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How to file your nails

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Image of a file commonly found in a DIYer's home: a nail file One file commonly found around the home is the nail file. Using the principles and techniques explained so far in this guide, you can now have perfectly trimmed nails!
Image showing a DIYer using a hand file to file their nails, taking advantage of the safe edge to rest against their finger If you don’t have a nail file, a smooth hand file or Swiss pattern flat file will work well, as you can rest its safe edge against your finger.
Flag of Switzerland - home of the Swiss pattern file invented by F. L. Grobet in the 19th Century

Step 1 – Choose correct file

You’ll want a file with fine teeth, and for this kind of precision job, Swiss pattern files are the king. For starters, a grade 4 Swiss pattern flat file should do the trick.

Image showing a DIYer washing their hands in preparation for filing their nails

Step 2 – Wash your hands

Your nails should be as clean as possible.

A DIYer drying their hands after thoroughly cleaning them. This DIYer will soon be ready to file their nails Don’t forget to thoroughly dry them, though, as nails are weaker when they’re moist.
Image to illustrate the correct way to file nails

Step 3 – File your nails

File your nails, always moving the file from the edge to the centre, creating one of the fashionable shapes listed below.

Image to illustrate the basic shapes that can be created with a nail file Nails can be filed to be round, oval, squoval, square or almond shaped.
Image to show that pressure should not be applied on the draw stroke when filing nails Don’t forget to use proper filing technique and only apply light pressure on the push stroke.
Image to show what can happen if you apply pressure on the draw stroke when you are filing your nails Pressure should not be applied on the draw stroke as you could snag your nails and ruin your hard work!
Image of a glass nail file with a fine grain

Step 4 – Finishing

To make sure your nails are as smooth as they can be, switch to an even finer file and repeat the process.

Wonkee Donkee recommends glass files for nail filing

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