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How to Shape Your Nails

There are so many nail files available these days such as emery boards, glass files, metal files, disposable, reusable, and on and on. Whichever you select, be sure to choose a fine grit to avoid splitting of the nail layers. Rougher textures will reduce length quickly but can damage the nails. So let’s stick to a 180 and higher grit for the finger nails.

If your nails are too long, you may want to use clippers to reduce length prior to filing and shaping. However, be cautious when clipping as you can accidentally cut too short or risk cracking the nail. Best to use short snips to avoid cutting too short or cracking. Cut them longer than you prefer since you will end up reducing more length during shaping.

Now that you are ready to shape, you need to figure out which shape suits your hand and nail the best. Sometimes the trendy shapes are not always going to be suitable for you. I like to follow the shape of your own natural nail by using the cuticle as the guideline. If they are deeply curved, square, simply round, or square with rounded edges, just follow that shape and it will accentuate the natural shape of and also preserve the structural integrity of the nail.

Shape your Nails

The three most common nail shapes are square, oval/round, and squoval.

Square Nails

If you prefer a sharp linear square nail, hold your file parallel to the free edge and slightly tilt the file towards the cuticle.  File back and forth until desired shape is formed. This will achieve a sharp, bold square. 

Round/Oval Nails

This classic shape works great with conservative ladies with a long nail bed.   Tilt the file at an angle away from the free edge and file from corner to center, corner to center on both sides.  Follow the shape of your cuticle.  File until desired shape is achieved.  Run the file across the point to soften and achieve more of a round look.  

Squoval Nails

This has always been the most popular shape in my 19+ years of experience.  This is in-between a square and an oval.  Square nail with rounded corners.  This is a durable shape that will not snag or break easily.  To achieve this shape, keep the file parallel to the nail and slightly tilt towards the cuticle.  File back and forth until desired shape is achieved.  Run file along the corners to soften and round them.  Never file along the side walls of the nail as this will weaken the structural integrity of the nail.  

Just like with anything, practice makes perfect.  Happy filing!