This 'outdated' nail shape is making a comeback for 2024 - as it adds instant sophistication to your look

The '90s are having a revival in the form of square nails, as the neat and ultra-polished shape is set to be *everywhere* this summer...

A close up of a hand with shiny square nails by nail artists @gel.bymegan/ in a pale pink template
(Image credit: @gel.bymegan)

While elegant almond and understated oval shapes have ruled the proverbial manicure-roost for some time now, 2024 is proving to be the year of square nails - as the '90s style is making a very welcome and chic comeback...

When we think of a rectangular manicure, an image of Victoria Beckham's '90s-era French tip nails immediately spring to mind. The combination of milky-pink base and white tip with the angular shape was the go-to at the time - with one scarcely seen without the other - and is still very much synonymous with the decade now. So naturally, when French tips made their inevitable return to the 2024 nail trends, the neat, square style wasn't far behind.

And while some may still deem them 'dated,' square nails are refreshingly versatile - as they suit all lengths easily - and offer instant sophistication and maturity to your look...

What are square nails?

As the name would suggest, unlike oval and almond nails, rectangle/square nails feature a precise squared tip, which gives your talons that signature, 'square' shape.

'Squoval' nails therefore borrow elements from both oval and square/rectangle styles, combining the the wider look of the latter with a slightly rounded edge.

And while square nails are often associated with the 1990s, they're very much making a comeback, especially when paired with milky hues, classic reds and neutral nail shades - as they offer a clean and minimalistic effect. There's just something about this style that feels sophisticated and can offer a very natural (but elevated) effect. After all - like oval - square is a naturally occurring nail shape.

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Another pro to this shape is that it suits all nail shapes. Unlike almond and stiletto, which are often reserved for longer nails, square and rectangle tips can be applied to any length, easily.

Our square nail toolkit

If you're looking to create a squared tip at home, we'd recommend investing in a good quality nail file, as well as some nail clippers to achieve a straight edge. Also, for a very professional-looking finish, be sure to maintain your cuticle and apply a cuticle oil daily.

How to shape square nails correctly?

So, now that we've covered what a square or rectangular nail shape entails, how do we go about achieving the style at home?

Thankfully, it's relatively straightforward. File/ cut your nails to your desired length, then file the sides of your nails, to create a straight edge. Once this step is done, file the tip straight across, to create a right angle at each corner of your nails. Be sure to file in one direction at a time - not back and forth. Then we'd recommend applying one of the best nail strengtheners, followed by a cuticle oil.

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What lengths suit square nails best?

As mentioned, rectangle and square nails can be adapted to practically any length, though to achieve a really sharp and clean angle, you may require your nail to be just over the edge of your fingertip.

If you have shorter nails, we recommend a more squoval nail shape instead.

8 timeless square nail looks we love

Now, if you're looking for a polished and sophisticated manicure but are new to square nails and unsure of how they might suit your hands, here are eight timeless and reliable options that will never fail to elevate your look - no matter the occasion or season.

1. Signature red

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We're of the firm belief that you can never go wrong with a pop of red, especially when you pair it with a square nail shape. The duo looks so expensive and works for both every day and more formal settings.

2. French ombre square nails

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Ombre French tips are very popular right now, so it only makes sense to combine the two trending looks together, for a sharp and clean finish.

3. Glassy square nails

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Speaking of popular, 'Glass' nails are 2024's twist on Glazed nails and we just love how the mirror-shine looks on square shapes.

4. Short and Milky rectangle nails

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Milky shades - like Bubble Bath nails - are always a timeless pick and when paired with square talons, you have a very chic and understated look on your hands.

5. Pale pink square nails

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Pink is another one of those shades that just suits every nail style, so pairing a soft, rosy pink with a square finish is a no-brainer.

6. Burgundy French tips

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If you're a fan of short French tips, the design looks so luxe on square nails and can make the application process a bit easier - as you can just line the straight edge of your nail as opposed to following the rounded curve of almond nails and so on.

7. Chrome square nails

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If in doubt, opt for a chrome finish. A pearly sheen always manages to elevate a nail look and is perfect for occasions and beyond.

8. Black square nails

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If your looking to take cues from Victoria Beckham, she often sports a chic, black manicure and we think the addition of a squared tip just makes it all the more high-fashion.

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...