or your carefully curated Pinterest board or Facebook feed dedicated to the latest trending looks, deciding on the perfect nail shape should also come with an understanding of your own features, lifestyle and fashion sensibilities.

As you get older, the kind of styles that appeal to you might change and more relaxed daily routines could come with the freedom to experiment with nail styles and designs that you have been sceptical about trying. Choosing your nail shapes based on the length of your fingers and nail beds is also key to figuring out nail looks that complement your hands well.

So if you are wondering about nail shapes that will look elegant on mature women while also grabbing the attention of a fellow-fashionista, then this guide on nails shapes that we have put together will help you take the first decision when you sit down to get your nails done the next time - be it a manicure at home or a fancy appointment at a nail salon.

1. Almond shaped nails

Close up of Fake Nails, Acrylic Nails, Gel nails on a woman's hand

Beauty experts claim that 2024 its going to bethe year of the almond nail and this shape is predicted to be one of the biggest trends you can get behind. With a wider base that tapers to a more pointed tip that resembles the shape of an almond, this nail shape can be flaunted by almost everyone as it creates an illusion of longer and slimmer fingers. It is a great choice for women who want practical nails that are also elegant and chic. As an option that can be altered to fit any nail length you prefer, this nail shape is quite versatile as well.

2. Oval shaped nails

Women's hands with a beautiful oval manicure in a warm pink knitted sweater. Winter trend, polish beige nails with gel polish, shellac. Copy space.

This classic nail shape that maintains an equal breadth at the base and top with rounded edges creating an oval shape is a timeless and graceful look that will be a perfect base for any design or colour that you want to try. As a shape that can flatter short fingers and wide nail beds, it is also said to be best nail shape for older women. As a shape is derived from the natural build and structure of your nails, it contributes to a more natural look that complements aging hands by not drawing attention to fine lines or wrinkles. Oval shaped nails also make the fingers look longer and hands look younger according to experts.

3. Square shaped nails

Milk chocolate manicure with rhinestones on short nails.

With parallel edges and a distinct corners, square shaped nails are another timeless option to go for if you are leaning towards a sharp and trendy looking set of nails. As a style that can varied in length to suit your needs, experts believe that square shaped nails on older women look the best when the length is maintained at about 15% to 20% of the length of your nail bed to achieve a classic and elegant look.

4. Squoval nails

Stylish trendy female blue winter season manicure.

As a combination of square and oval shaped nails, squoval shaped nails are highly recommended for older women as they are an appealing of the classic oval and trendy square shapes that are both said to enhance the youthful and slender look of your hands. This shape is also well suited for those who are blessed with long fingers and wider nail beds. It is perfect for those who are trying to grow out their nails and experiment with length a bit. You can also choose to maintain this shape at whatever length you prefer.

5. Round nails

Woman hands with perfect classic manicure with red polish. Minimal pink and blue background. Summer nail care concept. Copy space for your text.

As a shape that follows the natural curve of your finger tip, round nails are for those who like to keep things simple and understated while still flaunting a pretty colour or design with some length. This shape is another favourite among experts who recommend the best shapes for older women as it offers a more natural appeal that will still turn heads when paired with striking colours perfect for a holidayor a special occasion. It is the perfect shape to opt for if you have short or wide nails as it enhances the shape of your fingers for a more slender look.

6. Coffin shaped nails

Gentle camouflage gel polish on long square nails with a French design. Hands with a professional manicure in a shirt. Trendy nail extension with French design.

If you have always flaunted long nails and have no plans of giving up the length, then coffin shaped nails or ballerina nails are the perfect option for you. With a wide base and a tapering end cut off in the shape of a ballerina slipper, coffin shaped nails are great canvases for getting nail art or elaborate designs done. This shape sits best on long, slim nail beds and it can be a little high maintenance. But if you love maintaining them and are used to working with long nails, coffin shaped nails are sure to make a statement.

7. Stiletto fingernails

Long light manicure with jewelry on a woman's hand.

