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How To File Nails: Is There A Right Way?

Filing your nails requires patience, precision and a good knowledge of the correct techniques to avoid making mistakes that can damage them. Taking care of your fingernails and toenails is an aesthetic quirk and a way to keep them healthy and clean to avoid any infections caused by lack of hygiene. Furthermore, filing your nails helps make them stronger and prevent them from ingrown. In this article, therefore, we will see how to file your nails step by step to obtain a satisfactory result.

Tools Needed For Filing Nails

Before starting, you must make sure you have the material available to arrange the nails and prepare them for filing:

  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers: scissors or clippers
  • Wooden stick or cuticle pusher
  • Moisturizing and protective cuticle oil
  • Buffer (optional): the pad is used to create different nail shapes and smooth and shine the nail’s surface after filing it.

Nail Preparation

Cleaning Your Nails

Before starting filing, it is advisable to soften the nails by soaking them in warm water. The second step is to remove any nail polish residues with cotton wool pads soaked in nail polish remover.

Hydration Of The Cuticles

In this step, we dedicate ourselves to hydration using a specific protective cream or oil for cuticles, which is delicately massaged to soften them. It is essential to treat this sort of “skin”, which has a precise function, namely that of protecting the base of the nail and the nail matrix responsible for the growth of the nail. Keeping your cuticles hydrated helps prevent damage, infection and irritation. After softening them, you can use the wooden stick to push them backward to make them less visible.

Nail Cutting

If necessary, cut your nails with scissors or clippers, following the nail’s natural shape.

Also Read: These Are The 5 Most Beautiful Nail Polish Trends In Winter

Nail Filing

Choice Of Shape

Before you begin filing, selecting the form—which should ideally be the most akin to the human body—is necessary. Square, squoval (rectangular with rounded corners), oval, almond, ballerina, stiletto, pipe, Marylin, and biting are examples of many nail forms. The most popular shapes are the ballerina, almond, oval, stiletto, and squoval.

How To File Your Nails

The correct movement is the one that starts from the corners, going towards the centre, from top to bottom, and from the outside to the inside.

How To File Square Nails

To make square nails, you must cut them to obtain the shape and then file them to perfect it, starting from the center and continuing horizontally.

How To File Round Nails

To have perfectly round nails, filing should be done in a circular direction, proceeding from the outer edge towards the center of the nail.

How To File Oval Nails

Almond-shaped nails, with an oval shape, are obtained on nails of a certain length, beveling the external sides and going towards the center.

Refine The Shape

Once the desired shape has been achieved, the edges are finished or smoothed with more delicate movements to eliminate any irregularities.

Cleaning Your Nails

After filing your nails, you can remove dust using a special nail brush.

How To File Toenails

Taking care of toenails is also essential, firstly for a hygienic factor and then because filing them helps prevent breakage, thickening and ingrown, a phenomenon also known as onychocryptosis. However, there are some precautions to observe, even about the feet.

Choose The Correct File

Since toenails are more demanding and more durable than fingernails, we advise using a particular file while filing them. The correct file must be used. Between these:

A coarse file is the ideal file for thicker toenails. These files have a rougher surface, which allows you to file the nail surface more effectively and remove excess thickness by shaping the nail. A word of caution: use the file delicately and without exerting excessive pressure to avoid damaging it.

Electric Nail File: Electric nail files come with interchangeable heads and can be a convenient choice for filing and shaping toenails quickly and precisely.

Trim Your Nails

Before filing your nails, if necessary, you need to cut them with a suitable nail clipper; generally better to use clippers, but be careful to reach a reasonable length so that there is space for filing.

File Your Nails

Nail filing should start from the center and work towards the corners.

Polish Your Nails

After filing your nails, you can use a buffer to smooth the surface and make them smoother and more uniform.

Clean Your Nails

Finally, you can clean your toenails with a cleaner and a brush to remove the dust left by filing. We recommend applying a specific foot moisturizer to keep your nails and skin soft and hydrated.


Here are a few hints to keep your nails solid and sound:

  • Assiduously use a protective oil or cream suitable for your condition.
  • Record your nails routinely to keep up with their shape.
  • To protect your fingernails, it is a good practice to wear protective gloves when doing household work or if you come into contact with aggressive products or chemical substances.
  • Enrich your diet with nutritious foods that help strengthen your nails. The substances known to have beneficial effects are zinc and magnesium, B vitamins ( B12, B9 ) and vitamin C, biotin (vitamin B7).

The nutrients you get from your food can help with brittleness, flaking, or sluggish growth. If this occurs, it is best to see a dermatologist to identify the source and obtain the necessary care.

To conclude, we have seen how to file fingernails and toenails well, step by step, the materials to use and the precautions to observe.

It is recommended, however, to contact professionals in the aesthetic or dermatological sector if you need to gain the experience or manual ability to carry out these or other more delicate operations independently. Nails are a peaceful part of the body, to be treated with suitable attention.

Also Read: Almond-Shaped Nails: How Are They Made?


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