Well groomed hands and feet are such a reflection to the person behind them. If you do not like looking after your nails, my first suggestion is never date a Virgo (they always notice). It can get very confusing about how to have nails long, short or square, oval and we have even made up a shape Squoval??? Trends change constantly, in the end it is how you like them to look. However it is worth considering a squarer shape breaks less. It is a bit like the theory behind snowshoes and high heels, the square shape has more support and is less likely to break.
Long nails are very out of vogue at the moment either a mid length or short is the look. The most important aspect to consider is consistency of length, even lengths always looks neat and well looked after, therefore looks better than a few long and some short. If you break a nail, it is a good time to bring the others down to a similar length.
Some tips on trimming nails. If the nails is particularly long it is best to clip to almost desired length and file the rest to shape. When filling your nails never use a metal file as the action vibrates down the nail and can cause damage to the the nail bed and cause ridging or other deformities of the nail. Ideal use longish movements in one direction then return, you want to avoid a sawing action as it weakens the nail.
Looking after cuticles is important to avoid hangnail and over growth. Cuticle on the hands in particular are very vulnerable and need tender loving care. Be careful to never over push back cuticles and tearing them. Also be careful to not over clip or trim them as they will over produce like a callous and a vicious circle begins. Never soak hands before clipping cuticles. When skin is soaked it absorb the water and the skin swells, like your body does after sitting in a bath for too long and you come out looking like a prune. Once the skin has swollen like that it is almost impossible to trim neatly and evenly afterwards because the skin is distorted. (careful of nail bars as most still use this very old method). Try and apply cuticle oils or creams however is this is too much effort then please remember when applying your hand cream to be specific and rub into your nails and cuticles.
We all love smooth perfect nails however over buffing will weaken the nails considerably. If you have very ridged nails it is very tempting to over buff. Ridges in nails is a sign of weakness and they need all the remaining natural support so not to break. When using a three way buffer ensure to use the roughest sides least and the smoothest the most again so not to weaken the nail.
Give your nails a break from breaking. It is a great idea to do nail strengthening treatments every change of season (as a basic guide). Most nail hardeners on the market are able to be applied daily for a week and the removed and then the action repeated for 3-4 weeks. This is a brilliant way of maintaining the best nails in town. When applying nail hardeners be ever so careful not to touch the cuticles or they will harden too.
If you are a nail biter trying having regular manicures, when the hands look good and there is nothing to feed on you will be surprised how quickly the habit can be controlled. A proper professional manicure or pedicure is more than the shaping and the paint job!