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How To Properly File Your Nails: Tips and Tricks



A proper shape of your nails is very crucial as it frames the canvas for your manicure and nail art. It's important that you file your nails properly before painting them. It is one of the basic DIY manicurist’s steps. 

Selecting a right nail filer
First of all, you should select a flexible and easy to go nail filer. Emery boards nail filers are inexpensive and kinder to your nails. They are a perfect choice for you if you have brittle nails. Metal nail files are too harsh and cause chipping and peeling if used wrongly.


Clip your nails
You can soak your hands in warm water for 5 minutes. It will help in easy and proper clipping of your nails because soaking in warm water can make your nails soft. Keep the length of your nails a bit longer than desired while clipping so that you may have enough length to shape them.

Select right nail shape
Mainly, there are five types of common shapes of nails. They are as follows:

  • Round
  • Square
  • Oval
  • Squoval (square+oval)
  • Almond or pointed


The Round
Round nail shape is one of the common and traditional nail shape which is created to give a softer look. Even guys prefer this nail shape because of its natural nature. According to nail art professionals, if you have large hands with wide nail beds then you should prefer this shape for thinner look and subtle nail outline.


How to file: The best technique to file nails for round shape is to file the sides of nails, and then round the edges of your nails to give curve. Remember to file nails in an upward direction only.

The Square
This nail shape is highly preferred to showcase DIY nail art as it is perfect for it. Professionals prefer this nail shape for acrylic nails as well because it has two straight walls with a c-curve and two sharp points. This is a traditional shape for French manicure and also used for detailed nail art. Square nail shape is not a good choice for those who have short and wide nail beds, but long nail beds can be complemented by this shape.

There is a disadvantage of carrying square nail shape as it has sharp points, you have to take extra care. Your nails scratch someone.


How to file: According to experts, you have  to file the side walls and free edges to give a perpendicular shape. Repeat it on both sides and blends the angles for finishing.

The Oval
Oval nail shape is one of  the most attractive and common nail shapes among women as it shows gracefulness and femininity. This nail shape is highly preferred because you can work it on both short and long nails.


How to file: According to experts, oval nail shape can be a little bit difficult to give as a little imperfection can make your nails unbalanced. For this nail shape, first of all you have to straight side walls and make them even. Now, start filling the sides of your nails in an upward direction smoothly and create a nice balance between free edges and cuticle shape.

The Squoval
As the name suggests, squoval nail shape is the integration of square and oval shape. This type of nail shape has straight sidewalls and curved edges of oval nail shapes. This nail shape is designed for those people who square nails but avoid sharp edges.


How to file: First of all, straight the side walls and make a square shape. Now, slowly file the edges of your nails to give a little round shape. Remember, you just need to round edges of square, not complete nails.

The Pointed
The pointed nails are not as much common as square, oval, round and squoval. These nails look more adventurous and give a slandering effect to your hands. This nail shape can be perfect for both small and long nail beds. It can make your hands and nail art more noticeable.


Disadvantage: You have to take extra care of pointed nails as they can scratch someone easily and they can break easily because the side walls are not so strong.

How to file: For this nail shape, “I” technique is used. First of all, cut the sides of nails to give a pointed shape. Now, start filling sides in diagonal direction. Apply the same technique on both sides for finishing. The point of your nails must come in the center. So, work on it.