How to File Your Nails at Home

The secret to beautifully sculpted nail shapes doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right tools and a little patience, you can have the perfectly manicured set of nails you crave.

2021 is the year of the almond, coffin, and stiletto-shaped nails, while square and rounded shapes still remain on the list of classics.

Most of us were never taught exactly how to file our nails; it’s just something we taught ourselves or picked up along the way. Chances are, you’ve been filing your nails for years and have likely been getting the job done. 

Believe it or not, there is a correct and incorrect way to file your nails. There are also certain nail files that are better for different filing techniques than others. We will teach you the ins and outs of filing your nails at home like the pros do.

The Nitty-Gritty on Nail Files

Nail files are used to file down and shape the edges of your nails. The type of nail file you choose will make or break your mani, literally. 

Coarse emery boards can be too rough on the nails, priming your nails for tearing and splitting. If a coarse emery board is all you have, make sure to buff the tips of your nails with a fine-grit buffer after filing. This will smooth off any invisible micro-tears on your nails. There are a few different types of nail files available. 

Traditional Disposable Cardboard Emery Board

Traditional disposable emery boards are made of cardboard with either single grit or double-sided grit count. The grit is the rough sandpaper-like side of the board that you use to file your nails. 

A double-sided nail file has two different grits, a different grit on each side. The amount of grit determines how rough that side of the file will be and how coarse of a filing it will provide. If you have thin nails, use a finer grit than if your nails are thick.

You should file in one direction in order to prevent damage to your nail. Traditional emery nail boards can create micro-tears and splitting, which causes more harm than good. These boards do not seal off the end of the nail. 

According to the California Board of Cosmetology, nail salons must dispose of emery boards after each client’s use because there is no way to disinfect them. This is because cardboard emery files are porous, causing them to harbor bacteria and fungus. 

If you are using a cardboard file at home for yourself only, it should be replaced every few weeks.

Emery Cushion Board

Emery cushion/foam boards are emery boards with a cushion between the two sides. This provides gentle cushion-like flexibility while you file. Cushion boards are more gentle on your nails than traditional cardboard emery boards. 

Emery boards are usually labeled with a number. The higher the number, the gentler the grit. A board with a grit of 180 is usually recommended when filing natural fingernails because it is soft and gentle.

Glass (Crystal) File

Glass files have a super fine grit and are ideal for shaping and smoothing out your nail’s free edges. Discolorations and textural nail issues can be lessened with a glass file as well.

Glass files are not effective for filing down a lot of nail length, so save your nail clippers or lower grit nail file for that. 

Glass files can easily be disinfected with soap and water and a wipe down of rubbing alcohol.

Metal File

The metal nail file is the most abrasive of all files. Metal files are not recommended for natural nails because they can cause damage, and who wants that? 

Gel and acrylic nails will benefit from a metal nail filing because this type of file is abrasive enough to file down these synthetic materials.

Similar to glass files, metal files can also be disinfected with soap and water and a swipe of rubbing alcohol.

Buffing Block

A buffing block is recommended for use after you file and shape your nails. Buffing tidies up all of the edges and smoothes the nail bed in preparation for nail polish.

The Nail Shape Up

The perfect shape isn’t difficult to achieve. First, choose which shape you adore.

♡ Almond: This shape looks like an almond. Its sides are tapered and they meet at a peak.

    ♡ Coffin:  The coffin-shaped nail is filed to become narrower toward the top of your nail. The tip comes to a blunt square tip, resembling a coffin or a ballet shoe (which is why this style is also called the ballerina nail).
      ♡ Stiletto: Stiletto-shaped nails are similar to almond nails, except the tip comes to a sharper point. This style is usually worn long.

        Round, Square, and Oval, Squoval are three other types of nail shapes. The tips of each are shaped true to their names.

        File Away

        The perfect nail shape comes with the movement of the file. Always file moving in the same direction, and never, ever file back and forth in a sawing motion. Moving back and forth can cause tears and frays in your fingernails. 

        ♡ Start filing on the outside corner of one side of your nail and file moving toward the center of the tip. Continue filing using this method until you reach the shape and length you want, then move to the other side, always filing in the same direction.
          ♡ Move slowly while you file. This will help you avoid damage and over filing. 
            ♡ Once both sides are filed, form the end of your nails with your file in the shape you want.
              ♡ When you have your ideal shape and length, clean up the tips by carefully placing the end of your nail file underneath your nail’s tip and pull out any loose filings that have become caught underneath.
                ♡ If you’ve opted to use a buffing block, now's the time to use it. Gently clean up the edges by moving in the same uniform direction and buff the top of your nail to a shiny, flake-free finish.

                  ♡ Complete with a few drops of cuticle oil and gently push your cuticles back. 

                  Ta-da! You now have desirable digits!

                  To Round It Out

                  Now that you know how to file and shape your nails to perfection, you can paint them in any on-trend color you like. DIY nails are fun, plus it feels nice to pamper yourself.

                  If a DIY mani isn’t your thing, then Glamnetic has designed some really fun press-on nails that take only a few minutes to apply. They will give you the on-trend look you’re going for in a fraction of the time it takes to file, shape, paint, and dry your nails.

                  Choose from holographic, ombre, French tips, rainbow, or mix-match styles, plus many more. Our celebrity-inspired nails are super fun and trendy and come in several lengths, shapes, and styles.

                  Glamnetic nails and magnetic lashes are waterproof and reusable so feel free to join in on all the pool parties this summer. 



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