Round vs. Square Tips: Which Is Healthier for Your Nails?

It’s not just a cosmetic choice.

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Choosing your nail polish color might seem like your most difficult decision at the nail salon, but there’s another one that has a bigger impact than you’d think: “square or round tips?”

This seemingly inconspicuous question by your nail technician sounds like nothing more than a matter of personal preference. Well, not according to the American Academy of Dermatology. They recommend square tips for your fingers and toes to prevent ingrown nails.

Ingrown nails occur when the side of your nail grows into the skin, which can lead to painful swelling and redness. It’s difficult to fix once it happens since the nail begins to dig and curl into your poor skin, and you may even need to see a pro to get things back to normal.

The best solution: Prevent ingrown nails by trimming the nails properly. Square tips win this fight because they encourage the nail to grow upward, not outward into the skin.

One downside: Square tips tend to have sharp edges that can lead to snagging. If you love the rounded edge, take off that square corner with a nail file—preferably your own file to prevent the spread of germs. (Learn more about rules for a safer mani and pedi here.)