How to Use and Maintain Nail Files

Nails – we’ve all got them! Nails aren’t a part of the body that you can just forget about or neglect – maintaining a great nail care routine is important to keep nails smooth, snag-free and strong. 

Properly filed nails will grow thicker which means manicures, polish or other nail treatment lasts longer. Properly cut and filed nails are also protected from snagging on clothes or other surfaces that can potentially injure your nail. 

So how do you properly use a nail file? It seems pretty simple, just place the file to your nail and start filing, right?!

Wrong! If you file badly you can crack or snag your nail or weaken it against blows and impacts.

Here are Clear Confidence’s expert tips on how to file your nails properly.

1) Choose a Good File

There are a lot of rubbish files about that are either far too rough and poorly designed for nail filing, leading to jagged edges, tears and cracks, or simply too weak to work well at all. Emery files are effective until a point but truth be told, fine grain high-quality steel nail files are superior these days. 

A proper steel nail file will last years and helps ensure you can file consistently every time. 

2) Hold the File Flat Against Your Nail

Instead of holding your file at a slanted or diagonal angle, keep it flat and square against your nail. If you file diagonally, you’re just going to weaken your nail and thin it out so it snaps more easily. You can pull your fingertip back a bit if the file grazes your skin. 

3) File in One Direction

It might seem intuitive to file in a back-and-forth motion but this is what can lead to painful snags and tears. Instead, go gently in one direction until you can feel the friction decrease before switching directions and going back the other way. Then, you can begin to gently go back and forth, but go gently!

4) Soak Nails In Water Before Filing

If your nails feel dry or tend to be brittle and break easily then soak them warm soapy water prior to filing. This will soften them up and cushion the file slightly against the nail. 

Maintaining your Nail File

Emery boards tend to not last very long and are usually thrown away after a few uses. Metal nail files are a waste-free alternative that lasts for hundreds, if not thousands of uses. To maintain steel nail files, simply wash them thoroughly under warm water and rub the grain gently with a tissue to free any lodged grains of nail. Let it dry and you’re all good!

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