For years now, we’ve automatically requested “short and square, please” when the manicurist has asked what nail shape we’d like.
The fashion for neat, petite nails made a lot of sense – we were playing around with a rainbow of shades (from neons to pastels, black to white), a treasure trove of sparkly and shimmery finishes, and all sorts of arty designs, and the best canvas for such experimentation tends to be a small nail frame.
But the nude nail trend (pale and natural shades were spotted on such recent New York runways as Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Marchesa and Derek Lam, to name a few) is coming through hand-in-hand with a move back to longer lengths.
Just check out Karlie Kloss’s elegant hands above – photographed at the Rag & Bone show, where models’ nails were slicked in a soon-to-launch Revlon shade, Checkmate. See how a nude hue looks particularly amazing on a nail with a longer white tip?
“It’s just like how you wear a nude shoe to stretch out the look of your legs,” notes manicurist Jocelyn Petroni. In the same way, long flesh-coloured nails make your fingers and hands look longer and leaner.
It’s a beauty rule some on-trend celebs have already clued up on.
Lily Collins, Kate Hudson and Kerry Washington (below) all regularly roll up to the red carpet, setting off their evening clutches with elegant, elongated nude nails.
According to Petroni, clients are starting to ask for around two millimetres of white tip – up from half a millimetre not too long ago. It doesn’t sound like much, but in nail terms it can be the difference between a more square or a more oval effect.
If you have trouble growing your nails, consider popping some nail-growth supplements. Also, several weekly manicures will help things along – Petroni recommends starting out with gel nails. “They can protect the nail underneath while it starts to grow and re-strengthen,” she explains, quickly adding that it’s important to choose a good quality gel (she uses CND Shellac) as well as rub oil into nail beds each night.
If you’re DIY-ing, paint on a nail strengthener every day (removing the layers and starting again after a few days), until you have your desired length. When you’re finally here (congratulations!), the best way to shape the tips is by holding your hands up in front of your face, palms facing away; “File your nails so the shape of the tips mirror the curve of the base,” advises Petroni.
The finishing touch: slick on a coat of flesh-coloured polish (make sure to choose a hue close to your skin tone, be that pale or dark), and admire those lovely long fingers of yours.
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