Nail Care Filing and Shaping

Taking care of your fingernails is important if you want them to stay healthy, strong and beautiful. Part of that care is knowing the proper way to file and shape your nails.

When to File the Nails

First, you should only file your nails if the tip is at least a quarter inch grown out from its stress point. The stress point of a nail is when the edge meets the part of the nail that is pink. If you wait longer that the nail is subject to breaking easily. Plus, nails shouldn’t be filed from side to side, as that can cause the nail to get weak. You should always file if corner to corner and go in the same direction.

How to Choose a File

It’s best not to use those hard metal files, and you should stick with the cardboard ones so you won’t split or break the nails. Soft, straight files work the best and are the safest for your fingernails. Nail files are characterized by their roughness. The lower the number, the rougher the file. It’s best to choose files between 180 and 220 if you have natural nails, but if the nails are thin or weak, it’s better to pick a higher number so it won’t be so rough.

How to File and Shape the Nails

First, the fingernails should be clean and dry. When you start to file the nails, you should do so at a 45 degree angle to your nail so the hard surface is protected. There are five basic fingernail shapes: round, square, oval, pointed and squoval, which is a squared off oval shape.

How to File Round Nails

Round nails are considered to be a conservative shape. This is what men usually choose. If someone has large hands and wide nails, round nails can make their hands look thinner. It also provides a nice nail outline. To form round nails, file the sides and round the edges to get a curved look.

How to File Oval Nails

Many women like to have oval nails, as they look feminine and graceful. To get an oval begin by straightening out your sidewalls and make sure you get them even. Then, file the side to the top and angle it out to form the oval shape.

How to file Square Nails

Square nails are a classic shape for fake acrylic nails. It is used in French style manicures and in nail art. To get this shape, do the side walls and free edges of the nails first, then straighten the free edge and make sure the file is placed perpendicular to the person’s nail so you can get the squared shape. Then, file the walls appropriately and angle it to get the square shape you desire.

How to file Squoval Nails

Squoval shaped nails are actually quite common. It is a square shaped nail with the edges made more into an oval shape. It was developed in 1984 for those who wanted a less harsh looking square like look. To make it, use the same technique as the square nails, making sure the sidewalls are straight, and then round off the tip of the nails which are past the nail’s free edge, being careful not to remove any part of the nail from the side walls and the stress area of the nails.

How to File Pointed Nails

Pointed nails are not as popular in the US but are popular in places like Eastern Europe and Russia. It can be used to make a person’s hand look slimmer and make their fingers look longer. To create it, you can do what is called the “I” technique, which means using the “I” shape to form the pointed nails. For the tip, you make the top of the “I” into a point and then blend the rest of the nail to make the rest of the shape.

Deciding on the Right Nail Shape

If you are trying to figure out what shape is best for you, some suggestions include a squoval shape is you have wide nail beds, or a round shape if you prefer low maintenance nails, for instance. You can always ask the opinion of your nail stylist for best results.