Your nails tell a lot about your personal grooming habits. So it's important to keep them looking fresh and healthy by caring for your nails on a regularly basis. But you don't need to travel to a nail salon to get shapely nails. Make sure they look top-notch by keeping the shape of your nails uniform and attractive with a few simple tools you'll have around your own home. Here are a few tips on how to shape your nails in order to achieve a well-groomed look without getting a manicure.
Start by trimming your nails. Before you can shape you nails, they should be cut to the right length. Consider what length of nails works for you in your daily life (job, family, hobbies, etc.). Cut your fingernails using clippers or nail scissors. If they're not much longer than you want them to be, you can also just file them down to the correct length. Don't cut or file the corners of your nails too low though. This weakens them and leads to hangnails and misshaped corners. The nail file should bend just slightly as you file your nails at the corners. And when you're trimming the corners of your nails, a straight-across trim is ideal. This leaves you enough nail surface to begin to shape.
Decide on your nail shape. Once you have trimmed your nails to the desired length, you need to decide what shape you'd like them to be. There are two general shapes for nails - rounded or square. If you are prone to hangnails or ingrown nails, square nails are better. However, some prefer the natural look of a rounded nail. It's really just personal preference.
Create the nail shape. To begin shaping your nails, you'll need an emery board. (Avoid using a metal emery board since these are too harsh on your nails.) Remember that when you're shaping or filing your nails, you should always file in the same direction. It's important to go in one direction only with a nail file because the see-sawing action will stunt the growth of your nails temporarily or cause nail splitting. Filing one way only also produces a nice final product.
If you want a rounded nail shape, start at the corner of your nail and file it until it is rounded. Do this for both corners of the nail. Then file the top of the nail so that both corners are even. You can also file from one corner to the other, but longer strokes require more concentration and skill to get a uniform nail shape.
If you prefer to have a square nail shape, it's really just as easy as filing your nails straight across. Ensure that every nail edge is perfectly straight and doesn't dip down at the corners. File in one direction only and when you're done, your nails should have a flat top and square corners.
Buff your nails. The last step when shaping your nails is buffing them. This will remove any rough spots around the edges and add a little bit of shine to your newly-shaped nails. A buffing stick should be used. Run it over the top of your entire nail as well as the portion of your nail you just shaped. Use a very fine emery board for this process if you don't have a buffing stick, and buff only the edges. The buffer will help to fine-tune your nail shape, and it will give your nails a bit of sheen. This will make your newly-shaped nails look healthy and trendy.