How to File Nails Like  a Professional Nail Technician

How to File Nails Like a Professional Nail Technician

Articles Blog

Gosh: [Speaking in Polish] Kirsty: What? Not again! For God’s sakes! Now I’m Polish. So, this video is all about filing. The filing of the nails and how to file the nail and we’re gonna do different shapes as well. So, we have the fabulous Gosh. Oh my gosh, we have Gosh. Gosh is our Polish translator. So, I know a few words in Polish, I’ll just tell you them now. Jen dobre, that’s it. Gosh: That’s very good. Kirsty: That’s all I know. My dad had a Polish girlfriend at one time, that’s the only reason I knew that. Kirsty: Right! So, I’m gonna show you these shapes that we’re gonna go through. So, we have a pipe shape. I’m gonna show you how to file that. We’ve got a stiletto, an almond nail, a ballerina and then, we have your traditional square nail. So, I’m gonna go through each nail and show you how I would file those. So, I’m gonna use these two files for now. We have an 80-grit file and we have a 100-grit file. These files should never be used on a natural nail, they are far too coarse. The lower the number, the coarser the file. So, you can see, you can literally see the grit on that file which is the 80-grit and then this is the 100-grit and you see the very slight difference. This is slightly more grainier. Now, before you use a file, it is super important to take off the edges. So, I’ve got an old file here. I’m gonna go up and down and then, I’m gonna go across the edge to take off the sharp edges. If you don’t do this, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re gonna cut your client or yourself. These grits are not for natural nails, these are for on top of acrylic. So, I’m gonna start with the 80-grit file. I’m gonna show you this pipe nail now. Pipe nail has nice straight sidewalls. When you’re using a boomerang file, you want to use it this way. Can you see how it’s curved? It’s curving away from the nail. If you use it this way, you will end up hitting this side here and you don’t want to do that because it’s gonna cause a fracture point. So, you see how it’s kicking away from the skin and it’s just filing the sidewall. Get that nice and straight. Make sure you’re not angling the file like this as you start to file it because you’re not gonna hit that perfectly straight. You want it to go in line with the finger. Adam: Are you pulling her skin away from the nail as well, when you’re doing that? Kirsty: Just like that.
Adam: Yeah. Kirsty: Pulling it away. Gonna do the same on this side. See, I’ll wrap my finger around and pull it that way. And you’ll see… look at all of the debris that comes off. Now, I can’t quite see what I’m doing now, so I’m just gonna clean that off and I can check that I’m not angling up like this, I’m not eating into that side. Run it straight with the finger or thumb, that you were doing. Check down the barrel of the nail that both sides are equal, I just need a tad. Little bit off that. So, if I show you this nail, can you see that they are equal? Okay. Now, because I’m going around by the cuticle, I want to use a softer file. This is a 100-grit file. You can even go down to a 180-grit file for this bit if you want to. If you have an older file that’s lost some of its grit and once upon a time, it was a 80-grit file but it’s more like 150 file now, you could still use that file to go around this area. Now, you can see the angle that I’m using, so I’m not going into it high. All I’m touching… can you see here, that all i’m touching is that part, just there. So, all I’m doing is smoothing that area. We go all the way around that cuticle area and as I come down this side, I’m gonna bring the file down at an angle where you sort of almost hit the desk. So, you can see where I’ve filed there. You can also get the thumb or finger and change the positioning, so you can really get somewhere. Don’t make it uncomfortable for you, make it uncomfortable for the client. I don’t really mean that. I just, you know, make sure you can actually do your job. And then I’m gonna do this free edge. Now, because we’re doing a pipe nail, we’ve got this sort of soft round edge. Now, you can do them individually each side, that is fine but you can do them together at the same time like this. And sort of rock it under. You get that nice scoop. Gonna go back to the 100-grit file now and I’m gonna contour and look at the positioning of my file. I have this shape of my hand which is the shape that everybody kind of looks at, a little bit at the minute. What’s that thing for? Called? Adam: I don’t know, it’s just that people do that that, don’t they? They go like that. Kirsty: They go “Oh, look at this.” Adam: Yeah. Kirsty: Made you look. So, I’m gonna contour this. As I get to the middle, so this point here, I can’t get around here unless I do this. So, we file there and soon as you get to that sort of middle section, you then need to reposition how you’re filing. So we’ve gone from here. What you can do is turn the hand. So, you keep your actual filing hand in the same position but you’re moving the client or you can do this position, so your hand can be like this. So, you’re holding the end of the file and the finger is pointing up the file. That’s giving you your pressure. It’s sturdy in your hand because you have hold of it but this finger will create the pressure for you, so you can come down like this as well. I’m then gonna use the file in this position when I’m holding just the end of it. And as I’m filing, all I’m touching right now is from the back third to the tip. So, from that apex right to the tip and that’s gonna give you that nice shape. Gonna check down the barrel, just to check that it’s all even. I’m checking that it’s thin enough. Once you’re happy with that shape, this is where you’re gonna buff. So, when I’m buffing over, I’m making sure I’m covering all of the nail to make everything nice and smooth. Now, we’re gonna move on to the Stiletto nail. With a stiletto nail, you can see that