How Were Nails Cut in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, grooming was not as easy as it is today. One of the most basic tasks, like cutting nails, was also a big challenge. Without the modern tools we have today, people in ancient times had to rely on various methods to groom themselves.

How Were Nails Cut in Ancient Times?

The use of sharp objects like knives and scissors wasn’t very common in ancient times. So how did people manage to cut their nails? Well, there were several ways:

1. Biting Nails

Believe it or not, nail biting was a common way of keeping nails trimmed in ancient times. People would bite their nails when they got too long and then smooth them out with a rough surface like stone.

2. Using Stones

Stones were used for filing and shaping nails. People would rub their nails against rough stones until they were shaped and smooth.

3. Using Animal Claws

In some cultures, animal claws were used to cut human nails. Sharp animal claws like eagle talons or cat claws were used to trim nails.

4. Using Scissors

Although not as common as the other methods mentioned above, scissors made from bronze or iron were sometimes used to trim nails.

5. Using Knives

Knives made from stone or bronze were also used for nail cutting. However, this method was more dangerous and could lead to injuries.

The Importance of Nail Care

Regardless of the method used for nail care in ancient times, one thing is clear: people understood the importance of grooming themselves and taking care of their appearance.

Today, we have access to modern tools like nail clippers and files that make grooming much easier and safer than it was in ancient times.

  • To maintain healthy nails, it’s important to keep them clean and dry.
  • Regular trimming can prevent hangnails and ingrown nails.
  • Filing can help smooth out rough edges and prevent splitting.


In conclusion, although the methods used for nail care in ancient times may seem primitive to us now, they were effective in helping people maintain their appearance. Today, we have access to modern tools that make nail care much easier and safer. However, it’s important to remember the importance of taking care of our appearance and maintaining healthy nails.