5 Nail File Mistakes You're Making That Could Be Messing With Your Mani

The nail file is such an amazing invention. Seriously! It allows you to control the shape of your nails so you can craft square, oval, squoval or stiletto shapes. You can also avoid the nail nipper by filing down length instead of cutting it. Still, you can make nail file mistakes. Yes, those are an actual thing and nail file no-nos can mess with your manicure, shortening its life, as well as comprising the health of your digits.

Manis are time-consuming to begin with and more than one per week isn't a practical option for anyone with, you know, a busy life. However, we all deal with jagged nails or uneven edges that require an immediate fix; no one wants to wait before being able to fix a bunk mani, be it one you gave yourself or that you got a corner salon. Plus, a janky edge or a nail injury can lead to an infection and that's no fun at all.

The good news is that rectifying nail file mistakes is rather easy. It's a matter of changing some habits and being extra careful and clean. Yes, it really is that simple.

Don't be a lazy girl with your nails. These nail file tips apply to both at-home manis and ones you get at the nail joint next door.

1. Tool Time

Sephora Collection Crystal Nail File, $10, Sephora

If you opt for a professional mani at a salon, you likely use their tools. Stop! Instead, invest in your own tools for hygiene purposes, since only you can use them. Tote your tools with you once a week. Also, select salons offer boxes for their weekly clients so you can leave your stuff there. Your tool kit should include a nail file that isn't a dollar emery board or made of cardboard.

A crystal or glass file is washable and can be long-lasting if you care for it properly. Plus, they come in cool colors. So drop a little extra coin.

2. Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Chances are you aren't washing your nail file. Yeah, you need to modify that behavior to cut down on bacteria because... gross! Most nail files can be washed with antibacterial soap, as long as they are not the cardboard cheapie or foam files. Those are meant to be tossed after a few uses and will lose their structural integrity and begin to break down when wet.

Here's the cleaning process: Fill your sink with warm water, soak the file, and then scrub it with soap and a nail brush. Allow it to dry on a clean towel and dunzo!

3. It's A Nail File, Not A Saw

The manner in which you work the file is critical, too. Don't file nails back and forth quickly, as that motion is ineffective and can shred and weaken nails. Ain't nobody got time for brittle, cracked digits. Instead, file slowly, working inward from the outer corner towards the center.

4. File Style

Too much nail filing is a problem, as well. The Glow pointed to a study about how filing habits can cause long-term damage that you didn't even know about. And did you ever have a too-short nail, which exposes delicate skin of the nail plate? That shiz hurts! So don't go nuts with the nail file when you are bored or trying to look bored, which this GIF so flawlessly illustrates.

5. Nitty Gritty

You need to consider the nail file's grit. According to Sally Beauty, a higher grit means a smoother file. If you have weak nails, a higher grit file is your best option.

Here's the breakdown.

Coarse files, usually around 80 to 100 grit, work best with acrylics. Medium files are 180 grit and are great for shaping tips and wraps. A fine file, which is about 240 to 600 grit, work to remove ridges and shape the free edges of the natural nail. An ultra fine file, at 600 to 2400 grit, can buff and add shine to a natural nail.

There is no excuse for nail file mistakes, thanks to these corrective measures.

Images: Fotolia; Courtesy Sephora (1); Giphy (4)