we need to straighten this up. See here? It’s all got a bit of a wibbly wobbly line going on. It’s quite thin though, so it won’t actually take much to file that bit of excess off. I’m gonna do the same on both sides. Now, it’s very important to make sure these levels are the same or else you will lose your C-curve that runs through the entire nail. So, if one is higher than the other, your C-Curve and structure won’t be sound. So, again with the file, you’re letting this boomerang file kick out away from the finger. That’s one good thing that a boomerang file is great for because it prevents you from cutting your clients. Yeah right. And again with a softer grit file, I’m gonna go around the cuticle area. And as I get to that sort of 1 O’clock, 2 O’clock position, I need to change my filing position and you can see that all I’ve really touched is this section, Yeah. Wait. As we get to here, we are going to change the filing position into this sort of, I call this like a dagger. It’s a dagger position or “you are not a girl” position. And we can change the angle. You need this angle, to then come down and file this side just like you’ve done the other side. You need them to match. And again can you see how the file is scooping up away from the skin? If you don’t get these angles right underneath as well, the nail can look like it’s twisted. So, if you look at that, can you see how they’re not perfect at the minute? Adam: Oh yeah, like… Kirsty: Little bit of twisting going on Adam: Bit of wonk. Kirsty: Yeah! And that’s this side here, it’s interfering. Can you see how it’s giving it a bit of a twist? So we need to get that perfect. And I can see that by looking at it, straight down the barrel. And then you can go back to your 80-grit file or you can use your 100-grit file. I mean, you can use your 100-grit file for everything. This is gonna make everything a little bit quicker though, using the 80-grit file. So when you’re filing a stiletto nail, you’re at a different angle than you would be when you’re doing anything sort of with straight sidewalls like this one. This one is a lot flatter, whereas this one, you sort of sloping down when you’re contouring. So, the angle of your filing position is very important and it’s just the same with the finger position. The finger position is very important if the client’s holding their finger up like this because they’re trying to look at what you’re doing, which happens a lot. Lots of clients go… and try to look at what you are doing. It makes it very difficult for you to file. In my opinion, a stiletto nail is probably the easiest nail to create because the angles of filing are a lot easier because you file it sort of down towards yourself and it’s quite a comfortable position. When you’re filing flatter, your arm’s in a different position, so your elbows out and it makes it a little bit more difficult. Whereas, if you’re just filing down, it’s quite easy to do it. So, check down the barrel, make sure the contours of this nail are perfect. Sometimes, when you’re filing you can’t see what you’re trying to do because you think, “Oh, it looks a bit weird and I don’t know why.” But sometimes you can feel it. Sometimes you can rub your thumb across and go, “oh, there’s a little bit there. I can feel a dip or I can feel something that’s a bit too high.” So, that is really really important. I’m always rubbing my thumb over the nail. I don’t know if clients just think I’m like, massaging the nail, but I’m actually feeling for imperfections. And then we buff that nail. Nothing different about buffing this nail. We’re covering all of the surface. And then, we’ve got the almond nail. This is a big favourite at the minute. It’s very a wearable nail, that’s why. Sidewalls coming straight out. Do not anchor your file up or down. Lots of people when they first start out in nails and they’re quite new to it, they file like this and they end up creating a weak point here. Keep it really straight. Now, I’m pinching the skin away. I’m filing super straight. I’m making sure I’m balancing all the time as well. Balancing and keeping support and I’m also supporting the nail itself by popping my thumb on the top especially when you come around to this side. And especially when you’re kind of doing your sidewalls because there’s a lot of pressure pushing up. So again, I couldn’t quite see what I was doing so I dusted it off. Get everything nice and straight. I’m not going to file the free edge at this point. If I file the free edge here, can you feel the vibrations going up me finger? Gosh: Yeah.
If I file the free edge here, can you feel the vibrations going up me finger? If I file the free edge here, can you feel the vibrations going up me finger? Kirsty: What happens is, it goes up the product and it sort of bounces on top of the natural nail, which causes a little earthquake that actually starts the product separating. That causes lifting. The vibrations get worse the further away they are. Adam: What? Like a ruler on a desk? Kirsty: Yeah. Do you know what I mean? The further away it is, the vibrations get more aggressive and I know, they’re only tiny tiny vibrations, but it’s something that will help with any kind of lifting because if you think, “I’ve prepped this nail, you know, within an inch of its life. I’ve done everything I can to stop this product lifting. I haven’t got a big lip at the cuticle area but I’m still getting a little bit of lifting.” That is because maybe you are filing free edge before your cuticle. The other thing that stops this lifting at the back is, when we file this cuticle area, the product becomes thinner, the thinner it is the more flexible it is, so those vibrations are not as great. So, it’s so important to keep everything nice and thin at the cuticle. Not only so it looks very nice but because we want everything to last. Gonna go to my 80-grit file now and I can start to contour and do this free edge. Now, I’m popping my thumb on the top of this nail to prevent vibrations as well and to dull them