Step 1: Prep time
Start by washing and moisturising your hands, and then running a cotton ball of nail polish remover over each nail (even if you don’t have any polish on, it will remove any grime that could warp your polish). Depending on the length of the manicure you’re planning, you could also clip your nails to prep them for filing.
Step 2: Shape up
First, make sure to use a soft nail file (i.e. nothing metal) and avoid filing back and forth — this will weaken the nails, making them more likely to spilt. It’s also best to avoid filing recently wet nails (such as fresh out of the shower or bath), as they’ll break more easily. File one side of the nail in one direction, the other side of the nail in one direction, and finish by filing the middle of the nail in one direction. Keep your strokes light and your pressure even. Depending whether you’re looking for a square, oval or squoval shape, adjust the angle of your file accordingly.