How to Get Oval Shaped Nails

Achieve oval-shaped nails with a gentle filing technique.
Achieve oval-shaped nails with a gentle filing technique. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Choice of nail shape is an individual preference, but the condition of the nails should also be considered. Some shapes offer greater protection against breakage as nail stability is maintained by strong sides. The oval shape can weaken the nail because it requires filing the sides to give it the softly rounded shape. However, oval-shaped nails suit the majority of women's hands by adding elegance and femininity, especially for women with nails that are naturally thick or wide.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton pads
  • Non-acetone nail polish remover
  • Mild soap
  • Hand towel
  • Nail scissors or nail clippers
  • Emery board
  • Bowl
  • Cuticle cream

Soak cotton pads in non-acetone nail polish remover.

Press a soaked pad against each nail, and wipe from base to tip to remove any traces of nail polish.

Wash hands and nails in warm, soapy water, and dry thoroughly.

Trim nails to an even length with nail scissors or clippers.

Hold an emery board flat against the side edge of each nail and gently file in one direction toward the top, until the sides of nails are straight and even.

File evenly and smoothly, and with a curving motion, from the side of the free edge of each nail toward its tip. Regularly check the shape of the nail from the palm side and from the front to achieve a neat and symmetrical oval shape.

Place fingertips in warm, soapy water to remove residue from filing.

Massage cuticle cream into nails and cuticles to moisturize.

Tips & Warnings

  • "Your best guide for the nail shape is your cuticle," says Linda Rose, author of "Hands." An oval shape is the perfect shape for nails because it mirrors the natural oval shape of the cuticle, explains Rose.

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