down. So you’ve got your almond shape. Now, we’re gonna make sure we contour the rest of this nail and we will touch all over this area. If you struggle with filing and you think, “Why am I not hitting that point?” Really scrutinise your filing techniques and draw on that nail with a pencil or a bright green pen if you want. So, we’re contouring. So you can see how I’m contouring. You can see the green pen disappearing. So, I’m not going up to here, gotta change the position of the file. If you are right-handed, you will find the right side more difficult to file. If you’re left handed, it will be the opposite way round. This for me. Me filing the left side of this nail is the easiest part. It’s more natural. Just gonna do this now so I can get right down here. Check the nail, look down the barrel. As I look down the barrel I can see, can physically see where I can file more because I’ll show you. You can see the thicknesses on each side. Taking that bulk away, which will make the nail look slimmer, but it will still have strength. So, if you look at this side now. See its thicker side? And then we’re gonna buff this just as we did the others. Now to my favourite shape. Can you guess what it is? The Ballerina, darling. So, if you look at this nail, you want everything coming straight out of the sidewalls. So, again it’s filing straight with the finger and you really need to get a good view on what you’re doing. Don’t be thinking, “Oh, I’ll just file like this” and you can’t really see what you’re doing. Make sure you can really see what you’re doing, move around, you know. This kind of bugs Adam a lot because I have to move like this and then he says, “You’re in my shot!” I’m always in the way of the camera because I’m moving so much. But you need to. It’s really important, so you can see exactly what you are doing. So, same filing routine where you do those sidewalls first. And you do those sidewalls first because you can see the shape. You know, happening in front of your eyes. But you want to try and sneak as close as you can to that cuticle area. So, again, you can sort of see this sort of n-shape or half moon that you’re filing. The angle of this file is really important. You keep the same angle throughout the cuticle area, everything will look perfect. And we’re gonna file the free edge now. I’m supporting the nail. Also, my finger will help stop the vibrations from the very tip. And this is especially important when you’re doing long nails. The longer the nail, the greater the vibration through the entire nail. But we need to make that nice and smooth, so you’re gonna make sure you file really flat with the file. Don’t be like, going like this and like this. If you keep everything nice and flat, it’ll all meet together. It didn’t take a lot to get rid of that. If you don’t get rid of things like that, when you apply gel polish on top of it, it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb, especially if you’re using black or red. 100-grit file because I want it to be soft. I don’t want it to eat into the acrylic and be like, “Oh damn, I have no apex anymore.” I don’t want that to happen. So, again with this one, you want each sidewall to be in line with each other. Want it to be the same height. You can even file them at the same time. So, you’re hitting each sidewalls, both sides at the same time. If you angle your file up and you start taking this nail to this angle, you will end up with a stiletto nail and the stilleto nail will have a scooping sidewall, which means the structure will not be sound. See, a ballerina nail needs to have that C-curve running throughout. The angles of filing are so important. That’s how you want your square nails to look. Super strong! Sidewalls, gonna get them nice and straight. It is dropping slightly, can you see we have a drop there? So, now, we are still going to file straight with the finger, so we’re in line with the finger, so I’m not going up, I’m not going down, we are in line with a finger, even though we are getting rid of that dropping sidewall. Now, we are going to do the other side because if we look at these at the minute, can you see how this one is slightly lower? We’re gonna level these up. So, now I’m going to go over the cuticle area. I’ve got a softer file because I don’t want to hit the natural nail too much. It’s inevitable that you’re going to skip over the natural nail that’s right at the back. However, a softer file will help. We don’t want to thin them out anymore. So, I’m gonna contour the rest of this nail, making sure that the apex is still sitting at the back. Making sure it’s thin enough, the nails are nice and thin. When I’m contouring over something that’s got such a high steep C-curve, I’m gonna start from this side. I’m gonna work from my right to my left and go over and down. Because this nail is only little, I can actually manoeuvre around it a lot easier. You’ll always find it’s a lot easier to file a small nail whether it’s short or just skinny. I’m gonna buff this nail like I have the others. And then I’m gonna wipe over all of the nails with Acetone just to smooth them out even more, give them a topcoat and then we’ll show you what they look like. Now, so you can see that this is a gorgeous pipe shape. Oh my God! Look at that. Do you know what? Everybody says to me, “That is such a beautiful shape” Love, love, love! There you are, guys! I hope you’ve enjoyed that video of how to file different shapes. I hope it’s been really educational for you and it helps you in some way or another. [Gosh speaking in Polish] Kirsty: And whatever she said, hopefully she didn’t say bad things. Hopefully, Gosh said, “Don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and Instagram. All the products I’ve used are listed below as always and we’ll see you in the next video.” Say goodbye, Gosh. Gosh: [Gosh speaking in Polish] Kirsty: Bye-bye! Maybe this should be the thumbnail and everyone will think I’ve done nail art like that. Nail art today is beautiful. I’ll write Kirsty.

