The nail file

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Use our guide to have your nails in tip‐tip condition for the big day

Natural nails

If you want to grow your nails for that special occasion, book an appointment with a professional at least once ‐‐ and at least four months beforehand. Your manicurist will be able to advise on how to clear up any problems such as nails dry, brittle, or split nails. And whatever remedy you try, you’ll need to give it at least three months of regular use before you start to see results.

Self protection

Prevent your nails from chipping and splitting by encouraging healthy nail growth. Try this DIY treatment: gently warm some almond oil, then soak your fingertips in it for 10 minutes. Push the cuticles back with a cotton bud, never clip them. For added protection, wear rubber gloves when you’re gardening, doing housework, decorating and washing‐up.

Shaping up

Every six weeks, clip your nails ‐‐ it encourages them to grow. Trim them from side to side as they can split if you start in the middle. Shape them using the whole length of the file in long smooth strokes, never in a sawing motion. Keeping your nails all one length looks best; even if you have to cut them all right back when one nail breaks, this will actually create an illusion of added length.

Call in the professionals

The day before your big day have your nails professionally manicured, including your toes. If you’re worried about chipping the polish or breaking a nail, leave your manicure until as late as possible.

Make your manicure last

If you have a manicure the day before, keep your hands and feet above the water line if you have a bath that night. Submerging your newly painted nails in hot water encourages peeling and dramatically reduces the life of your manicure. To further protect your manicure, apply a topcoat every other day.

A stroke of colour

If you’re painting your own digits use 10 to twelve strokes to cover the nail ‐‐ most people think they can get away with three. Remember, pale colors show chips and smudges less than vibrant hues. For the natural look of a French manicure, don’t use bright white on the tips, it’ll look fake. Go for a slightly off‐white shade such as Revlon’s White on White.

An instant fix

Artificial nail extensions are a great way to conceal very short, bitten or damaged nails. If you want to try artificial nails, book a consultation at least seven months before the big day. Then if you change your mind about wearing them, this will give you time for your new nails to grow in.


Emery Board Nail FilesAbove: “Filed Under Love” Emery Board Nail Files from the Confetti shop

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