How to File Nails the Right Way

There are two types of people in this world: people who care about how their nails look, and people who don’t. It’s true that some of us are born with a biological clock geared towards bi-monthly mani-pedis, but we’d guess that the majority of us tend to let our nails go unmanicured most of the year. Regardless of which category you fall into, though, the state of your nails can reveal a lot about your overall health: from mental anxieties to deeper physical illnesses.

That’s right, caring for your nails is actually an important part of your overall health and hygiene routine. So even if you’re not one for nail polish or acrylics, it’s important to know how to file nails correctly. Here are our top tips.

How to File Nails Correctly

Use a Soft File

Believe it or not, there are actually different types of nail files! They are measured in an increment called ‘grit’, which refers to the overall roughness of the file’s texture. If you’re just learning how to file nails, it can be tempting to grab a run of the mill file from the bargain bin at your local pharmacy. These files are usually incredibly rough on your nails, and can lead to tearing and breakage. To lessen the risk, we recommend picking up a softer file at a beauty supply store. A grit level of 240 is good for natural nails, though higher grit levels (ie. softer textures) are also an option for nails that are already broken or damaged. We love these inexpensive ones from Sally’s.

File the Tip First

When learning how to file nails, there’s one critical rule you must know: always start at the tip of the nail. This is important regardless of the nail shape that you wish to achieve. You should hold the file perpendicular to the tip of the nail and file in one direction (do not saw back and forth). This will prevent your nail from breaking or tearing, and help you create a more precise shape.

Concerned about the health of your fingernails? Here are 5 Fingernail Problems You Shouldn’t Ignore.

Do Not File Too Short

Filing your nails is a great way to maintain the hygiene and health of your nails – but as with most things in life, too much of a good thing can be disastrous. That’s why we recommend using caution as you figure out how to file your nails. When in doubt, always leave them a bit longer than you think is necessary. Filing too far in on the sides can create pressure points for future breakage, whereas filing nails too short can be painful.

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