Next time you’re at the nail salon, take a look around you. It doesn’t take a detective to notice that not all nails are created equal. No, we’re not talking about the tendency for peeling or brittleness—but more to do with the shape of the nail plate itself. Some look pretty “normal,” while others are short and stubby or appear to fan out. What gives?An atypical shape may be the result of an underlying health issue, in which case it’s important to seek medical intervention. But more often than not, it’s the luck of the genetic draw. Luckily, the right filing tips will help you nail down the most flattering solution for your fingers.First, a quick anatomy lesson:
- The part of your nail you file, buff and paint is the nail plate. It’s a hard structure, made up of many layers of keratin and sits atop the nail bed.
- The uppermost, white part of the nail is the distal edge; it’s comprised of old, hardened cells.
- The bottommost part of the nail is the matrix. This is the only living part of the nail and is where the keratin and cells are produced.
- The cuticle (eponychium) protects the matrix.
- The white, half-moon shape at the base is called the lunula. That’s the visible part of the matrix.
- Fun fact: Fingernails grow three times faster than toenails, and those on your dominant hand outpace those on the non-dominant one.