Are Certain Nail Shapes More Likely to Break Than Others? A Nail Expert Weighs In

January 12, 2022
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
are certain nail shapes more likely to break

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s true — some nail shapes are more likely to break than others. If you swear by filing them square and straight yet find them breaking easily thereafter, it might be time to reconsider your nail shape of choice. Ahead, we spoke with Sarah Gibson Tuttle, nail expert and founder/CEO of Olive & June, about what shapes break most often, plus how to fix broken nails.

What Is the Weakest Nail Shape?

Because of their straight-edge shapes, square- and coffin-shaped nails are more prone to breakage, Tuttle says. 

What Should You Do If Your Square Nail Breaks?

“If you break a nail, it’s best to smooth any jagged edges as soon as possible to prevent further breakage,” says Tuttle. She suggests grabbing your nail file and moving it in one single direction, filing it back to its original shape that matches your other nails, but it’ll be a little shorter. “If the break extends to the nail bed, it might be time to see a doctor as this can lead to an infection.”

How Do I Prevent My Square Nails From Breaking?

If you don’t want to give up your square or coffin nails, Tuttle provides some tips on how to avoid breakage, which starts with keeping your nails strong. “Your cuticles are the gatekeepers to nail health and strength,” she says, so it’s important to use a cuticle oil or serum daily. We recommend the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil or the Olive & June Cuticle Serum.

“Also, don’t buff your nail too much as this thins out your nail plate,” Tuttle notes. “The stronger your nails, the less likely they are to break.” Another way to minimize breakage? Use a nail strengthener, such as the Essie Hard to Resist Nail Strengthener Treatment, which promises to help your nails feel less brittle in only three days.
Essie Hard to Resist Nail Strengthener Treatment

What Nail Shape Is Most Durable?

If your nails are prone to breakage, it’s best to keep them short and round. “You still have options,” Tuttle says. “Think round, oval, squoval or even almond. Round and squoval nails are most resistant to breakage because there are no sharp edges that can cause weak points in the nail.”

olive + june cuticle serum

Photo: Melissa San Vicente-Landestoy

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