100 thoughts on “How to File Nails Like a Professional Nail Technician”

  1. Kirsty love you are a savier did u know that??? Thank u for sharing your knowledge! I did not know about the 'earthshakes' and filing cuticle before the free edge! THANK U LUV ❤

  2. Such a great video! Thank you so much for doing another, and even more in-depth filing tutorial. Would you consider doing a similar video for filing your own nails? I find I still struggle with filing my own. Thank you again!

  3. Hey Kirsty, I loveeee these educational style videos but I was wondering – how would you do acrylics on fan shaped nails and still get them to look slim and flawless?

    Also, I have really flat nail beds, I pinch my acrylics with a pinching tool but still get quite a shallow C curve, what do you suggest I do to fix that?


  4. que lindas uñas te quedaron, eres una exelente maestra, me encanta como trabajas las uñas, tengo mucho que aprender sobre el trabajo que haces, gracias por tu tiempo saludos.

  5. I'm so happy I subcribes to this channel… I watched this Video words for words tkz kirsty ur sent from heaven, each time i watch ur video I make a new $$ video

  6. Hola me encantan tus videos y me gustaria comprar tus productos …como le puedo hacer vivo en Toluca México!!! Eres fantastica te admiro mucho 😍😍😍😍💕💕💕💕💕

  7. Would love to see you do a full set of Australia themed nails. I'm a long time follower, you are one of my 2 favorite nail gurus. 💅👍💝💎 xxx

  8. Thank you very much for this video😀 but I just wonder one thing. You always say that the apex shuld be in the back third, but is that no matter the lenght of the nail? Or only on long nails like you make?:S When I google apex it says it shuld be where the nail grows out of the finger, the "stresspoint", but that looks very wierd:S I know you made a video about apex, but that didn't answer this question:/

  9. You're a technical genius💡 Filing is the technical part off the process. More people who use filing, etc., in trades could move into being a nail technician.💅 Transferable skills.☺ Really great info you gave, thanks.🙋🌸

  10. Newbie here- fantastic video! Find holding clients hands right so hard! They fight it- they want to look at everything they pull back. It’s a wrestling match how do you do it without hurting yourself I find I seem to give up and move around them more :/ which I know will cause long term problems so I’m trying to figure out now how to get control without hurting myself or them! Or yelling haha

