How to Do the Sharp Nail

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Lady Gaga: the dark queen of sharp, pointy nails
Lady Gaga: the dark queen of sharp, pointy nails (Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

If you love manicures, new nail styles and generally having fabulous digits, whip out your file and try sharply pointed nails. While it may not be a daily style for mere mortals, red-carpet royalty and pop idols have stepped out with nails filed into soft almonds, razor-sharp stilettos and everything in between. You can mimic the look at home with natural or artificial nails. A quick tip: While sharp nails can be a slick, modern statement, you're also more prone to breaking them and scratching yourself and those you love. You've been warned.

Things You'll Need

  • Orange stick
  • Cuticle oil
  • Manicure scissors
  • Base coat polish
  • Medium grit nail file
  • Very fine grit nail file or smoothing nail buffer
  • Nail polish
  • Top coat

Prep your nails by pushing back your cuticles lightly with an orange stick and dabbing a little cuticle oil at the base of each nail. Carefully trim any hangnails with manicure scissors.

Find the very center of your nail. If you're going to make a pointed nail, the last thing you want is for it to be lopsided. If it helps, place a tiny dot of polish or a touch of eyeliner pencil on the center of the tip to keep your filing straight.

Choose a medium grit glass file or cardboard file to begin shaping your nail point. These files are fine for both natural and artificial nails, while metal files can break and tear weak nails. Glass files are the top nail artist standard -- they give you a smooth, clean file and last for ages.

Brush on a strengthening base coat to protect natural nails. Let it dry completely before you start filing.

Use smooth, upward motions toward the center point to file your nail, alternating your file on the right and left side of the nail. Don't saw back and forth on the nail, which causes breakage. Using an upward motion in a straight diagonal line toward the center gives you the sharp, pointy nail you're looking for.

Smooth out any rough, gritty spots by going over the edge of the nail with a very fine grit file or a buffer designed to smooth out ridges in the nail bed. This protects your nail from catching or tearing on clothing or other soft surfaces.

Seal your work with color, nail art and/or a clear top coat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your fingernails will be slightly weaker in a sharply pointed shape, so tasks that require using your nails (like opening a soda can) may be more difficult or cause nail breakage.

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