Coffin vs Ballerina Nails: What’s The Difference?

Nail shape shows your style and gives people a preview of your personality. Among the many shapes you can choose from, two of the most popular are coffin and ballerina nails. 

This article will discuss the differences between coffin and ballerina nails. It will weigh which one stands out and how you can differentiate the two.

 The fact is coffin and ballerina nails look almost the same; some people interchange the terms. However, the side part of the coffin shape is straight, while the sides are rounded with ballerina nails. 

Learning how these shapes are made and how they look once done will make it easier for you to choose between the two. This way, you can easily decide which shape to ask for the next time you visit a nail salon or maybe do it on your own.

Are Coffin and Ballerina Nails the Same?

Are Coffin and Ballerina Nails the Same

Coffin and ballerina nails can look feminine and romantic, especially when painted with lighter colors. However, take note that they only look similar but have slight differences. 

They both have straight tips – ballerina nails have narrower edges than the other. Also, the sides are different. The sides of coffin nails are straight, while ballerina nails have rounded sides.

Main Difference Between Coffin and Ballerina Nails

Main Difference Between Coffin and Ballerina Nails

The main difference between the two can be seen on the sides. It’s curvy for the ballerina nails and straight for coffin nails.

The tips will also give you a hint about which is which. It’s square for ballerina to complement the slim shape, and coffin nails have rectangular tips to mimic the shape of the object it’s named after.

Coffin vs Ballerina Nails – Understanding the Differences

Coffin vs Ballerina Nails - Understanding the Differences

The two nail shapes are alike in many ways that you have to look closer to understand the differences. 

What’s in the Shape?

When you look closely, coffin nails look sharper, and the sides are straight. It is shaped like its namesake with rectangular tips and a square structure.

On the other hand, ballerina nails have curvy sides and look softer. It is slimmer to make its shape similar to ballerina shoes and has a rectangular structure.


The two shapes look attractive, but what you choose can depend on the appeal you want to obtain. Coffin nails look more rough but still feminine, but ballerina nails emit a more feminine vibe and look softer.


Both nails are long. They only vary on how the sides and tips are filed. However, you can ask the person doing your nails to make them shorter than usual if you know you can’t maintain super long nails.

Application Process

You can do coffin nails on long gel or acrylic nails, or try it if your natural nails are long. You can achieve this shape by filing the nails with a square structure, rectangular tips, and a fully marked point.

Similar to coffin, you can also do ballerina nails on long natural or fake nails. File the nails straight, with the sides maintaining the original shape. You will then file the sides slightly triangular to give them the curves.

Pros & Cons

The main advantage of the two shapes is that they never go out of style. They have been among the most requested at nail salons worldwide, but ballerina nails got a boost when Kylie Jenner made them her signature nail shapes.

However, the disadvantage of coffin and ballerina nails is that you can only do them in long nails, which are harder to maintain than nail types with a shorter length.

Price / Cost

Since the length and process of doing the nails are quite similar, they are priced similarly as well. Prepare to pay around $35 to $60 if you’ll have them done in a nail salon and $6 to $20 if you’d rather have a DIY manicure at home.


Since both nails are long and tend to be fragile, you must be careful about how you use your nails. You also have to ensure that the nails are clean all the time for your own hygiene.

How Long Do They Usually Last?

Both nails are usually long, so expect them to be more fragile than the shorter nail shapes. They will probably last from two to three weeks if they are made from acrylic, about a week if they are made from glue-on nails, but longer if you used your natural nails in obtaining either shape.


The removal process depends on the material used in making the nail shapes. It is advisable to have them removed by the experts. If they are made from acrylic, you must soak them in pure acetone before dealing with your natural nails first to ensure they won’t get damaged.

Coffin vs Ballerina Nails: Quick Comparison Chart

Coffin vs Ballerina Nails:


Coffin Nails:

Ballerina Nails:

What are they?

Trendy/versatile nail shapes

Trendy/versatile nail shapes


File the sides straight and the tips rectangular

File the sides curvy with the tips square/slimmer


Feminine and straight

Feminine and curvy


$35 to $60 (at nail salons)

$35 to $60 (at nail salons)


Best removed by an expert

Best removed by an expert

How Long Do They Last:

1 to 3 weeks

1 to 3 weeks


Glue-on, acrylic, or natural

Glue-on, acrylic, or natural

After effects:

Trendy and elegant

Feminine, trendy, and elegant

Range (colors):

Lighter hues

Lighter hues


15 to 20 minutes

15 to 20 minutes


Acrylic nails offer more flexibility

Acrylic nails offer more flexibility

Coffin or Ballerina Nails: Which is Better & How to Choose?

Coffin or Ballerina Nails: Which is Better

It’s a win-win situation no matter what you choose. They look similar anyway, with differences you will only observe when you look closely. 

If you want something soft and curvy on the sides, go for ballerina nails; if you want straight sides, go for coffin nails.

Final Verdict

There are ongoing debates about whether or not coffin and ballerina nails are the same. This article proves they are not. They only look the same but have slight variations.

You can choose any of the two. They look elegant, and both styles are trendy all year round.

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