How to Cut Your Nails

by Wirnani Garner

Cut Your Nails

Creative Commons License, by: patzs, copyright: September 2008, Creative Commons License, by: Kelly Sims, copyright: April 2008, Creative Commons License, by: © Pacifist, copyright: August 2007, Creative Commons License, by: labspics, copyright: May 2008, Creative Commons License, by: avarhirion, copyright: September 2007, Creative Commons License, by: LeeBrimelow, copyright: December 2005, Creative Commons License, by: mypixbox, copyright: July 2008

How your nails look reflects a lot about you as a person. You may go for long and colorful nails if you are into fashion; or just short if you are into activities like sports. But whether you want to have them long or short, it doesn't matter. The important thing is they are well-trimmed and clean. Nail cutting plays an important role when we speak of personal hygiene. It may be an easy task but sometimes it can cause minor problems, such as unwanted nicks and ingrown nails, when done improperly. For a safe and neat way of cutting your nails, apply the following steps below.

Items you will need

  • Clippers
  • Nail file or emery board
  • Tissue
  • Clear nail polish
Step 1

Prepare the right type of tools for the task. Clippers that are small to medium in size, with slightly curved blades, are appropriate to trim your fingernails. For your toenails, large clippers with straight blades are the proper kind to use.

Step 2

Sanitize your clippers. Before getting started, you have to make sure that your clippers are clean. Rinse your clippers to remove dusts and unwanted dirt, especially when you are sharing it with somebody else. Dry it thoroughly after washing to prevent it from rusting.

Step 3

Wash your nails clean. You can take a shower and cleanse your nails or just merely wash your hands and feet with antibacterial soap. Dry them well with a towel to remove excess water. This process will not only clean your nails, but also helps in making your nails soft and easier to cut or trim.

Step 4

Look for a well-lighted area. You should perform your nail cutting in a space with proper lighting and where you can clearly see what you're doing. Also prepare a napkin or a small bin where you can easily gather and dispose your clipped nails.

Step 5

Examine your nails closely before you start clipping them. Decide if you want to have your nails short with a little bit of the white part remaining or long with a round or square tip. After making a decision, lift and turn the leverage part of the clipper (the part where you place your thumb to apply pressure), and start cutting your nails.

Step 6

Begin cutting your fingernails. It doesn't matter whether you want to start trimming your pinkie going to your thumb or vice versa. It is all up to you. The important thing is how you properly position the clipper on your nails as you cut them.

Step 7

Place the clipper on one side of the fingernail you're cutting first. Make sure to align the curved blade of the clipper on the white part of your fingernail. But see to it that the clipper is not deeply set to prevent accidental nicks on your skin. Try to squeeze lightly on the clipper to ensure that it is properly placed--if you feel any discomfort, adjust the clipper to a safer pain-free position.

Step 8

Press on the clipper to allow it to cut through your fingernail. You can do at least two to three snips in one fingernail until everything is properly trimmed. Carefully follow the curve of your nail for an even cut. Check for some skin flaps or hangnails after each trim and remove them carefully.

Step 9

Sit and bend one side of your knee to easily reach your foot and clearly see your toenails. Lift the leverage part of your large clipper and position its straight blade on the white part of your toenail. Make sure to not set your clipper deeply to avoid accidental nicks. Adjust the position of the clipper if you feel any pain or discomfort.

Step 10

Trim your toenails carefully. Do not try to cut in a curved way to follow the shape of the tip of your toes. Cut it straight across to avoid ingrown nails. Make sure to also cut your toenails in a moderate length--cutting them too short will only lead to painful ingrown nails.

Step 11

Use a nail file or an emery board to smooth up any uneven and rough surfaces of your newly trimmed nails. You can also use it to further balance the shape of your nails. When you file, do it in one stroke--starting from the corner of your nail going to the center.

Step 12

Apply some moisturizer on your hands and lotion on your toes to keep the cuticles moisturized. The cuticle is the tissue that overlaps your nail plate (the actual nail) at the base of your nail. It protects the newly formed keratin cells as it pushes up to the nail bed (the area that produces nail plates).

Tips

  • If you happen to accidentally nick your skin while cutting your nails, just press firmly onto the injured spot using a clean tissue or a cotton ball until bleeding subsides. If you have brittle or weak nails, it is advisable to paint them with a clear coat nail polish to provide extra strength and to prevent breaks or tears. Avoid picking and biting your nails as it may only cause unwanted cracks that may peel a part off your nail. Erase both these bad habits if you want to have healthy nails. Wear rubber gloves to protect your nails when washing dishes or handling any type of chemical. Do not wear ill-fitting shoes--this will apply pressure on your toenails that will soon lead to discomforting ingrown nails and foot problems.

Warnings

  • Be careful of nail hardening agents containing formaldehyde or toluene sulfonamide as it can cause skin irritations.

Photo Credits

  • Creative Commons License, by: patzs, copyright: September 2008, Creative Commons License, by: Kelly Sims, copyright: April 2008, Creative Commons License, by: © Pacifist, copyright: August 2007, Creative Commons License, by: labspics, copyright: May 2008, Creative Commons License, by: avarhirion, copyright: September 2007, Creative Commons License, by: LeeBrimelow, copyright: December 2005, Creative Commons License, by: mypixbox, copyright: July 2008

About the Author

Wirnani Garner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy and works in the medical profession. Her articles focus on health-related subjects, though Garner is proficient in researching and writing about a diverse range of topics.