It’s something we do without a thought – as we file our nails, we do it in back and forth strokes.
But apparently, this is the worst way you could be doing it, as it not only makes it harder to create a defined shape but can cause breakage.
Madeline Poole, a pro nail artist and Sally Hansen’s Global Color Ambassador, told Cosmopolitan that filing your nails back and forth – especially doing so fast – is practically like “sawing your nails back and forth” or “cutting your hair with a dull pair of scissors”:
“When you aggressively saw your nails with a file, it makes the tip frayed versus a clean cut,” she explained.
And because you’re doing so so fast, you have very little control and are likely to shave them so quickly that you can’t create the shape (such as an oval or square) you want accurately.
“All of this is a gateway for peeling and premature breakage, since the harsh trauma of filing causes weakness,” she added.
So instead, the best way is to file from the side of your nail in one direction into the center, lifting your file away from the nail and then returning to where you originally started (where your nail and skin connect).
Repeat this fluid motion until you’ve achieved the shape you were after.
“By using this technique, you get less of a ragged tip — plus, the fluid filing movement is less traumatic to your nail bed,” she said.
“Sometimes if the manicurist is too aggressive with the file, you can even see your nail move back and forth, like a loose tooth; this is exactly what you want to avoid.”
However, there are likely to be little bits – or what Poole describes as “feathers” – still attached to the tips of your nails, which you can get rid of by tucking the file under your nail and flicking them off.
Better to know now than never, right?
Did you know not to file your nails back and forth? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.