Beautiful Nails

Pretty Nails: Sizes, Shapes, and Colors

By Kathryn M. D'Imperio

Much like fingerprints, nail shapes and sizes are also unique to the individual. You may find similarities between your nails and those of a parent or sibling, but fingernails come in many shapes and sizes.

If you've ever looked at a friend's manicure, you may notice that hers does not look identical to yours. Why is that? Well, for starters, your nail bed may be longer or shorter, wider or narrower than your friend's nail bed. The nail bed is the part of your skin where the actual nail rests. Your nail bed may also differ from your mother's, your sister's, your cousin's, as well as from complete strangers. This is because nail beds come in different shapes suited to the anatomy of the individual.

“The wider and shorter the nail bed is, the less attractive dark colors will look,” says Carolyn Cianciotto, the owner of Carolyn New York Nail Care Line. Her recommendations to determine the best shape when filing your nails, or for when you apply false tips, are as follows:

Nail Bed Shape - Best Nail Shape

Short and wide nail bed - Square nails with rounded edges

Long and big nail bed - Square nails with a rounded edge

Narrow and long oval nail bed - Square nails with a sharp edge

Oval nail bed - Lucky you!

When the nail are crooked and have different shapes, a square nail shape is best

Did you know that different skin tones reflect the same nail polish shades differently? In other words, certain nail polish colors may look better on you, or your friend, depending on the tone of your skin. If you don't already know the tone of your skin, you can find out by simply consulting a beautician or your own stylist.

“If a person has red tone to her complexion, reds don't always look good, but if you must, make sure it is blue-red, not an orange-red,” Carolyn Cianciotto explains. “If one has yellow tones, beige will look yellow. Pinks are nice for people with a lot of yellow in their skin.”

“If one has brown tones, she can wear almost anything, but most of the sheers will look whiter and brighter, so be careful if that's not the look you are shooting for,” she adds.

“Get to the salon 15 minutes early so you can try a couple colors on and decide what you like best,” Cianciotto advises.

Also see: Blackheads and Whiteheads

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