How to Cut Extremely Long Fingernails

Don't try to cut off all of the nail length at once.
... Jupiterimages/ Images

Luxuriously long nails can add flair to your style, but once you tire of your extra long tips, cutting them is a challenge. Use the right tool to keep your nails looking their best. For natural nails, everyday nail clippers work best, as long as you start with soft nails and take off a little at a time. For long artificial nails, use professional tip cutters.

  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Tip cutter

1 Clipper Know-How

2 Soak your nails

Soak your nails in warm water for three to five minutes to soften them. Or trim your nails immediately after a shower or bath. Natural nails are much easier to trim when they are softened by water.

3 Pick up a pair

Pick up a pair of nail clippers designed for fingernails and prepare to slide the blade across the width of your nail.

4 Slide the clippers

Slide the clippers about 1/3 of the way across one nail. Squeeze with firm pressure to cut through that portion of the nail.

5 Open the clippers

Open the clippers and slide it sideways about a 1/4 inch. Close the clippers again to cut through the nail. Continue this process until you reach the other side of the nail and the excess falls off.

6 Repeat the cutting process

Repeat the cutting process to trim additional length off of your nail until you reach the desired length. Depending on the length of your nails, it may take two or three passes with the clippers.

7 File

File the tip of your nail using a nail file until it is smooth and straight across. File each corner just enough to eliminate sharp points. When filing, use light pressure and file in a single direction, not a back-and-forth motion.

8 Repeat the process

Repeat the process to cut each remaining long nail.

9 Tip Cutter Techniques

10 Elevate one finger at least 6 to 8 inches at to off of the table

Elevate one finger at least 6 to 8 inches off of the table.

11 Slide the opening of the cutter

Slide the opening of the cutter over the end of your nail, stopping once you reach the desired length. Tip cutters have an open-ended design, allowing you to cut off as much length as you like at one time.

12 Squeeze

Squeeze the base of the cutter firmly in your hand to cut through the nail.

13 Repeat the process-2

Repeat the process to cut each of your remaining nails in the same manner.

  • Nail scissors aren’t good options for trimming natural nails, as they can cause splitting and cracking.
  • If you are wearing artificial nails or tips, you don’t have to soak them before cutting. Artificial nails don’t absorb moisture and won’t soften up.
  • If you have artificial nails, the tip cutter is your best option as it is designed to handle the harder material.

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.