  11. Ale czad. ❤
    Nie spodziewałam się polskiego tutaj. Nawet byłam zdziwiona słysząc go, bo oglądam głównie angielskiego youtuba 💪🏻👌🏻

  12. Olá Naio gosto muito de suas explicações sobre alongamentos e tudo que faz é muito lindo 😍😍 fico olhando atentamente mais quero entender o quê vc tá falando. Please

  13. Very helpful! Thank you! But I would love to see the whole thing. From positioning paper forms to the end.

  14. hello could you please make a video when the mold does not fit in the nail,
    that is, when the client's finger is deformed

  15. It would be so awesome if you could show us how to file shorter nails, I love the long but it doesn’t work with my everyday life. Every time I file my ballerina nail they tend to curve up? I lose that straight line, any tips would be awesome thanks.

  16. Brilliant video. Thank you. I struggle with my filing and getting the nail just how I like. Can you tell me what grit file would you use if doing gel too Please as I only use gel. Have not yet managed to get the hang of acrylic 🙈

  17. My natural nails are somewhat wonky. One side drops down so it's hard to shape them nicely. Do you have any advice on this at all?

  18. I always accidentally eat into my side "almond* walls too much on one side when I do my nails, I'm not sure why I always end up doing this only on my own. I end up having to add product to try b fix it but sometimes I've exposed it so bad there's no way I've found to easily correct it. I would love it if would show how u would correct that area.

  19. Where can I get the boomerang files? The link doesn't work 🙁 BTW this tutorial is outstanding. I learn so much from your tutorials above anything else!

  20. love !!! this was so helpful.
    can you make a similar video for filing/shaping acrylic nails from tips? not forms. because I dont have that nice natural looking curve from underneath the nail so I have trouble keeping the from looking too flat. idk if that makes sense.. xo

  21. Hi love I need your heeeellllpppp I have been trying to find out how to do this beautiful multi colored tiny teeny striped nail art. I found it on Pinterest I can’t show u pic that I just took. However there are 2 pin titles one is called “ manicure with Saturn rings” and the other is called “manicure with automated ombré”, even though it is nothing close to an ombré. But if you search those 2 titles and scroll down it is the nail with automatic colors in A lot of very fine lines. Each one perfectly lined up against the first one and is followed by another color just as straight and perfect in size every time. I know if anyone can figure it out it would be you. And I would bet my savings that you would TOTALLY “NAIL IT”… he he he. So if you love me as much as I love you , then hopefully you will help me out if mauve di s video bc it

  22. There's a great "nail polish" joke hidden (in plain sight) here somewhere…. ha!/

    //edit : didn't make a whole lotta sense without the word "joke"….

  23. One always think you know everything, but watching your videos one always learn something new!! Thank you!! 🤗💞💅🏼🇿🇦

  24. One always think you know everything, but watching your videos one always learn something new!! Thank you!! 🤗💞💅🏼🇿🇦

  25. Hey Kirsty, I am curious what nail drill do you prefer? I love all your videos!!!!

  26. Your stalleto is always so beautiful. There's another YouTuber and I won't mention who but I watch her do a set and omg anyone wearing those would need to register their nails as a deadly weapon. They looked so silly and pointed I would be afraid of hurting someone with them.

  27. This is such an awesomely detailed video! I love that you show it with a hand file too. I do my nails at home and don't have an e-file so it's really useful to have a demonstration with a hand file.

  28. Thank you soooo much for the tips on filing the edge of the file, I am not pro but do my granddaughters nails and nick her cuticle every time, and I struggle with the shaping, Big hugs and THANKS <3

  29. Thank you so much, that is going to help me so much with my filing next time. I was wondering why my nails were lifting, totally makes sense 👍😁

  30. So….I’m looking for how to decrease length and keep the shape of a ballerina nail. Or am I going to need to do a whole new set? 🤔

  31. Thank you Kirsten. That’s very helpful. I’m gonna have to watch this some more. Even though I don’t do nails for a living I love to play with them in myself. 💅🏼

  32. i love how you go through EVEY SINGLE step on how we can perfect the shape of the certain nail . You are a great nail technician. Definitely subcribed !!! ☺️💞

  33. i buy all your material to work from your website and i love it !!! thank you for this tutorial youre my #1 nail instructor & favorite nails brand !!

  34. I wanna have stiletto or ballerina nails but my cuticle area is too sensitive i would be agonizing in pain if i ever tried to get acrylics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *