Monday, September 22, 2014

The Importance of Shaping

To learn more about why and how I shape my nails, click "Read more".

      Sorry, it's been forever since my last post.  This past year has been pretty crazy, and unfortunately I don't have nearly enough time to dedicate to doing my nails anymore.  Before I go on, I think it's important that I mention maimaddiepedi is now on instagram, so check it out and follow us for our latest nail designs.(Our instagram also tends to be more active than our blog, so follow!) Since I just started college, and I'm out-of-state, I decided to leave my old polish collection at home, and begin anew.  This is much easier said than done, especially on a college student budget.  Since I don't really have the ability to paint my nails right now, I thought I would talk about something that I regard as one of the most important steps when doing my nails: shaping.  When I first got into painting my nails, which I can't believe was like four years ago, I didn't even think about shaping.  In fact, it wasn't until after I started this blog, that I realized how important shaping is.  Now when I think about it, starting with unshaped nails is like trying to do homework on a cluttered desk; it can be done, but it's kind of a hassle and you don't usually end up with your best work.  If you want to see the difference between my nails with shaping and without shaping, just look at the picture above.  The picture on the left is post-realizing-the-importance-of-shaping and the other two are pre-realizing-the-importance-of-shaping.  As you can tell, having my nails shaped just makes me want to put more effort into the design of my nails.  Everyone has a preferred shape; personally, I like squared-off nails akin to that of The Nailasaurus.

The Nailasaurus's Typical Nail Shape
For me, it gives the cleanest presentation, and allows for the most versatility. I don't really need to worry about the shape of my nail clashing with what I want to paint on them.  Most importantly, shaping my nails just helps me make my manis look more professional.  People often ask me if I get my nails professionally done, or if they are fake.  A lot of times, people are surprised to find out that I do my nails myself, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I shape my nails, while many other amateur nail artists do not.(There's also the fact that I really have no artistic ability when it comes to anything besides nail art.) Yes, it can look a little strange to other people when my nails are shaped and I have no polish on them, but it's easier for me to always have my nails prepped and ready to be painted, then to have to take the time reshaping them each time I decide to paint my nails.  
      It took me a while to get the right shape, but now that I've been shaping my nails for a while, it comes naturally.  I rarely, if ever, use clippers to cut my nails, because 1)I'm afraid it will crack my nails and 2) it provides me less control than just using a good file.  I say to use a good file, because I know many people are too impatient to file their nails, instead of cut them, but a good file should be able to take off a lot of nail fairly quickly.  I like to buy two-sided files, where one side has a larger grit so I can quickly file away excess length, then I use the side with the smaller grit to actually shape and smooth out the edges of my nails.  I usually just buy Revlon files, which are fairly inexpensive, but are quite effective at getting the job done.  I buy replacements maybe every few months, so they last a pretty long time. 
     The first time I shaped my nails, in order to get a shape that I liked, I first had to grow out my nails quite a bit, because before, my nails used to often have a pretty steep curve to them.  Then I just filed my nails straight across using the large-grit side until they were the length that I wanted, and they had pretty sharp corners.  I then used the small-grit side to round out the corners a bit, make sure the edge of my nail was straight, and not diagonal or crooked, and finally just made sure that the edge of my nail was smooth, so I wouldn't hurt myself or others.  Having squared-nails took a bit of getting used to, and at first the corners used to break off a lot, so I would have to let my nails grow out and reshape them, but now I don't even think about it and my nails are stronger, so I don't have to worry about the corners breaking.
     Shaping my nails really took my nail art to the next level.  For this reason, I would really recommend nail shaping to anyone that likes to have professional-looking nails, even if the shape isn't the same one that I like to use.  For some people, having squared nails can seem a bit too severe. Whatever shape you like to make your nails, just make sure that it is clean, consistent, and looks intentional. It will completely transform the way that people see your nails, and it's such an easy change to make.  It may take a bit of experimenting at first, but once you find a style that you like, it makes it so much easier to get excited about painting your nails.

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