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How to Shape Your Nails


Discover how to prepare your nails for shaping, how to go about shaping them, how to choose the best shape for them, and how to keep them in good shape after filing.

Preparing Your Nails

First, cut your nails as close to the desired length as possible. Trim nails to a length that suits your preference and your lifestyle. If you do a lot things like typing or playing the piano, you may want to keep your nails fairly short. Cutting your nails to size will allow for minimal filing, keeping your nails from splintering. Cut your nails after bathing rather than cutting them while they are dry. This will prevent them from cracking.

How to Shape Your Nails

There are five basic nail shapes. The square is filed straight across and the edges are only filed enough to prevent scratches or snags. Round is usually fairly short and curves to the shape of the fingertips. Oval is also curved but is longer and usually curves more dramatically. Squoval is a term used for a mixture of square and oval. The nail is shaped as you would shape a square nail, and then the corners are rounded out. Pointed nails are filed on both edges until they come to a point in the center. You don’t want your point to be too dramatic, because you may end up stabbing yourself or someone else.

Picking That Perfect Shape

Study the shape and size of your fingers. Someone with long, slender fingers will probably look good with oval or pointed nails whereas someone with shorter or chubbier fingers may want to opt for the round, square, or squoval styles. Take a look at the base of your fingers. You will typically see some whitish pigmentation at the bottom. Filing your nails in the same shape as the white area can produce a nice effect. However, if you often put stress on your fingernails, you may want to go with the squoval shape, increasing the strength of your nails and keeping them from becoming ingrown.

Keeping Your Nails in Shape

Be sure that you only file your nails in one direction. Doing otherwise will cause definite splitting. After shaping always apply a base coat on your nails and use moisturizer on your hands often. This will lock moisture into your nails and keep them healthy and brilliant.

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