The misconception is that nice nails take too much time, but the truth is, a little bit of weekly maintenance will go along way to achieving and maintaining nice nails. Here is a simple guide to filing and shaping your nails:
1) File nails regularly. This helps get rid of snags and tears before they become a broken or torn nail. Only use nail files with a grit between 240 and 300 for natural nails. Anything smaller will be too coarse, and anything high will work more like a buffer.2) Determine the nail shape that will look best for your hands. You should look at the natural curve your nails make where the nail grows out and becomes a free edge. The straighter it is the more squarish your nail shape should be.
3) There are 4 basic nail shapes you can file your nails to; a rounded shape, a pointed shape, a square shape and a squoval which is a combination square-oval shape.
4) Once you have picked the shape of your nails. Gently file them, but do not file nails excessively. If you need to shorten your nails, clip them first, then smooth out the rough edges with a file or buffer. File nails only when dry. Then use a buffer to smooth out rough spots.
5) NEVER file nails back and forth across the tip of your nail. This will weaken the nail, causing it to split and chip. File nails toward the center, first from one side then from the other.
6) Avoid filing deep into the sides of the nail. This also tends to weaken it. Allowing the sides to grow makes them appear longer and they will wear better.
7) Once you have achieved your desired shape. Wash & dry hands, then use a good creme and massage it into hands and nails until absorbed.