Filing and buffing may be among the simplest skills a nail tech learns, but they’re some of the most crucial. Use our guide below to top up on essential knowledge and learn some new tips and tricks!

The Basics

Filing should always be slow. File too fast and you risk damaging the client’s natural nail, as the heat build-up can put stress on the nail and cause it to weaken. If the client’s natural nail is weak it’s best to file in one direction only, using a 240 grit or finer file. If the client has healthy nails then filing in both directions is ok, as long as you’re using a 240 grit or finer file, and if you file slowly.

A Gritty Subject

Similar to sandpaper in a DIY store, files and buffers are graded and numbered according to how much grit they contain per square inch. A coarse file would be either 80 or 100 grit, a medium coarse file is a 180 grit file, and a very fine file would be 240 or 320 grit. The lower the grit number, the coarser the file! Don’t be fooled into thinking that a coarser file will do the job more quickly – it’s much more efficient (and less damaging) to use a fine grain file.

Tip Top Filing

  • Always file dry nails – wet nails are weaker and tend to split more easily.
  • Don’t hold the file in a perpendicular position to the nail tip, instead hold the file at a 45 degree angle.
  • Use clippers to cut down nail length and to get the basic shape of the nail – don’t clip across the middle of the nail though, use 2 cuts – one on each side of the nail.
  • Always file from one corner of the nail and move towards the centre, making sure you bevel at the end of the nails after filing, to avoid splitting and peeling.
  • Don’t file nails that aren’t properly grown – wait until the nail has grown as least 1⁄4 of an inch from the nail bed.
  • An oval or square nail shape is best to prevent nails from breakage.
  • Nails shouldn’t be filed more than once a week – over filing can cause damage.
  • If you buff the natural nail before applying a nail polish, it acts like an exfoliation – the polish stays on longer and you get a smooth surface for painting. Don’t over buff though, as this will weaken the nail.

Make them last

Don’t go for cheap files, it’s false economy because they will wear down quickly and you’ll end up going through more files. Always remember to scrub the organic dust from a file after use on a client – this will help them last longer!

Click here to view the full range of nail files available at Salons Direct.