You're Probably Cutting Your Nails Wrong: Use This Technique For Expert-Level Tips

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
woman cutting nails
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Whether you venture into full nail art—equipped with all the brushes and bold colors—or stick to a no-fuss buff and file, some regular nail maintenance is a must. At the very least, you'll want to cut those overgrown tips to keep them smooth and snag-free, maybe rub in a cuticle oil, for good measure. 

But wait: Did you know there's a right and wrong way to cut your fingernails? It's not necessarily make or break (yet!), but if you're dealing with a weaker set of tips, it's definitely worth it to keep in mind. According to Mytien Le, nail specialist at sundays—a nail-care brand focused on wellness—you should never cut your nails starting in the middle. 

Why you should cut your nails starting from the sides. 

"Always start on the sides," she notes during a Zoom demonstration with the brand. "Because nails are naturally curved." If you approach the clippers at a head-on angle, you run the risk of cracks and splits—especially if your nails are weaker than usual (say, if frequent hand-washing and sanitizer leaves them brittle and dry). 

Rather, hold the clippers at an angle, starting from either side and working your way across the curved edge. That way, the nail doesn't bend awkwardly and snap off. From there, you can shape your nails however you please (if you're constantly typing, Le says a square or "squoval" shape may feel most comfortable as you tap on the keyboard), and apply a few drops of cuticle oil to keep them moisturized and strong. 

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The takeaway. 

Even if you don't wear a stitch of polish, regular nail maintenance is key. As you tend to your tips, make sure you're not unintentionally causing splits and breaks while trimming—especially if your nails feel a bit weaker right now. If you do notice a crack, though—it happens!—find these expert-approved tricks to mend your nail plate.

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