How To File Nails at Home Like a Pro

How To File Nails at Home Like a Pro

One of the most essential steps in proper nail care and support is filing. It’s easy to do at home and can help to keep your nails healthy and strong for a long time to come. There are a few essential things that you’ll want to keep in mind when filing your nails, however. 

That’s where Nailboo can help. Here at Nailboo, we’re dedicated to sharing the products and tools that can help you achieve salon-quality looks without salon-quality costs, like nail dip kits. And that’s not all. We’re also sharing all the tips and information you need to protect your nails, no matter what your preferred style might be. Here’s a look at best practices when it comes to filing.

Why Is Nail Care and Filing Important? 

You might be wondering if you even need to file your nails. If they’re short or if you paint them regularly, you may need to file them less. That said, there are still many benefits to routine nail care practices, like filing, including some of the following. 

It Keeps Your Nails Healthy 

There’s no better way to keep your nails healthy and protected than with regular manicures and care. Over time, manicures can be harsh and damaging to the nail surface, but regular filing, clipping, and product use can keep them healthy and prevent future damage.  

It Helps Nails Grow Strong and Long

It also helps your nails to grow stronger and longer. Proper nail care and manicures can even prompt faster growth. This is especially helpful if you’re looking to achieve long nail shapes and designs. You’ll have thicker and stronger nails with just a little bit of regular filing and care, and that’s a benefit you can rely on for a long time to come. 

It Prevents Infections and Irritations

We use our fingers and nails for a lot of tasks throughout the day. That means they’re exposed to germs and pathogens all the time. This can be particularly troubling if we’re prone to biting or picking at the nail, which can cause damage around the nail and nail bed. 

When you trim and file your nails properly, you reduce the risk of damaging the nail or the skin around it. That means you’re less likely to experience any kind of inflammation or irritation on or around the nail, which is essential for long-term nail health. 

It Can Tell You About Your Overall Health 

It’s important to get enough nutrients and to take care of our overall health since total body wellness can impact the health of our nails. The same is true in reverse as well. Our nails can tell us a lot about how our body is feeling

Look for signs of discoloration, weakening, or regular irritation on or around the nail. All of them can be an indication of an underlying condition that should be addressed sooner than later. When you check your nails and maintain them regularly, you’ll have an easier time recognizing when something is wrong. 

It Helps Your Nails Look Great 

Whether you love getting routine manicures or you prefer a naked nail look, smooth, healthy nails are always a confidence booster. Taking proper care of your nails, with routine trimming and filing, can help to give a fresh surface for the next great manicure. It also means that your nails will look lovely and chic all on their own. 

No matter what your preferred manicure style might be, strong, healthy nails can help you to feel confident all day long. 

How To File Your Nails at Home 

Filing is one of the most basic nail maintenance tasks you can perform, but you want to make sure you’re doing it properly. Here are a few steps and tricks to keep in mind to ensure your nails remain healthy and strong for a long time to come. 

Prepare Your Nails 

Routine nail care involves more than just filing. There are many ways to protect and care for your nails at every stage of the home manicure process. 

It can be helpful to start by washing your hands. This helps to remove the build-up and grime that can accumulate under the nail tips and lead to irritations and infections. You always want to be sure that you’re allowing the nails to dry completely before you file, however. Filing wet nails can lead to cracking and damage that you’ll want to avoid. 

Trim First

If your nails are long and you’re looking to try out a short nail design, you’ll want to trim before you file. Filing is largely done to even out rough edges and to remove untidy or irritating pieces of the nail. You don’t want to use filing as a way to change the length of the nail, as the excess pressure can cause damage or cracking. 

Instead, begin by cutting your nail to the general shape and length that you prefer, and then file down the shape. Then try out a cool short nail design like a glitter or ombre manicure. 

Use the Right Tools

If you’re in a pinch, you can use certain tools in place of a file. That said, a nail file is still the best choice when you have the option. You always want to make sure you’re caring for your nails using good quality pieces and tools that have been sanitized properly. 

There are files in different materials, sizes, and shapes, so experiment with your options to find the best one for your nail care needs. 

Go Slowly 

When it comes to filing your nails, you want to take your time. If you go too quickly, you can file the nail too short, which can cause pain and discomfort. It can even lead to infections if you’re not careful. Go slowly while filing and always listen to the needs of your nails, so you know when to stop. 

Skip the Back and Forth

The traditional method of filing our nails isn’t actually the best way to get the job done. When we use a sawing motion, we can find our nails are uneven or filed way too short. It also doesn’t typically follow the shape of the nail, which means we’re going against the nail’s natural needs. 

The next time you file your nails, skip the back and forth method. Your nails will thank you for it. 

File Toward the Center 

So how do we file our nails if we’re not using the traditional back and forth motion, as we’re often taught? You actually want to start at the outside of the nail and work your way in. 

Think about your nail as two individual shapes or pieces. File in from each side or corner until the file points meet in the middle. Once you’ve filed in from both corners of the nail, which makes it easier to achieve that natural shape, you can then finalize the look with some polishing. 

With this method, you’ll get a smoother, cleaner, and more comfortable look every time you file your nails. 

Follow the Natural Nail Shape 

One of the most important things you’ll want to keep in mind when you file your nails is to follow the natural shape of the nail. Everyone will have different shape nails, and you may even have nails of different shapes on the same hand. 

When you follow the natural shape of the nail, you avoid going against the grain, which means less risk of cracking, damage, or pain. Your nail will also look smoother and healthier, and continue to grow strong. 

Following the natural shape of the nail is also a good way for nail care novices and beginners to practice and protect their nails all at the same time. 


Nail care is essential for many reasons. It helps to keep your nails healthy and encourages strong and healthy growth for a long time to come. It also reduces your risk of infection and ensures you have smooth and beautiful nails for the next manicure. 

One of the best ways to care for your nails is with regular filing. And it’s easier than it might seem. The next time you file your nails, remember a few simple tips. Always use the right parts for the job, follow the natural shape of the nail, and file in from the corners, rather than using a sawing motion. 

For more information on nail care and to find the best nail products for all your needs, trust the team here at Nailboo. We have the tools and colors that will help you get salon-quality nail care right from the comfort of home. Pick out the perfect file for your next manicure today. 

Get the Look

After you file your nails, you need a new mani to complement them. We love a glitter polish manicure. Here are some of the top glitter colors you’ll find at Nailboo. 

  1. Light Pink Glitter: Solar Shimmer
  2. Silver Glitter: Gala Gal
  3. Purple Glitter: Princess Posh
  4. Light Blue Glitter: Diamond Daze
  5. White Glitter: Stardust
  6. Brown Glitter: Glam Queen
  7. Black Glitter: Magic Moon
  8. Red Glitter: Left on Red
  9. Turquoise Glitter: Tiffany Dreams
  10. Gold Glitter: Big Nail Energy


Fingernails: Do’s and Don’ts for Healthy Nails | Mayo Clinic 

6 Things Your Nails Say About Your Health | Cleveland Clinic 

Nail Shapes – From Almond and Stiletto to Coffin and Oval | Elle

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