Short square nails are this season's answer to a chic and minimalistic manicure

Offering a polished and low-maintenance finish, short square nails are set to be everyone's go-to shape this summer and beyond...

A hand with sheer pink short square nails by nail artist @matejanova/ Mateja Novakovic/ in a pink watercolour paint-style template
(Image credit: @matejanova/ Mateja Novakovic)

Perfectly combining sophistication with comfort, short square nails offer a stylish departure from long, damage-prone and high-maintenance talons...

Though the 2024 nail trends have offered plenty of statement designs, we have noticed a shift towards more minimalistic manicures of late, from neutral nail hues to more understated shapes - and one, in particular, is proving to be very popular indeed. Short square nails are beginning to edge out almond nails as the must-have everyday design, thanks to their refined look and easy-to-navigate length. This will no doubt come as good news for those of you who either can't hack (or grow) long nails or prefer their manis to be more of an accompaniment, rather than the focal point of your outfit.

So, for anyone looking to embrace this stylish and trending shape, here's everything you need to know - from how to achieve it at home, to our eight go-to short square nail designs...

While there will always be room for timeless almond shapes in our manicure rotation, short square nails are proving to be the in-demand style of the season. And in case you're not versed in manicure lingo, the look is very much as the name suggests - short in length (either meeting or being just beneath or over the end of your fingertip), with a squared edge.

As for the style's surge in popularity, '90s-esque square nails have been making a comeback in general, plus nail health is becoming more of a priority, with many either opting to nurture their natural nails (thus selecting a more manageable length) or more hardwearing treatments, like BIAB nails. Combine the two and you get the rise of short square nails, not to mention the fact that they look so darn chic.

Our short square nail essentials

To help you achieve the perfect squared tip, be sure to invest in a nail file and buff the edge of your nail into a straight line, then file the sides of the tip slightly, to achieve that angular finish. If you have longer nails, a clipper or scissors will also help come in handy to trim down on length and create a clean, squared edge.

We also recommend adding a cuticle oil and one of the best nail strengtheners to your nail care routine.

8 ways to wear short square nails this season

If you're a faithful almond mani lover or tend to gravitate towards longer talons but are tempted to try this trendy shape, we've rounded up eight chic short and square nail looks to consider...

1. Short square French tip nails

Being that a classic French tip nail look boasts a precise, white tip, it only makes sense to pair the design with an equally sharp and refined nail shape. The result is neat and perfect for every day - and with the help of this Manucurist nail brush (at Cult Beauty) and a bit of practice, you can recreate the look at home.

2. milky white short square nails

Milky nails are very popular right now, especially among those seeking an understated and chic manicure, so combine the hue with a short and square nail shape and you've got just that.

3. red short square nails

Red is one of those shades that suits all nail shapes and lengths but right now, we're especially loving this short and square combination.

4. pink and white ombre short square nails

If you're looking for a way to elevate your French tip ombre nails, we would make a case for this short and square finish. It's neat and subtle, but so effective.

5. Colourful short square French tips

If you're looking for short French tip ideas, we recommend opting for a statement shade - like green - along with this subtle square finish.

6. short square BIAB nails

For a long-lasting square manicure, a BIAB manicure, along with a neutral hue and square nail shape, is a great option - the likes of which will compliment all your outfits and work for any occasion.

7. Orange short square nails

For the summer months, or for more of a statement manicure, we're loving this pop of orange - especially when paired with a squoval or square nail shape.

8. Burgundy short square nails

If you find darker and more statement nail colours a little intimating , opting for a more understated nail shape - like square - is a great option. We also find that reds, particularly burgundy, looks so expensive when paired with a short and squared finish.

Naomi Jamieson
Digital Beauty Writer

Naomi is a Digital Beauty Writer from woman&home, where she covers everything from skincare to fragrance but specialises, particularly, in makeup and nail trends. Through her work, Naomi gets to share her trend expertise and share her own shopping recommendations and product reviews. Previously, she worked as a Lifestyle News Writer for My Imperfect Life magazine, where she used her savvy for TikTok to bring readers the latest beauty buzzwords, fashion movements and must-have products. 

Before that, Naomi split her time between both GoodTo and My Imperfect Life, whilst training for her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ, for which she earned a Distinction. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but leapt into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing. Now, when she isn’t reporting on the best perfumes and latest beauty releases, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping...