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Nail Tip Of The Week – Filing

By on November 21, 2007
in Tips and Tricks

As I was sitting down to change my Dashing Diva manicure from my trip to New York City, I thought about how much I labor over filing my nails to get the perfect shape. Filing takes up the majority of my manicure routine. It’s just my nature to be anal about having smooth edges, symmetry and uniform length. So for your Nail Tip Of The Week I thought I’d share my filing techniques.

File Angle: The angle at which you hold your file makes a huge difference in the results you get. I hold my file on a 45 degree tilt under the nail. And even though the old rule is to only file in one direction, I’m not going to be a hypocrite and tell you the same. I file in both directions, I just do. I guess I’m not satisfied doing it the “proper” way.Shaping: I find that shaping is so much easier when you have polish on your nails. It makes your nail edge more visible. An added bonus, when you remove the polish you’re also cleaning away any dust or nail shavings. No need to dry out your nails by cleaning them twice.

As far as actual nail shape/length goes, it’s all a matter of preference. I like to keep my nails short and in a squoval (squared oval) shape. A good rule of thumb is to mimic the shape of your nail bed along the cuticle. Of course if you’re a freak like me and have differently shaped edges (some rounded some flat) I think squoval is your best bet.Snags: Have you ever finished your manicure to end up discovering snags after the fact. Sucks doesn’t it? I always make sure to run a nail under each edge to check for any cling-ons and I flick them off with my file.Sealing the edge: When I am completely satisfied with the shape and length and have removed any snags I seal the edge by running the file, at an angle, down the edge of my nail (as pictured). This seals the edge to prevent water from damaging the nail and gives you a soft, clean finish.

FYI: I have Dashing Diva Black Diamond on my tips.

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  1. Nail Filing « . | February 20, 2012
  1. Anonymous says:

    … why have I never clued in on sealing the nail? Ugh, I normally just end up filing and filing and destroying my nails. They’re bitten to the quick right now — bad week, bad habits — but I’ll definitely try your way while I’m rehabilitating my claws.

    Out of curiosity, what sort of file do you use? I’ve been struggling to find a good, durable-but-fine-grit file for ages.

  2. Heather says:

    I think that filing tip might be the missing link!!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have found that if you use the number 2 and 3 part of a 3 way buffer to seal the edges of the nail it works much better than a regular file. If you dont have one of those than a file with 400 grit (or Higher) works too. But for me, a 3-way buffer is a nail saver!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I LOVE my Essie crystal file. I’ve had it for years, they never wear out, and they seal the nail automatically!

  5. Hanneri says:

    Thanx for another great tip! I have never thought of filing my nails with polish on but I am definitely going to give this a try.

    For anonymous: I recently bought myself an Essie glass nail file and LOVE it!

  6. Sarah says:

    Hi This is an invaluable tip .. its so hard keeping my nails in shape when I am working ..hopefully they will be less likely to break using your method. Thanks!

  7. MSAries says:

    Great tips & pics! I like filing mine (using a glass file) with the polish on, too. And the tip about sealing the nail is great, too. Very helpful!

  8. CincyFan says:

    Anon – I use either a crystal file or a fine grit file I get from a beauty supply. Look for the highest grit file possible (400 or so). I get my glass files from

    MaryO – I love my buffer too but because my nails are genetically weak, I only buff every 3-4 weeks at most.

    To all the glass file users: Do you really love them more than traditional files? Sometimes I feel like I can’t quite get the results I want with a glass file alone.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t know Dashing Diva had a shade called Black Diamond! I know China Glaze does. I’ll have to check it out.

  10. Sara says:

    I’m gonna have to try that angled filing thing… :)

  11. tulip red says:

    fantastic tip! my nails are really prone to spilting this time of year but i”ll try your method and see if you”ve given me a miracle cure. heres hoping!

  12. leah says:

    This is exactly how i do my nails. I file both ways and meet in the centre because i read that it’s the way of your nail growth or something? so i’ve always done it that way. I’ve a;lso noticed that it’s helped the growth and strength of my nails. I used to have difficulty growing my nails but it’s gotten a lot better. My nail shape is a bit round though, i can’t help it, it’s just the way they shape! I’d never heard of sealing the nail, but it’s exactly what i do! I don’t know, but i have to have my nails smooth otherwise they’re more prone to getting snags and dings. and i use a glass nail file, which reeeaally helps : )