How to File Down Your Dip Nails?




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The dip powder manicure trend is taking the industry by storm, and many women are going for it.  Not only is it durable, but it also gives you the freedom to manipulate the manicure however you want. For example, you can paint over the dip manicure, file down the dip nails, etc. 

After a dip powder manicure, you may notice an inconsistency in the length, shape, or size of the nails and may want to file them to even out the discrepancies. While this is possible, you’ll need to follow a careful procedure to ensure that your dip nails remain intact. This article provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to file down your dip nails. 

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How to File Down Your Dip Nails

Applying dip powder on your nails is an engaging exercise and may leave your nails needing some touch-up to look better. Filing down your dip nails is the best way to perfect them and shape them in the style you want. However, you must do so like a pro, most safely and effectively, so that you don’t ruin the manicure. 

If you feel inadequate to do it, you can always visit a salon and get a professional to do it. However, it’s a simple DIY exercise that you can do if you have the right tools. Some of the things you’ll need to file your dip nails are a fine-grit file, clean and dry towel, nail buffer, and nail polish with a matching color or a clear topcoat. 

Step 1 – Select a file with fine grit.

The type of file you choose will determine how effectively you’ll file your nails. To ensure that you file smoothly and minimize the risk of breaking your nail or chipping the manicure, you can choose a file with grit above 200, like 240, or 280, or 320. The grit size indicates how smooth the file is. That means low grit files are rough and can easily cause the nail to crack. 

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You can find files of any grit size from a beauty supply store near you or in supermarkets. If you need help choosing, explain the intention of the file to the attendant so that they can help you identify one that will work best for your dip nails. 

Step 2 – Use the file to even out the tips of your dip nails.

Before you file down further, you may want to start with removing any bumps or ridges at the tips of the dip nails. Start from the side and file across the nail to the other side in a long stroke. Maintain the pattern, focusing on the bumpy areas to clear any imperfections. 

Be careful not to pull the file back and forth, as doing that forms tiny cracks on the nails and makes them chip off with time. Instead, move the file in one direction in a long stroke at a time. Repeat these movements until the ridges clear out.  

Step 3 – Continue filing to achieve your desired size and shape.

After removing the imperfections, you can continue filing your nails in long strokes until you get your preferred nail length. Try to file slowly without applying too much force or being aggressive so that you can have more control over the nail and the shape it will form. You can try holding a nail plate down while filing to increase your comfort and stability as you file. 

Once you’ve achieved your desired nail length, you can now shape your nails to the shape you want. For example, for a rounded shape, you’ll need to move the file from side to side in long rounded arc movements across the nail tip. To achieve pointed nails, you’ll need to file only the sides and avoid the tip. 

Try not to rush while shaping your nails. It’s a process that takes time to achieve the shape you want, and rushing over it may just spoil the nails, and you might need to start all over. 

If you have chubby nails these are the best shapes.

Step 4 – Use the nail buffer to smoothen the nail surface after filing. 

Rub the nail buffer over the nails about three times to even out the surface and the nail tips. Over-buffing the nails can alter their shape and undo what you had already done. Therefore, use the buffer moderately to achieve great results. 

Buffing will also prepare the nails for a layer of matching polish or topcoat, which is important to give the nails a smooth and shiny finish. 

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Step 5 – Seal the nails with nail polish or topcoat 

Before applying the nail polish, you’ll first need to remove the dust on your nails by running them through warm water for about 30 seconds as you rub them with your fingers. Use the dry towel to pat off the water, and allow the nails to air-dry for about 5 minutes. 

You can choose to apply a layer of matching nail polish or a thin layer of a clear topcoat. Ensure that you apply the layer evenly across the nail and along the tip so as to seal the nail. The nail polish excellently covers any imperfections that couldn’t be removed while filing the nails. 

Wait for the polish to dry before doing anything so that the polish doesn’t smudge or chip. You can fan the nails to dry them faster. 

Filing your dip nails can make them crack or break. Therefore, if you feel pain or discomfort when filing, it’s important to check if they are breaking and visit a professional for further handling. 

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Can You Fix Dip Nails?

Dip nails can crack, and at times you need a quick fix so that you can finish your day undisrupted or attend that momentous event. Some quick fixes for a peeled off or cracked dip nails include:

  • Use nail glue to stick back the peeled-off part, and then spritz it with a glue activator so that it holds immediately. Nail glue can be found in beauty shops, and you can use it for a quick fix.
  • Apply a matching polish to cover the chipped portion. This is a good choice, especially if you have a matching polish; you can paint it over the annoying nail and dry it. It may not create an exact similar shade, but it will go a long way in covering the imperfections. 


Filing your nails at home can be a challenging exercise, but you will get better with more practice. You only need to be careful and use the right tools correctly. Also, don’t be in a rush so that you don’t ruin your nails in the process. If you choose, you can practice with fake nails until you can file the nails properly without messing them. 


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