How to cut and look after your nails correctly

Nails should be kept fairly short. The longer they are, the more easily they are damaged – especially your fingernails, if you work with your hands. If they are fine, you can use a normal clipper; for anything thicker – usually toenails, but sometimes fingernails – you will need a heavy-duty version. Use a nail file for shaping, or if it hurts when you clip your nails. You don’t need to use it in just one direction, but do file gently to avoid damage.

Fingernails should be given a curve, while toenails should be cut straight across, to prevent ingrowth. You can cut a little down the sides of your toenails, especially if you are prone to ingrowing toenails, to take them away from the skin. If you have persistent problems with an ingrowing toenail, you will need to see a doctor.

Your nails will be softer after a bath or shower, so if you have thicker nails it may be easier to cut them then. With brittle nails, however, cutting them when they are soft may make things worse.

There is no harm in giving your cuticles a gentle trim, but don’t overdo it – they protect your nail bed from infection by keeping out debris.

You should moisturise your hands and feet, including your nails and cuticles, every day. The thicker the cream, the better. If you use polish, give your nails a break from time to time so that air and moisturiser can reach them and prevent discolouration.