Gel nails are popular for many reasons. They don’t break easily. They have a natural, but polished and well-groomed finish to the surface. They lend themselves to any sort of decoration, including varnish and decoupage. Gel nails also look attractive when minimally treated, too.

Applying gel nails requires a bit of natural inclination and a lot of practice, but in between fills or touch-ups, some women may want to trim the nail at home. Learning to cut your own gel nails can save on time and money otherwise spent at the salon.

Things You'll Need


Prepare to cut your nails. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Clean under the nail as much as possible, too. Lay out a paper towel on a flat surface where you will cut your nails. Dip the nail tip cutter in disinfectant. Dry the cutter with a paper towel.

Cut a straight edge. Work over the paper towel to catch any debris. Use the tip cutter to cut a straight line across each nail, starting with the pinky finger and working in toward the thumb nail.

Round the tips. Turn on the electric file. Turn your nails toward your face, pointing downward. File the corners of the nails at approximately a 45-degree angle to maintain strong corners that avoid breaking.

Recreate the arch. Gel nails look natural because they maintain the same arch as a natural nail bed. When you cut your nails, you may need to recreate the arch to maintain a natural proportion to the nail. If the nail’s proportion looks good to you at this point, skip to Step 5. Otherwise, gently buff the gel at the sides and top of each nail with the nonelectric nail file to recreate a natural shape. Hold your hand and the file at whatever angle is most comfortable for you to achieve a look you like.

Shape the edges. Run the nail file vertically up and down the edges of the nails to finish the sides and even out the shape. Avoid the rounded corners.

Tips

  • Be gentle with the electric nail file to avoid damaging the gel nail.