How To File Your Nails The Right Way

Here’s how to file and buff your nails, leaving them sparkling and smooth. You will need: an emery board, a nail buffer with at least 3 grades of grain, hand and nail moisturiser, fingernail clipper or nail scissors.

Step 1: Wash & dry hands
Wash and dry your hands. Clear away all of the nail dust and all the grime around the edges of the nails. Avoid buffing or filing your nails after a shower or bath, as they will be too soft, and it can cause the nail to flake.

Step 2: Trim
If you want to take a lot of length off your nails, you should trim them first with a nail clipper or nail scissors. Trim the nails straight across. Ensure you leave enough length to file and shape later.

Step 3: The emery board
Make sure your emery board is clean, and still effective. It should be able to shape your nails in a few strokes, otherwise throw it out, and get a new one. Avoid metal nail files, as these can be a little harsh.

Step 4: Position
Find a position that you will be comfortable in. You will find it easier if you rest your arms on a table.

Step 5: Filing
Sweep the nail file across the top of the nail in fluid movements again and again, until you have the shape you want. The file should only lightly touch the nail so as to not damage it. Sweep it straight across the tip of the nail to get a square shape. If you want a curved shape, angle the emery board slightly on each corner. Don’t file down the sides of your nail, this will weaken it.

Step 6: Buffers
Buffers remove ridges from nails. They are a natural alternative to nail polish. If you’re going to polish your nails then you needn’t bother buffing them. If you have 3 surfaces on your buffer, the coarse surface is used to remove ridges, the smooth surface brings the nail to a matte shine, and the third one is for the final polish. Some buffers are intended for use with acrylic nails. They will be too harsh for use on natural nails.

Step 7: Buff to remove ridges
If you have ridges on your nail you can use the coarse side of the buffer to smooth them down. Swiftly and gently move the buffer horizontally across the nail. 3 or 4 times should be enough to smoothen out ridges. When the ridges are smooth, stop. Buffing ridges more than once a month will thin your nails. Ridge filler is a possible alternative if you don’t want to buff your nail ridges away. Just paint it on like nail polish. As it’s drying, it sits between the ridges giving you nice smooth nails.

Step 8: Buff for shine
Now that you don’t have any ridges draw the smooth surface across the nails 3 or 4 times or until you get a nice matte shine on the nails.

Step 9: Make them gleam
To give a final sparkle to your nails, use the polishing surface on the buffer. Move it quickly back and forth across the nail for about 5 seconds. You can do this every week.

Step 10: Clean and moisturise
Make sure all the nail dust from you nail and finger has been swept away. Finally use some moisturiser to keep your hands soft and your nail healthy and smooth.