All The Different Nail Shapes You Need To Know About To Help You Decide Your Next Mani Look – PHOTOS

When I sit down in the nail chair to get a manicure and the technician asks me whether I want a square or round tip, I panic... I don't know! It's hard to keep track of the differences between all of the nail shapes out there, especially when it seems like new ones are popping up every other day. Thanks for all of the confusion, Instagram "Explore" page.

In an attempt to try and sound like I know what I'm talking about (I am a beauty writer, after all) the next time I get my nails professionally filed, I consulted celebrity manicurist TracyLee, who's responsible for the talons on Nikki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Christina Aguilera, for help.

"There is a nail shape out there to complement every style," she says. "Classic staples include Almond, Round, and Square, and those that want to make a bold statement can opt for a Lipstick or Stiletto style." So how are you supposed to pick which one to go with?

"The shape of natural nails should mimic the shape of the cuticle area on most of your nails — for example, if your cuticle area is round, nails should be shaped round," says TracyLee. "This is how your nails would naturally grow and is typically the most complimentary to the individual's fingers and hands. Unless your nails are very strong, if this shape is altered to a different shape, it puts the nail structure in a vulnerable state to chipping and breaking. "

Still confused? Here are TracyLee's tips on everything you need to know about the most popular nail shapes. On behalf of your future manicure, you're welcome!

1. Round

A round nail is the most common of nails shapes. It takes on a gradual curve of a nail's edge while still keeping the sides intact, which makes it less likely to break.

2. Square

This is another one of the more common shapes (hence the question at the salon) and has a flat, straight nail edge. Sometimes the corners of a square nail are left sharp to create a dramatic look, other times they are rounded for a softer style.

3. Oval

Oval nails are classic and feminine, and work best with short fingers because it replicates the natural shape of the nail shape and creates a longer appearance. "A round or oval nail tends to be on the shorter nail and would look cool and chic in darker tones," says TracyLee.

4. Almond

Almond nails take the oval shape a step further by filing more on the sides to create a slightly more pointed tip, giving the shape of an almond.

5. Ballerina

Also called a “coffin” nail, this shape is a dramatic look. To create this look, begin with an almond or oval shape and file the nails edge, so that it is flat/straight. "Ballerina is definitely gaining popularity as a way to really make nails pop" says Tracylee. "The flat edge of this growing trend indicates a square nail will be back on trend before we know it!"

6. Lipstick

Lipstick nails are aptly named because they imitate the slanted shape of a brand new lipstick. This is a very unique look but it fairly simple to create by filing down one side of the nail. "Longer almond, stiletto or coffin shapes typically are more complimentary with neutral or lighter tones," says TracyLee, though she also acknowledges, "Today, anything goes with our nail color choices. I say whatever makes you feel good and happy, wear it!"

If you love the lipstick shape, but are afraid of breaking your nails, you can fake it with a slanted stripe of polish.

7. Mountain Peak/Stiletto

Generally, this dramatically pointed nail can only be achieved with acrylic or gel nails versus a natural nail because they are more likely to break. To create this shape, Tracylee suggests using a sturdy nail file, like the Amopé Electronic Nail Care System, instead of clipping. "I like this upgraded version of a traditional nail file because it takes a lot of the manual labor out and allows you to shape, buff and shines your nails like a pro at home," she says.

Now that you know all the different nail shapes, go on and upgrade your mani!

Images: luxebytracylee/Instagram