Stiletto Nails: A Complete Guide

by Teresa Newsome

Stiletto nails take after another long, pointy fashion staple: stiletto heels. So what are stiletto nails exactly? They're basically nails that have been filed or sculpted to a smooth, thin point. A lot of Internet nail-lovers rock almond, coffin (ballerina), or similarly pointy nails and call them stiletto nails in error.

In fact, (and I speak from experience here) if you ask your nail tech for stiletto nails, don't be surprised if she asks you if you're sure, and instead suggests an almond or oval shape. And that's because true stiletto nails are pointy. I mean really pointy. That's part of their appeal. Like stiletto heels, they're fierce, they stand out, and they command attention. They don't even need a lot of polish or nail art to stand out, although they're even more dramatic that way.

One main tip to keep in mind is that you need some length to pull off a stiletto. If you have really short nails and you file them into a point, this look won't look quite right. The nails themselves, if they're too short, will look like claws, and not in a good way. Think more like wicked witch than sexy cat. (Are cats ever sexy? Weird.).

1. A Primer In Shapes

Here you can watch her create several of the most popular shapes to see what stiletto nails really entail.

2. Some Super Pointy Stilettos

Check these bad boys out. These are, like, the stiletto-est of stiletto nails. They're worn a lot at nail design competitions and for special occasions because they're not super functional.

3. Easy DIY Stilettos

These are your solution if you're afraid of committing to stilettos. They are amazing for people with short natural nails who also don't want to mess with getting a fill set. They're also cheap, easy, and quick.

This is a little bit of a shortcut if you're not down for all that filing.

4. Gel Stilettos

Gels are the love of my life. If you want to do gels at home, here's a quick tutorial.

How To Remove Gel Nails

This is how to remove the whole nail, not just the polish, although the process is similar.

5. Acrylic Stilettos

These techs make it look so easy. But this is how it's done, if you have an acrylic kit staring up at you and whispering "stilettos."

How To Remove Acrylic Nails

And here's how to remove acrylics...

6. Examples Of Killer Stilettos

Galaxy nail art looks so good on stilettos.

A must-have skill for regular stiletto wearers.

Getting fancy with it.

Fierce and delicate at the same time.

7. Gear

Terrific Tips Stiletto White Nail Tips, $6.69, Sally

Stiletto tips have the added bonus of eliminating all that file time.

SensatioNail Nail Starter Kit - 8 Piece, $38.99,

This gel nail starter kit has the basics, but you'll want to add a gel builder if you want to sculpt your own tips.

Nailene Salon Acrylic Kit, Delixe, $16.99,

All the essentials, but you'll have to do your own shaping. Pair them with the above nails from Sally to skip that step.

You have officially graduated Stiletto Nails 101. Now go forth and inspire shock and awe with your on point points.

Images: Courtesy Brands