August 19, 2023

How to File Nails Step by Step

Before you get to the actual filing process, start by washing your hands and making sure they’re dry. This is important, as you don’t want to be filing your nails while they’re still damp or they could break and peel.

Next, pick out a nail shape you love. The options are endless, but some of the most popular shapes include ovals, squares, squovals, and pointed/almond nails. Whatever your nail shape, it’s best to work with a file that’s not too abrasive. The abrasiveness of the file can cause damage to your nails and lead to breakage, so it’s best to keep things as smooth and gentle as possible.

Once you’re ready to start, position your file so it meets the nail at a 45-degree angle and is almost under the white part of your nail (this will be your cuticle area). Next, use small, fluid motions to sweep the nail file down each side in one direction only. Remember to keep the motions smooth, as sawing back and forth can cause breakage, tearing, and rugged edges.

After you’ve swiped the nail file over each side 3-4 times, double-check to see that the corners are rounded and not flat or pointed. If they aren’t, simply use the 240-grit file to round the corners and again check the nails for evenness. Once everything is just how you like it, rinse and towel-dry your hands and apply a cuticle oil to nourish them.

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