How to Shape Your Finger Nails

Shaping one’s finger nails is a lot like shaping ones hair style to fit your face. I’m a nail technician for Rose’s salon, and can’t tell you how many times people ask me these questions. It really depends on several different aspects. There is personal style, professional style, and of course person choice which doesn’t have to be the same thing as personal style.

The first thing we need to do is learn a few terms in order to understand what I’m going to explain.

Take your hand and place it palm side down, looking at your fingernails the bottom part of the nail, we are going to use the term “nail base” and near that is the “cuticle” which should be the skin you push back off the nail. The edge part, we will be referring to as the “nail tip”. These are three terms that will be repeated over, and over as we speak of styles and shapes.

Fingernail file shaping has several different styles. When I was originally in Cosmetology our teacher tried to tell us that ALL fingernails should be shaped the same as the nail base. Meaning, if your nail base is round, so should your nail tips, if your nail base is square once again so should your nails tips.

I don’t agree with this assessment, and I have yet to meet another nail artist that does. Many people prefer fingernail tips that are shaped like a square because square tips are stronger than round. But I’m jumping ahead. So let’s get moving on finger nail shaping styles and shapes.

Looking at your fingernails, both the tips and nail base. Sometimes fingernails will grown in their natural shape, so no shaping is necessary, you would simply need to make sure they remain in that shape through out. Most likely, that shape of the nail tip will be rounded.

Professional style is square tip fingernails. The reason for this is, as we previously mentioned square nails are stronger than round nails. Your personal style may be round as you like the feeling and even the appearance of the round tips, plus added to that, you may not have time to file your nails and may end up letting them be natural.

The pictures that will hopefully be attached: one will be my thumb nail, the base of the nail bed is square, but the nail itself is round. My finger between the pinky and the middle finger the tip is square but the nail bed is round.

The other is my index finger which is a round tip and a round finger bed. I’ve attached these pictures so you can get an idea about shape differences. I normally keep my nails much longer, and square tipped but shaped them for examples for this article.

You can shape your nails in the round tip shape, by taking the nail file and filing inward, never a back and forth motion. This causes more damage then it does good. File inward on both edges of the nail to achieve the rounded nail tip style.

You can shape your nails in the square tip shape, by taking the nail file and running it in one direction only across the tip of the nail, either left to right, or right to left. You continue to do this until you have a level straight line which gives you the square tip appearance.

For the natural growth shape, you simply run the nail file across its edges to keep it smooth. Remember though to only do it in one motion, not back and forth.

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