Did you know there’s an art to filing your nails correctly? I had no idea either until I went to school to be a nail technician. In order to avoid nail damage, and for the longest lasting manicure, follow these 6 tips for filing your nails!

Tip #1: Use a file that’s 180 grit or higher.

Using anything lower would be the equivalent of trying to sand a smooth finish on a piece of wood with a cheese grater. Not ideal, right? You want a high grit file to smooth and shape the free edge of your nail plate.  I like to use the White (180 grit) side of the GelMoment nail file to achieve the perfect shape, and then I smooth the finished edge with the Gray (220 grit) side. 

Tip #2:  Avoid filing in a back and forth sawing motion.

We aren’t lumberjacks and your nails are not a log being cut in half – so avoid sawing them! Filing should be one smooth motion from one side of the nail to the center, and then lift the file and repeat on the opposite side of the nail. Continue until you reach your desired nail shape. 


Tip #3: Hold the file flat against the nail tip, not at an angle. 

Filing the nail with the file at an angle will thin the nail tip, leading to breakage and weakening the nail. You want to keep the file perpendicular to the free edge of the nail plate as you shape the nail. 


Tip #4: Avoid soaking your nails in water prior to filing or a manicure. 

I know. This can’t possibly be sound advice, right? It’s the first thing they do when you sit down for a manicure at most salons! But the fact of the matter is, soaking prior to a manicure is an outdated practice. Our nails are very absorbent. As you soak, the nail plate absorbs water and expands. Then as you file, it’s not a clean break on the nail tip. Also, if you polish a nail that’s been soaked, your polish is more likely to chip! As your nail dries out and shrinks back to it’s normal size, the polish doesn’t shrink along with it and will chip or peel. 


Tip #5: Be careful not to file too far into the sidewall of the nail. 

The goal of filing the sidewall of the nail is to straighten the nail. Don’t overdo it! Filing too far into the sidewall can cause injury to the surrounding tissue or make your nail more susceptible to breaking. 


Tip #6: Don’t file nails to shorten them. 

Use a nail clipper to first achieve your desired length. The file should be reserved for smoothing and shaping only. Since the free edge of the nail frays slightly when filed, we want to avoid doing that to remove length. Use a great set of nail clippers, like the GelMoment Axis Clipper!


Now that you’ve got the 6 Tips for filing your nails down, your manicure will look like a pro did it! The next decision is what color you’ll apply! Check out this Gallery to see which GelMoment Gel color you’ll need next! 

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