How to File Nails to Get the Perfect Shape and Avoid Damages

The only way to get the perfect nails (healthy, strong, and good-looking) is to take care of them. This might seem obvious, but there are plenty of people who never perform any sort of maintenance to their nails at all. If you are someone who just clips their nails every once in a while, that’s totally fine, but there’s a lot more you can do to improve their shape and strength. We aren’t saying you have to sit down and do a full nail care routine every single day, but if you have time once a week to do it, you’ll be all set. 

One of the most important parts of nail care is filing your nails.  Filing your nails is super easy, and it’s the best way to get the perfect shape and avoid any damages. If your nail chips or cracks, you’ll most likely break a nail if you don’t take care of it. If you are trying to grow your nails out, this will force you to cut all of them, so you don’t have one short one! And have you ever snagged a piece of clothing or scratched yourself because you had a broken or uneven nail? It’s the worst!  

 In this article, we will talk about the different nail shapes and how you can file your nails to prevent any damage from occurring. If you have weak nails and don’t like to get your nails done, at-home maintenance is super easy and cheap.  If you still want your nails to look nice but don’t want a manicure, you can try using Clutch Nails instead. Our press-on nails easily cover nails that are regrowing or healing from a crack or break. And, you can file and cut them just like you would your regular nails!  



There are quite a few different nail shapes, and most of them are achieved by filing your nails into that specific shape. Natural nails tend to simply be either round or square. This is another reason why it can be great sometimes to get your nails done if you are looking to achieve a specific nail shape but can’t do it yourself. With most nail shapes, your nails need to be grown out longer in order for the shape to work. If it’s not your natural shape, it will require more length to work with. 

The standard nail shapes are round and square. These will work on any nail length, and they are the easiest to achieve. These shapes are perfect for a clean-cut look. Some other popular shapes are cat nails, almond shape, coffin shape, and oval shape. These all require long nails because the shape can’t be created with short nails. All of the nail shapes are pretty self-explanatory, and they look like what they are called. 

If you don’t want to attempt to file your nails into these shapes, then we’ve got a better idea. Clutch Nails come already in the desired shape, so you won’t have to file the nails yourself. One example is our Dumpster Fire nails. These medium-length nails have an almond shape and have a cute and sassy flame design on them. All you have to do is apply a little glue and press them down. Then you’re ready to go. 

Do I Need to File and Buff My Nails?

If you want healthy and strong nails, then yes, you do need to file and buff your nails. Filing and buffing serve two different purposes for your nail health. Filing is used to help shape your nails, and it can also be used to shorten them. Buffing your nails is to smooth them out and prevent any breaks or cracks. You can think of it as almost like sanding down your nails, but with a gentle buffer instead of sandpaper. 

Before you buff or file your nails, you should first cut them with a nail trimmer. Clip them down to your desired length. Even if you prefer to have your nails on the shorter side, be careful not to cut them too short, or it might hurt. After you cut them, then you can work on filling them. Decide on which shape of nails you want, and then move the file back and forth to achieve that particular shape. While it might not seem like it, the type of file you use will have an effect on how your nails turn out. 

There are different types of files, such as the basic sandpaper-like material one you get at the drugstore. This file can actually cause snags in your nails or split the nail if it is cracked. The best type of nail file to use is a glass file. If you take care of it, one will probably last you forever. Just make sure to remember to clean your file, no matter what material it is. 

After the filing is complete, you can finish things off by gently buffing your nail on the tops and sides until it is smooth and there are no cracks or nail breaks. The last step after you cut, file, and trim your nails is to use cuticle oil. This will help to ensure your cuticles don’t grow out too far and don’t tear. If you want to lock in even more moisture, then you can apply some hand lotion and massage it in, so your nails, fingers, and hands are silky smooth. 

If your nails are weak and brittle, you might also consider taking certain supplements and eating certain foods to help them grow. For example, collagen and biotin are great supplements to take to help strengthen your nails, so they grow faster. You can find these supplements in various forms (such as powder, pills, or bar form), and you can take them as a daily supplement. If regular maintenance isn’t working, then you might need to address the problem from the inside out rather than the outside in. 

Do Manicures Help or Damage Nails?

The answer is that it really depends. There are a few pros and cons of getting a manicure in regards to your nail health. Some people will agree or disagree with this, so the truth is it really is your personal preference. If getting a regular manicure works for you and helps you maintain your cuticles or hangnails, then do what works for you. If you find that the polish dries your nails out and makes them brittle, then maybe skip on the nail salon trips. 

Let’s first talk about the advantages of getting a manicure. When you get a manicure, it’s not just about painting your nails. It’s also about taking care of the cuticle, trimming the nail, filing, buffing, and moisturizing. A manicure helps with your overall nail health, which does make it a great thing to do regularly. Of course, these are all things you can do at home, and you would only have to buy a few supplies. 

The negative parts of getting your nails done mostly have to do with the polish itself or the method in which you get your nails done. For example, acrylic manicures use a lot of chemicals during the application process. These are dangerous chemicals that aren’t great for you to breathe in. When you get your nails done regularly, this makes it even worse. Plus, strong glue is used as the adhesive for fake nails, which can damage your natural nails over time. 

As you can see, there really are pros and cons to getting a manicure. Many salons are focusing on more natural products that are less harmful to your nails. For example, there are some gel nail polishes that are made of algae, which is non-toxic. If you are someone who truly sees a difference in their nail health with regular salon visits and maintenance, then it could be worth it to get manicures. On the other hand, if you are worried about the chemicals or don’t see much of a difference, then there is no real reason to get manicures. 


Thankfully, it’s not hard to learn how to file and buff your nails. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy! But if for some reason you aren’t good at it, or maybe simply just don’t feel like doing it, then you’ve got options. You can use Clutch Nails press-on nails, or you can get a manicure. Press-on nails are cheaper, easier, and faster. Plus, they don’t use all those chemicals as salons do. 


How to File Your Nails So They Never Peel or Break Again | Reader's Digest 

How to File Nails Safely So They Don't Break or Peel | Healthline 

The 6 Best Tips to File Nails Like a Pro | Byrdie 

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