If long and pointy nails are your thing, then there are several ways to style stiletto fingernails to create the impact you are going for. This nail shape goes best with hands and nail beds that are relatively longer. While lots of experts advise older women to stay away from long, bold shapes that draw attention to age lines, stiletto fingernails can still be embraced gracefully, just like age with nail colours and designs that are more suited for older women.

8. Duck shape nails

These distinct nails come with a wider tip that flares out in the shape of a duck's foot which is where the name originates from. As a nail shape that requires acrylics and high maintenance, duck shaped nails are a bold statement to go for if you are in the mood for vibrant designs or nail art as can be seen in Jacqueline Garcia's work as a nail artist . This shape is also great if you have short nail beds as it can give the illusion of longer fingers due to the length. It can be a great accessory for an occasion or a holiday when you will not be bothered by the length or activities that require your hands too much.

9. Arrow head nails

Another great option for women with short nail beds and small hands, arrow head nails can be maintained at a shorter length than stiletto nails while still holding onto that pointy finish as can be seen in manicures like this by nail artist Andrea. This shape comes with a tapered end that is sharper and shorter to create a more dramatic effect. Even though these nails may not be practical for women who do a lot of work with their hands on a daily basis, it is perfect for occasions where you want your new set of nails to stand out.

10. Lipstick nails

This is an unconventional shape that can be styled to look anywhere between elegant and scandalous. The wide surface and length lends itself to a number of patterns and designs like this one by nail artist Vandy. For women who prefer a medium to long nail length, these nails which come with a slanted tip resembling the shape of a lipstick tip is sure to grab attention. This bold shape can be complemented with colours or designs that work well for mature hands if you are worried about age lines or wrinkles as the shape draws more eyes to your hands.


How to shape nails at home?

As you get older, nails start to become weaker, more brittle and you might be beginning to see some changes in the texture with bumps, uneven surfaces and ridges on your nails. These factors have to be taken into consideration while shaping and caring for your nails as you age. A good nail file is the second most important decision you will have to make once you are decided on the nail shape. Crystal and glass nail files are said to be gentle on weak and brittle nails and are a good option to consider if you are concerned about breakage. Once you have your vision set for the final shape and length, cutting the nails to the desired length and filing by starting around the edges to move into the middle is a good way to start. It would help to take the process slowly and holding the tip facing in towards yourself can help you assess your progress better. Aftercare is always key whether you are quickly touching up your nails, removing acrylics at homeor going for a full-blown manicure.

What is the best nail shape for chubby fingers?

If you wish to make your fingers appear longer and slimmer, classic nail shapes like almond, oval or round can be customised to medium or long lengths to create the illusion of slender looking fingers. If you wish to go for bolder shapes, then arrow head nails and duck nails are best suited to be flaunted by people with shorter fingers and wider nail beds. Stiletto nails, coffin nails and short length is not recommended as they can draw attention to the width of your fingers or nail beds.

What is the best nail shape for short fingers?

Longer nails in general can create the illusion of longer fingers and opting for longer length with classics like round, oval, square, squoval or almond shaped nails can never go wrong. Arrow head nails and duck nails can still make a statement on short fingers if you want more drama with your nails. You can also make your nails and fingers seem more slender by working around your proportions like making sure to file out the inverted triangle shape as nails grow out to achieve a thinner shape and leaving a thin gap on each side of the nail while applying nail paint to make your nails look slimmer and your fingers longer.

What is the best nail shape for wide nail beds?

A wide nail bed makes the perfect base for nail shapes like square, almond, oval and round. These shapes with the right length can make your fingers seem longer and your hands look slender. Having a longer nail length in general is a look that will not go wrong on hands with wider nail beds.

Akhila Thomas is a digital writer at Yours.co.uk. With a background in literature and journalism, she loves writing about art, culture, health, wellbeing, fashion and lifestyle. She is an avid reader, and a good plot can keep her up for hours. She also likes to travel and explore new cultures and cuisines.

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