What You Need to Know About Coffin Nails (Designs & Video)

Picking a nail color, shape and design can certainly feel overwhelming. As more intricate acrylic shapes and designs are on the rise, it seems like there are new trends every day. Coffin nails, or Kylie Jenner’s go-to nail, are the new classic when it comes to manicures.

The coffin nail is a signature look shown off by many A-list celebrities and is only gaining popularity. Edgy, trendy and sleek, coffin nails are sure to earn you a few compliments. And no, they’re not nearly as scary as they sound.

What are coffin nails?

Coffin nails made their first appearance in nail salons in the 1990’s but have come a long way since then.  Much like a stiletto nail, coffin nails have edges that are tapered in. However, instead of coming to a sharp point like the stiletto style, coffin nails are filed flat on top for a more subtle look.

While it is possible to accomplish coffin style nails on natural nails, if they are long enough, they are most often done on acrylic nails. It is very difficult to maintain natural nails that are long enough to accomplish the coffin look, and the style is more easily changed with acrylic sets. If you are unsure if your nails are suitable for the coffin shape, talk with your nail salon as they will be able to find the best shape for you.

What is the difference between coffin nails and ballerina nails?

Coffin nails and ballerina nails both refer to the same nail shape. Both terms refer to the typically longer nail tapered to a blunt tip. If you are looking for a sleek tapered square shape for your nails, you can ask your nail tech for either a coffin nail or a ballerina nail. The reason this nail shape is called both a coffin and ballerina style is because, depending on who you ask, the nail looks like a coffin or like a ballerina slipper.

Similarly, some salons have started to offer a “lipstick” shaped nail, which is very similar to the coffin or ballerina shape. The lipstick nail, named due to its characteristic shape, is only differentiated by a diagonally shaped square tip instead of a straight square edge.

Are coffin nails still in style?

Coffin nails have become a classic in nail salons all across the country. The days of wide, flat tips are long gone and replaced with a more delicate tapered shape. While coffin nails have been around for a while, they gained popularity in 2016 when top celebrities like the Kardashians, Rihanna, and Zendaya touted the bold, coffin shaped nail. Early on, the coffin nail was known for it long length and dark colors.

However, since 2016 coffin nails have stayed in the top of nail trends and are here to stay. Today’s coffin trends look much different than when they first arrived on the nail trend scene. Now, trends favor coffin nails that are shorter and typically in more muted tones, like pinks, beiges or pale blues.

 It is also trendy for people to get French tip style nails or more intricate designs on a coffin shaped nail. Every social media platform is filled with intricately designed coffin nails that feature various pictures, lines, colors and shapes. However, more bold solid colors are also common for the coffin nail trend. The shape is so versatile, that it’s a perfect match for anyone. So next time you hit the salon, try that bright color or experiment with different matte or glossy finishes!

Are coffin nails easier to break?

Anyone who’s gotten a manicure before knows the crushing feeling of having a nail break. Not only can a break be physically painful, it can also be frustrating and visually unappealing. While nail breaks are an unfortunate part of manicures, the risk of breakage depends nail shape, nail health and activity level. If you are trying to preserve a fresh manicure, it is always best practice to avoid activities with a high impact on your nails, such as frequent typing or playing highly active sports. It’s also important to get your manicure set refilled when it starts to grow out to keep the fresh manicured look, while also reducing the risk of a break.

Acrylic nail sets are usually very difficult to break. So, when the coffin shape is done on an acrylic set, there is a fairly low risk for a nail break. Acrylic coffin nails are less likely to break than longer stiletto or even squared styles, but if you are concerned with a nail breakage opt for a more rounded style such as an almond shaped or oval shaped nail. Let your nail tech know if you are concerned about breakage, as they may have strengthening top coats or treatments to help harden the nail.

Since the coffin nail is bluntly filed on top, it is less likely to snag on clothes or during day-to-day activities than more sharply pointed nails. Although, when done on natural nails, the straight, square edges of coffin nails do make the nail more vulnerable to breakage.

 If you still want a trendy coffin style without having to sacrifice the health of your nails, there are actions you can take to reduce the risk of a breakage. Opting for a shorter coffin nail will result in a wider squared edge, making the nail less likely to break. However, the best way to prevent breakage is through regular maintenance of your nails, including the use of cuticle oils and nail strengthening treatments. By investing in regular upkeep, you will improve the overall health and look of your nails while saving yourself from frustration later on.

Do coffin nails have to be long?

Many people think coffin nails have to be long. After all, our Instagram feeds are filled with pictures of beautiful, long acrylics perfectly filed into the iconic coffin shape. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth!

Coffin nails can be achieved with relatively short nails. The nail only needs to be long enough to file the sides of the nail inward towards more of a point. However, if you have very short, trimmed natural nails it will be difficult to achieve the characteristic coffin shape. Additionally, when shaping shorter nails into the coffin shape, the blunt edge is often much wider than on longer coffin shaped nails.

Current trends are starting to favor shorter coffin shaped nails for a more subtle, everyday look. Typically, acrylic sets are still needed to get the desired shape, however many are opting for a dainty shorter length compared to the longer, bolder length. Shorter coffin nails also happen to be much easier to wear, so it’s a win-win; trendy and practical!

Are coffin nails more expensive?

The versatile, bold designs of coffin nails have easily made them the most popular nail style, and salons have had to keep up with the ever-changing nail styles. Most, if not all, nail salons are familiar with this iconic design and your nail tech should be very familiar with shaping a coffin nail.

While it all depends on your specific nail salon, coffin nails are typically the same price as any other shaped nail. Square nails, one of the only exceptions, tend to be between slightly cheaper because they require much less filing and finishing. Some salons will charge a five to ten dollar fee for the extra time needed to achieve any shaped nail. So, if coffin nails are more expensive than square nails at your salon, they typically only require a small filing fee.

 However, if you are concerned with the price of any nail set, it is always best to ask your nail technician about the estimated costs prior to the manicure. There is no feeling worse than getting a perfect, fresh set and getting surprised by a bill that is outside of your budget!

Can I do coffin nails at home?

If you want to hop on the newest coffin nail trend but are hesitant to spend the money at the nail salon to try it out, don’t stress. Doing coffin nails at home is actually much easier than it sounds. Since the coffin style is achieved through filing in the side and squaring off the top edge, it can be accomplished at home on natural nails with a good nail file. There are plenty of tutorials online that walk you through, step-by-step, how to get this stylish look.

If you want to take it one step further, you can even do your own coffin shaped acrylic set at home. Most beauty supply stores, and even some drug stores, sell at-home acrylic nail kits. It may take some practice, but if you are able to get the hang of it, you could save hundreds by doing your own manicures at home. Plus, you won’t feel as bad if you want to change up your look and try a different color or design.

The next time you’re looking to try out a new style, listen to your witchy instincts and opt for a coffin style! This versatile shape can be painted with bold designs to match your personality or go for more subtle colors to wear to the office. Don’t be afraid to try something out of the box, and let your nails show off your personality!

Coffin Nail Designs

Short Coffin Nails

Medium Coffin Nails

Long Coffin Nails

Black Coffin Nails

Nude Coffin Nails

Grey Coffin Nails

Matte Coffin Nails

White Coffin Nails

Red Coffin Nails

Pink Coffin Nails

Blue Coffin Nails

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