- Glass files are very effective, but they can be very expensive.
- Crystal files are as effective as glass files, but are cheaper.
- Try to avoid metal files if you can. They can tear your nails and cause peeling.
- Consider getting a few different types of emery boards so you can file your nails as smoothly as possible.
Decide on your nail shape. Before you start filing your nails, you need to decide on the shape you'd like your nails to be. There are five basic nail shapes: oval, square, squoval, round, and pointed/almond. Then create each shape, start at the sides of your nails and follow the natural curve of your cuticle until you reach the center of the nail. Here are the distinctions between the five basic nail shapes:
- Oval. The oval is a basic nail shape for short, low-maintenance nails. This shape is curved at the top, creating an oval shape for the nail.
- Square. The square nail has a slightly curved edge that meets two flat sides. It creates a square (or really, a rectangular) look for each nail.
- Squoval. As the name suggests, this nail shape isn't as round as an oval and isn't as straight as a square. The Squoval, perfect for nails with wide nail beds, is curved but still maintains a partially square look.
- Round. The round nail is more curved than the oval nail. The sides of the round nail are curved and meet at a rounded point.
- Pointed/Almond. This is a more extreme version of the round nail. A pointed nail does not have a flat or curved edge but has both sides meeting up to create a point. This creates a dramatic look but requires higher maintenance.