ASK ANA: Curved Nails – Can I Change My C-Curve?

ASK ANA: Curved Nails – Can I Change My C-Curve?

Posted by Ana on Dec 8th 2014

ASK ANA: Curved Nails

Can I Change My C-Curve?


“Hi Ana, I’ve done a lot of googling but I can’t find much reference at all to whether one can improve a flatish c-curve on natural nails – most people seem to have the opposite problem.

Most of my nails are quite wide and fla

t, but not spooned or 

anything. I’m a little envious of those with a high c-curve! Any thoughts? Thanks for any suggestions. ~Liz


The curve of your fingernail is determined by the shape of your matrix. This is where new nail cells are made right behind your cuticle line.

Unfortunately, it’s not changeable.

Flat nails tend to tear more at the sides.

Curved nails can curl too much and literally hurt.

Since the shape of your matrix can’t be changed, you can change definitely change the look of your nails cosmetically. Just look at the women who go from squares, to almond, and back to squares.

As nails grow longer, the c-curve tends to tighten because the tips are drying out. They start to curl in the same way an autumn leaf curls as it dries out.

Side Filing

I don’t know where the myth came about that you should never file the sides of your nails—that they would somehow be made weaker.

Does it seem logical that you can file the tops of your free edge but not your sides?

Not to me.

curved nails how to file


Too Wide?

If your nails are flat and tend to widen out at the tips, you can file the side edges to make them a little bit more rectangular.

If you have wider nails,  wearing polish at all times is going to be very important for you. It will help add temporary strength, thus reducing the side tears.

Here’s my technique for adding temporary strength with polish,

Like most people, my thumb nails are flatter than the rest of my nails. They tend to get more side tears.

Once those tears happen, the only solutions are to cut your nails back or repair it by applying a silk or fiberglass wrap.

Are Curves Better?curved nails blue marble nail art manicure

It depends on how curvy your nails are. My nails have a strong c-curve—so much so that they will start to curl too much.

For me, if those sides curl too much, they weaken and break.

It is possible to have too much of a good thing.

I do file my sides to take the pressure off my skin. Side filing also reduces the tension of the curl so my nails flatten out a bit.

If you like the way your nails look when you come out of the shower and they’ve absorbed 3 times their weight in water, then you’ve got dry, dry, dry nails.

You definitely want to start using a high quality jojoba wax ester based nail oil. The oil will help soften the curve and make your nails more flexible. This will make them more resilient.

It is also important that you NEVER shower naked—as in naked nails.

The water and shampoo help dissolve the oil out of your nails. I explain how damaging water is to nails in  “How to Get Polish to Stop Chipping in the Shower.”

Always have at least one layer of base coat completely wrapped around your tips.

In Conclusion

We all have parts of us that we would like to change, and often times our nails are no exception.


The nail community is getting bigger by the minute, so there’s certainly plenty of nail photos to view.

I know it’s really easy to covet what you don’t have. I certainly know I would love to have longer nail beds.

I think one of the best things you can do is keep your eyes open for nail art bloggers who have nails similar to yours. Let them inspire you.

It’s certainly better than wanting something you can’t have.

One of the things I love about Sammi from The Nailasaurus is that she’s become hugely successful with short, flatter nails. Picture Credit:

I’ve always had longer nails, but she has taught me that short, well manicured nails can be equally gorgeous.

You don’t have to be perfect. Just accentuate the positive.

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