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Oval Nails: Old World Glamour or Odd Shape?


In a world filled with every possible nail shape from stab-worthy stilettos to double-wide duck feet nails, it’s remarkable that lately the most popular pick has been a classic oval. This kind of nail is one width with a rounded top, making it the least tacky choice for long-nail lovers. The pill-like shape creates the perfect canvas for most any nail design, from a pink and white french to 3D manicured masterpieces! These are one of the most simple shapes to upkeep too—no sharp corners or points means no snagging or scratching however long you let them grow.

What we love most about the oval nail is its retro appeal. The biggest screen stars and models of the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s all donned darling sets of long, and often red, oval nails. The ladylike shape made fingers look lengthy and delicate and always caught our eye in glamour shots. By the late ‘60s and ‘70s, the oval had taken on a rainbow of wacky shades from playful pinks to even dayglo oranges and yellows. Liza Minnelli’s character in Cabaret sported a spry set of blue oval nails and Dita Von Teese still rocks her half-moon mani daily, proving crazy colors and classic techniques alike can work with this universally flattering shape.

Back in the day, girls had to patiently and carefully grow their nails out to achieve this starlet style. Today, a couple hours at the nail salon, a set of tips, and a swipe of a credit card can take us from short nubs to the long oval nails of our dreams. At any rate, winter is right around the corner and with glove season fast approaching, we know our avant-garde nail shapes will never fit the knit fingers.

The history of the oval nail spans far and wide, but would you ever file your trusted tips narrow for a change?