To File, or Not to File?

To File, or Not to File?

It's been a while since I posted a nail safety/salon safety post so I thought it was time to talk about something most people haven't realized they've been doing wrong or have been letting their nail technician do wrong.

Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to file your fingernails?
The shape of your nails really tops off your manicure. So, before you start filing and painting away, it's important for you to know how to file your nails properly.

First, choose the right kind of nail file.
Sometimes, the cheaper the better - in many cases the most basic and inexpensive emery boards are more flexible and easier on your nails. The grit on metal files can often be too harsh and can cause your nails to peel and chip. Stick to a simple drugstore file, it should do the job and it'll save you some money too.

I myself, use simple wooden core files that I buy in bulk from my nail products store. I like these files because they are inexpensive and have two grits (one on each side) should I need different grits. The files I use are also individually packaged and are NOT reusable and I throw them out after each client. In fact, most nail files are NOT reusable. If your nail technician is using wooden or paper core nail file, make sure they open/use a new one for you every time you visit. Do not feel uncomfortable asking the tech to get a new one - it's your health and it's our license at risk! If your tech is using plastic core files, always feel free to ask them to clean them again in front of you. Many discount nail salons use files over and over again and just throw them in a drawer out of sight when they are done - they almost never get cleaned. If they are cleaned, they are still just thrown into a drawer that is already dirty. Ask for clean files, its your right as a client! Nail files should be clean with a hospital grade disinfectant and not just soap and water.

Second, clip your nails. 
You should always clip your nails before filing if you want to take a lot of the length off. Try to leave enough edge though for you to shape your nails for your desired look.

When clipping your nails, clip each side edge first and try to meet your clips in the middle. You don't want to clip them jagged because it can cause your nails to peel and chip.

Third, choose your desired nail shape.
Here are a few types of nails shapes:
  • oval
  • square
  • squoval
  • round
  • pointed/almond
Helpful hint: if you have a wide nail bed, try the squoval. Oval shapes are good for short, low maintenance nails. Square shapes complement narrower nails. 

When picking your nails shape you should also think about the nail art design you want to have (if you want nail art). Either way, when filing your nails, start from the sides before working your way to the top or center; follow the natural curve of your cuticles as a guide. 

For fun, think about some of these nail shapes:

Fourth, and finally, file your nails in one direction. 
Always, always, always file your nails moving in one direction, working your way toward the center for your fingernail. Do not saw back and forth with your nails file! Santana here is filing her nails wrong - please do not copy her. 

Filing the nails in a sawing motion like you see Santana doing causes the nails to chip and break. Don't give me that look Santana, yes - you are doing it wrong. 

As well, try not to file your nails too deeply at the edges for your nail - this can lead to weakening the nail wall. Stroke your nail from the corner of the nail towards the middle, then lift and repeat until you get your desire shape. Cat here shows how to stroke, lift and repeat:

After filing your nails, don't forget to go back and gently file under your nails free edge to remove any left over soft tissue that may remain after filing.

Did you know nail polish protects your nails?
Nail polish helps protect our nails during filing and can help prevent the nails from splitting. If you have polish left on (not gel or acrylic), it's a good idea to file your nails before removing your polish.

In the Buff:
Buffing your nails after you have filed them gives them a lovely smooth finish and pretty shine. However, buffing your nails too often can weaken and damage the nail. Try buffing about once a month to minimize possible damage. 

If you have any question or concerns about filing your nails, please do not hesitate to ask! That is what I am here for. But first and foremost remember, that you are the client and that your health and safety comes first! Do not be afraid to ask for clean files or to even correct a nail tech if they start sawing away at your precious nails. 

If you go on any fun nail filing adventures, please share them with us! I would love to show off your nails on the blog!

Be Radiant!

**Disclaimer: As a nail technician I can neither treat or diagnose nail ailments. If you suspect that you have a serious nail ailment, I suggest you seek help from your family doctor, podiatrist or dermatologist. 


Popular posts from this blog

Gear up for Shark Week

Keep That Callus

Princesses Rule with Radiance