How to file your nails properly

home manicure: clip, file and buff nails

The shape of your nails frame your manicure. Before you start painting your nails, it’s important to know how to file your nails properly.

How to file your nails properly: Emery boards

Emery boards are the cheapest, most effective nail files

Choose the right nail file

According to Thea Callen, founder of Nails Inc., “the most basic, inexpensive emery boards are more flexible and kinder to nails.” The grit on metal nail files is often too harsh for the nail and can cause nails to peel and chip if used incorrectly. Stick to a simple drugstore emery file if you have want a no-frills nail file or have brittle nails, it’ll save you money too!

 Clip your nails

Clip your nails if you want to take a lot of length off. Leave a square edge with enough length for you to shape it with a file.

How to file your nails properly: Nail shapes

Choose your nail shape

There are a few types of nail shapes:

  • Oval
  • Square
  • Squoval
  • Round
  • Pointed/Almond

The squoval is one of the most popular shapes as it combines the elegance of the oval with the modern look of the square. (For a more detailed guide on nail shapes, check out this post.

If you have a wide nail bed, try the squoval. The oval is good for short, low-maintenance nails and the square complements narrow nails.

You should also bear in mind the nail art design you want to do when you’re deciding on what shape to file your nails in. For every shape, start from the sides before working into the top/center. Follow the natural curve of your cuticles as a guide.

File your nails in one direction

Always file your nails in one direction only, working your way towards the center of the nail. DO NOT saw back and forth with the nail file (a very common mistake) – this causes nails to chip and break. Be careful not to file too deeply at the edges of the nail as that can weaken the nail wall. Stroke it from the corner of your nail towards the middle and repeat till you get your desired shape.

Useful tips

  • You should only file your nails when they’re completely dry. Your nails are weaker and prone to chipping when wet.
  • Nail polish helps protect nails during filing and prevents the nail from splitting. If you have nail polish left on, it’s a good idea to file your nails before you remove it.
  • File gently under your nails to remove the soft nail tissue that may remain after filing.
  • Buffing your nails after filing smoothens and gives shine, but buffing too often can damage the nail. Buffing about once a month is recommended.


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One Response to How to file your nails properly

  1. naima says:

    thank u saved my ife at school