How to File Toenails

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to File Toenails

Throughout the year, but especially in the summer season, we all want to show off feet that look nice, cared for and sexy. Summer is the time of year when our feet are in plain sight, and therefore it is important to remove calluses, moisturize them and care for our nails to make them look beautiful.

We have all filled our nails at some point, but do you think you are doing it correctly? There are many conditions that can affect this our toenails, and in many cases they are the consequence of a poor approach to cutting and filing. At OneHowTo we want to show you how to file toenails properly, so that they look healthy and beautiful.

You may also be interested in: How to Soften Toenails

Steps to follow:


The first thing you have to do is choose your working tool as there are many different types of files with different degrees of thickness.

If you have very fragile and thin toenails choose a fine-grained file as this will be enough to shape them without damaging them. As the thickness of your fingernail increases you will require a thicker, coarser grain for your file to obtain the desired results in less time.

Many files have two sides that combine a finer grain and a thicker one. If you have to work on the shape a lot, it'll be easier to start off by using the coarser side and then move on to finer polishing with the fine grain for the end result.

How to File Toenails - Step 1

Once you've chosen the best file for your toenails, decide on the best toenail shape for your feet. There are several ways to file toenails and they depend on the type of nail you have and the shape of your toes.

Short and slender toes

File the nails into an oval shape so that your toes look longer. To do this, file the sides and round off the top.

Wide toes

If your toes are wide, it is best that you file your nails into a round shape to soften the ends. The way to do this is by starting to file the nail at the end and with a circular motion drag the file to the centre. Do the same on the other side and round off the middle.

Long and thin toes

If you have long, thin toes then straight and square toenails will look spectacular. File a straight and square top, maintaining them at a rather short length. File sides straight if necessary.

How to File Toenails - Step 2

It is advisable that you file toenails when they are clean and free of impurities inside. Clean thoroughly and dry off your nails. It is preferable that you do not file nails when they are very moist as they will be too soft and you might damage them.

If you have very long nails and decide to resize them you can first cut them with a nail clipper to facilitate the job. Try, as far as possible, to cut the nails into the shape you have chosen so that they will be easier to work later with the file.

Do not cut or file nails too short because this can irritate the bond between the skin and the nail.

If you have applied nail varnish take it off before filing nails and paint them again after they are filed and polished. It will be easier to see if you are filing them correctly.

How to File Toenails - Step 3

After filing the nails remove the remains of the dust with a damp towel, for example. Check that they are well smoothed by passing a cloth on them and ensuring they do not attach or rip.

If you want your nails to look even more beautiful then polish the surface with manicure products designed for this purpose. You should not do this too often because it will weaken your nails. Polishing nails will facilitate and improve varnishing.

To finish, apply a layer of transparent hardener and, if desired, your favorite nail varnish. You must wait for it to dry thoroughly - then you can apply your usual foot cream to finish off the job.

How to File Toenails - Step 4

This is how to file toenails. Remember that if you want your feet to look healthy and pretty you must also take care of your heels and calluses: make an exfoliating scrub and keep them from cracking with lotion.

If you want to read similar articles to How to File Toenails, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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How to File Toenails