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Short, long, wide or narrow: We all have God-given nail shapes. And while there’s only so much we can do with that, we can enhance their appearance with the right color choices. Here, the best shade suggestions for each shape.

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rose gold nail

If You Have Short, Square Nails

Sheer nudes and shimmery metallics like rose gold soften the sharp edges of your nails, while also elongating their appearance. And since this shape tends to be wider (and look shorter), you might want to skip any inky blacks and blues as they can look a bit harsh.

black nails

If You Have Short, Round Nails

On the flip side, darker hues can look especially crisp and clean on soft, curved tips. Classic reds and creamy pastels (like periwinkle blue) also work well. Tip: Leave a teensy space on either side when painting (we’re talking, like, a centimeter or less here) to create the illusion of slimmer nails.

nude and red nails

If You Have Long, Narrow Nails

Long, slender nails look elegant as is, but when paired with a sultry red or burgundy polish they look especially glamorous. Fleshy pinks and nudes are also a good choice (so long as they’re a shade or two lighter than your natural skin tone). But steer clear of risky blues and purples as they may come off cartoonish.

any color

If You Have Long, Wide Nails

This shape is the most forgiving and thus works well with any color. Nude, bold, sheer or opaque, the world is your oyster when it comes to shade selection. Those with naturally rounder shapes can file their tips straight across to look more square—and those with square tips can round off the edges to soften their appearance.

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