How To Shape Natural Short Nails Round

I gotta tell you. 

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m doing so much these days with my hands or what, but I’m kind of over my oval nails. I KNOW, I’m kind of bummed too.

I thought about short ovals, but I don’t know… and I certainly don’t do square. So round it is.

Now, round nails are probably the hardest shape to obtain uniformity across all 10 fingers.

When we’re filing, It’s like we have one that looks perfectly round, and another that’s a different kind of round but it still looks round?? And then we start getting a little bit in  sync, and when we’re done somehow 8 out of the 10 nails are still doing their own shape of round.

So I thought it would be super helpful to create a tutorial on how to shape short nails round, easily.

Let’s get into  the studio and start shaping natural nails round.

By the way! …

Choosing the right tools for the job…

For the most crisp shape, shaping nails any shape involves having three tools:

  1. Nail nippers
  2. Board file 180g
  3. Emery board 

If you need a recommendation on where to get these…

  • My favorite nail nippers are these from Staleks. Yes! Not clippers. Nippers for nail shaping are a game changer. (code PPN10)
  • My favorite set of files are these from Leafgel; I just feel like this set has it all. But I also am good with the Kokoist ones. (code PPN10)

Here’s your step-by-step for shaping nails round

Step 1 Shorten the nails with a file

If the nails do not need significant shortening then simply take your board file and shorten the nails to a straight square shape. Straighten things out here, and you will ensure all of your nails are the same shape at the end.

This is also the time to measure all the nails to make sure they match.

Step 2 Start shaping round by positioning the file perpendicular

Once you are finally done shortening your board file, it is time to place your file underneath the nails and ever so gently start filing. A slight angle no more than 45 degrees is all you need for your back and forth motions to naturally start shaping the nails.

This step is going to begin rounding out the nails and ensuring that the sidewalls or the end points of your “half-circle/ round nails” meet equally. Be gentle as you get closer to the skin and keep a steady flow on your board file.

Step 3 Take a “client’s view of the nails

How do the nails look at this point? Is everything nice and even? This is a very important step, as the next step is where the final shaping is going to begin.

Make any adjustments with your file, ever so gently. Letting the file do the work.

Step 4 Finalize the round shape with your emery board

You’re here! This is where we are putting all of the final touches to your short round nails. Use the emery board as the final step to seal the natural nails. Does everything look around? Even? Are the corners of the sidewalls smooth? Do you or your client even want corners around the sidewalls? 

Again, ever-so-gently finish off your round nail shaping with the emery board.

Emery boards tend to be a soft grit, so going from a 180g board file to an emery helps “seal’ the natural nail and keep it from splitting. You can further take care of the natural nail at this point by filing in one direction.

When you’re reducing length or setting in the new shape going back and forth is needed, but also that friction of the “back and forth” helps seal and keep the layers of the natural nail together, especially if your file is high-quality.

If you wanted to get my recommendations on files again, here they are:


Remember getting uniformed round nails has to do a lot with using a board file vs a flimsy emery board. It also helps to envision half-circles on the end of your free-edge. Once you have a good board file, I’ll link my favorites down below, move uniformly throughout each nail. It IS ok to taper ever so gently with your emery board, but only after your board file has done most of the work for you.

Well thank you for joining me and see you again next week!

Content written by Paola Ponce 

Loved this blog? Then I think you’ll love learning more about my journey as a specialized gel nail solopreneur in the nail industry. Click here to get instant access to my free masterclass. These blogs are copyrighted material, and any use of this blog is not permitted without written concern first. Some of these blogs contain affiliate links that give us a small commission when qualifying purchases are made. Thank you for being so supportive, which helps us to continue creating valuable resources and content like this.

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