How to File Nails Properly

Suffering from brittle or broken nails? It could be down to how you file them! When we give ourselves a manicure, the aim is to create strong, long and healthy nails, but often this can be the very thing that causes them damage. Filing your nails might sound simple, but there are a few important things to remember when it comes to doing it right. Want to learn exactly how to file nails properly like a pro? Follow our simple steps below and say goodbye to nail file fiascos!

How to File Your Nails

  • Choose the Right Nail File

The first step is choosing the right nail file for your natural nails. When it comes to nail files, it’s crucial to look at the grade grit, especially for natural nails. The lower the grit number, the courser the file is. For natural nails, you need a finer grit grade – around 240 is a good choice for shaping natural nails, any lower than 180 and you risk causing too much damage.

  • Stop Sawing

When it comes to how to file nails properly, there’s one golden rule: stop sawing! The number one thing people get wrong is filing their nail file back and forth against their nail in a sawing motion. This might feel like the quickest method but it’s counterproductive to getting strong, healthy nails because it causes splitting and damage to the tips, ultimately resulting in breakage.

  • File in Two Parts

Instead of sawing back and forth, file each side of the nail separately and only in one direction. Starting at the base of the nail on each side, file upwards towards your tip and round off the top to the shape you like.

  • Choose Your Shape

As well as getting your technique down, you’ll also need to think about what shape you want your nail to be. Do you want a classic almond shape? Square or round? It’s a good idea to decide this first so you don’t file off too much or lose length by making corrections. More on nail shapes in a minute!

  • Remove Any Snagged Edges

And finally, once you’ve finished, if you find you have some nail filings still attached or edges you need to smooth out, you can remove these by placing the tip of your nail file underneath the nail and flicking it in an upwards motion.

how to file nails properly

How to File Nails Square

Square shaped nails are one of the most popular shapes to opt for and look especially great on medium to long nails. Learning how to file nails square is easy: 

  1. If you’re cutting your nails first, opt for nail clippers with a straight edge, rather than a slight curve, as this will help with getting that true square shape just right.
  2. Ignoring the sides of your nails, file in one direction across the top of your nail until you get to your desired length.
  3. To make sure you get a neat square, keep the nail file perpendicular to your nail, making sure it isn’t tilted underneath or over the tip of the nail.
  4. If you need to, you can very lightly file the sides to smooth them, but be careful not to ruin the square and end up with a squoval shape.

How to File Nails Oval or Round

Round or oval nails are another classic shape and look very natural. They’re also less likely to snag or break due to their smooth shape. When it comes to how to file nails oval or round there are a few things to remember:

  1. Similarly to square nails, keep the sides of your nails straight up to your desired length.
  2. Take your file and gently round off only the top corners of each side, aiming for the same width as the bottom of your nails at the cuticle.
  3. You should be left with a round nail shape with the top symmetrical to the bottom.

Whichever shape you choose, make sure you follow our simple steps on how to file nails properly to prevent causing them any damage. Now you know how to file your nails, you can ensure you prevent any pesky splits, tears and breakage. To really treat your nails after filing, rub a little cuticle oil into your nails and hands for extra nourishment! 

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