Prepare the Nail
Before even beginning the shaping process, remove your nail polish thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to use q-tips or an implement with nail polish remover to get rid of every last trace of a previous manicure. Once the polish is fully removed, take one last swipe over the nails with a cotton pad and a non-acetone nail polish remover. Now, you’re ready to begin the shaping process.
Use a Nail Clipper
If you want to take down the length of your nail, opt for a nail clipper over a nail file to start. Using a nail clipper will reduce stress to the nail and save time. Regardless of the nail shape you’re striving for, the method remains the same: clip nails starting from the sides. Clip the left side, right side, and lastly, the center.
File the Nail
To clean up the clipped nail and further smooth the nail properly, use a nail file with a fine grit for a natural finish. My philosophy on the nail file is to file in one direction, starting from the side and moving to the center. Avoid using a “back and forth” motion as this can make your nails prone to splitting.
Break Out the Buffing Block
Once the nails are all filed, glaze over your work with a light grade buffing block. The use of a buffing block with a very fine grit is critical to avoid roughing up the nail rather than smoothing it. Gently go over the nails with the block until they appear to have a buffed look. Be careful not to over-do this step. Finally, I like to take the buffing block over the edge of each nail with a very light touch. This step is to finalize the smoothing process. Using a buffing block periodically over nails when shaping is great to freshen up the surface of the nail to create a clean and smooth base.
Soak and Freshen
Once nails are shaped up, follow up with a moisturizing or freshening spray as a final touch and use a nail brush to complete the step. A favorite option is the rosewater facial spray by Mario Badescu. This will remove any remaining debris from filing and buffing. Run your fingers over your nails to double check there are no rough edges. If so, lightly clean up with a nail file or light grade buffing block. There should be no more need for clipping.
By following these steps, you can get your nails in perfect shape to show them off with a natural buffed look or polish with your color of choice. Always good to keep in shape!