The shape of your nails can provide your hands with an elegant appearance. Trends in nail length and color change periodically, moving from dramatic to conservative and every variation in between. Shape trends change periodically too, with the simple square silhouette being an easy to craft and care for style that you can create at home with the use of a nail file. Square nails tend to be stronger, since the side of the nails and the tip are even.

Things You'll Need

Cut your fingernails straight across with nail clippers at the desired length.

Use an emery board style of nail file to create a squared top for your fingernail. Push the file in one direction at a time over the top of your nail. Avoid using a sawing back and forth motion that can cause nail damage.

Shape the sides of your nails. Use a file to rub down the rounded edges of each fingernail and sculpt a square shape. Do this on one side of the nail and then the other until both sides are even.

Round off the corners of each nail slightly. Too much filing destroys the desired square shape. File the corners just enough to remove sharp corners that can create snags. Buff your nails to smooth out any rough edges.


  • Depending on how quickly your nails grow, and how often your nails come into contact with objects that cause chipping, you may have to re-shape your nails as often as once a week.

  • Apply a protective coat of nail strengthening polish to extend the life of your manicure.