How to Clip Nails and Prevent Ingrown Toenails

Firstly, you must soak your hands and feet in a mixture of warm water and coarse salt in order to soften your nails.
How to Clip Nails and Prevent Ingrown Toenails
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 10 October, 2022

Knowing how to properly clip your nails is a habit you must master in order to maintain proper health and hygiene and, of course, your beauty. Long nails are neither healthy nor attractive – not only because they collect dirt and bacteria but also because of the risk of them leading to an ingrown nail. This is because it would become a real nuisance and may lead to excruciating pain.

Maintaining proper nail length will also add to your health and thus to the natural beauty of your hands and feet. Not only that, but you’ll also avoid any future complications that could be painful. The best news is you don’t have to invest large sums of money on manicures and pedicures at the beauty parlor.

You can do it yourself if you learn the proper technique to do so. In fact, it doesn’t take too long and doesn’t cost more than a nail clipper.

The right way to clip nails

Cutting your nails is simple and all you need are a willingness to do it right and the proper tools such as:

Before you begin

The best way to start is to soak your nails for at least 15 minutes in warm water. This is to soften them and make them easier to cut. Keep in mind that toenails are different from the nails of your hands. So you must pay close attention to how to cut each type of them.

How to clip hand nails

A person exfoliating a hand.
  • Use some exfoliating soap while you soak your hands just before you clip your nails. Take this opportunity to massage them while removing and dead tissue and debris.
  • Apply a little bit of cuticle removing fluid on the growing part of the nail, and continue to soak your hands.
  • Carefully peel off the cuticle with the orange stick and push it back with the flat part.
  • Get rid of any excess cuticles with a cuticle trimmer or manicure/pedicure tweezers. You can also use the latter to open a space between the nail and your finger.
  • Use a regular nail clipper to clip your nails in a curved or straight shape, leaving a little distance between the cut and your fingers.
  • Finally, smooth the nails with a file and shape them as you like.

How to clip toenails

  • Soak your feet and exfoliate them with soap and cuticle removing fluid. Then, repeat the procedure to remove the excess of cuticle and any skin around the nail.
  • Then, clip the toenails carefully as they’re usually prone to ingrowth.
  • Use a straight clipper to cut them across as these nails should be square. Try not to leave any jagged edges or corners. It’s also important to leave some distance between the cut and the toe to protect them.
  • Finally, gently file the nails doing your best to maintain their square shape.

How to prevent ingrown toenails

A toenail comparison.

Ingrown toenails are usually the result of improper nail cutting, or due to the use of tight or pointy shoes, ball kicking (as in soccer-playing) or even genetics.

It’s important to correct an ingrown toenail as soon as possible as it could become a painful problem that might even require surgery.

How to treat an ingrown toenail

When a nail becomes ingrown, the area often becomes red, swollen, and might show signs of infection and even have pus. Professionals advise soaking the feet in warm water mixed with coarse salt, to soften the affected area. This will help separate the nail from the skin with the tweezers or cuticle trimmer and then cut it in order to keep it from re-ingrowing.

How to clip nails to prevent ingrown toenails

You can easily prevent ingrown toenails by maintaining healthy daily grooming habits. Observe the following recommendations even if you’ve already solved a previous ingrown nail problem:

  • Clip your nails often
  • Soak the nails to soften them prior to trimming them
  • Avoid the use of tight and pointy shoes
  • Consult a professional if you’re unable to properly trim your nails

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.