We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Should You Clip Your Nails Before or After a Shower?

Woman cutting nails using nail clipper
comzeal images/Shutterstock

Did you know that you might be cutting your nails wrong? If you’re trimming your nails when they’re wet, it may pose all sorts of issues. If you want well-manicured nails at home, there are some things you’ll need to know.

The Purpose of Well-Trimmed Nails

The nails on your fingers protect the ends of your digits and assist in helping you pick things up. The nails on your toes help protect your toes (think of what it would feel like to stub your toe without that protective keratin shield).

Well-trimmed nails will keep your fingers and toes safe from breaking and tearing—painful experiences, to be sure. By clipping your nails at the right time, when they are dry, you can prevent these problems.

Why Cutting Dry Nails Matters

Trimming your nails when they’re wet increases the risk of nail damage and injury. It might seem that wet nails would be easier to cut, but the softness of wet nails makes them more vulnerable to tearing. Also, because wet nails are flimsier, you won’t get as even a cut on them. Cutting your nails unevenly may lead to snagging them on your clothing and ripping the nails down to the quick.

Four More Tips for Properly Trimming Your Nails

For a cleaner cut, here are a few bonus tips.

  • Always Use the Right Clippers: Fingernail and toenail clippers are two different things. A fingernail clipper is smaller and a bit more concave, while toenail clippers are larger with a flat nose.
  • Don’t Trim Too Short: Trimming your toenails too short, or trimming them to be too rounded at the corners, can lead to ingrown toenails, and those are no fun.
  • Take Your Time: Don’t trim your nails when you’re about to head out the door or you’re running late for work. When you’re in a hurry, you may make a mistake and cut your nails too short, or cut yourself.
  • Invest in a File: Filing after you trim may help you remove any jagged edges that might catch on something and rip your nail.

When in doubt about the proper care of your nails, consider investing in a one-time manicure or pedicure and see how the professionals do it. You can take what you learn home with you.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?