Today I have another instalment of my Manicuring 101 Series for you! I know you guys like the posts from this series a lot so I'm trying my best to get them up more frequently.
For any of my newer followers who haven't seen any of the Manicuring 101 Series yet, check out the Manicuring 101 tab at the top of the page and you'll find links to all of the other instalments from this series.
Today's post will be a discussion of the different kinds of nail files that are available, what the purposes of the different types are as well as my own recommendations about which ones are best.
Keep reading for the skinny on nail files!
Before we get into the different types of files, let's first discuss a very important matter regarding files: grit. A file's surface is called its "grit", which tells us how fine or coarse the file is and thus how rough it will be on your nails. The smaller the number, the rougher the file will be, and vice versa.
Here is a quick rundown of a few grit levels:
80 grit: This is very coarse and should never be used on natural nails. Some might use this on artificial nails but even then it's still a little too rough.
100 grit: This is still a coarse file but a 100 grit can safely be used on artificial nails only.
180 grit: This is the lowest grit that should be used on natural nails but if your nails are damaged or prone to damage, you might want to use a finer grit. I use the 180 grit on my own nails to file them down.
240 grit: This is a softer grit and a file with this grit is often used for buffing the nails to a smooth finish or buffing away stains.
500 grit: A file with this grit is a very soft one that would usually only be used to polish the nail.
These are many grit levels in between the ones I mentioned but you get the point - the higher the grit number, the finer the surface of the nail file.
So now that you understand grit levels, let's discuss the different types of files that are available.
1.) The buffing block:
This one is a 7-way buffing block that has varying grits on all of the sides and instructions as to what the sides should be used for. This type of file can be very useful because the instructions are already provided for you and it's an all-in-one deal so you would only need this one file to take care of all of your filing needs.
However, what I don't like about this type of file is that the grit numbers are not provided. Plus, I find this type of file a little too bulky to use for all filing.
2.) The double-sided emery board:
This is my personal favourite type of file because it's labeled with the grit levels so I know exactly what I'm using on my nails. As I said above, I use the 180 grit to file down/shape my nails so this is my regular go-to nail file. The other side is 100 grit and as mentioned, that should only be used on artificial nails.
This type of file is also available in finer grits so if you want something that's easier on your nails, look for something that is labeled as 220 grit or slightly higher. This file in particular is really good for salons or for someone who does nails out of their home because you can just switch it around to use it on those with natural nails and those with artificial nails.
3.) The basic, disposable emery board:
This type of file can usually be bought in packages of 10 or so and they're really only meant to be used a few times.
This type is similar to the emery board above but this one doesn't tell us what grit level the surface is and I'm always weary about this kind because of that. This one in particular feels very coarse and my guess would be that it's about a 100 grit file and therefore should not be used on natural nails.
4.) The glass/crystal file:
The crystal/glass nail file is all the hype right now and many people seem to think that it's much better for your nails than any other type of file. However, this isn't necessarily true.
The crystal/glass type of file simply has a higher grit level than most emery boards and therefore it's easier on your natural nails. You could always just purchase a higher grit emery board and get the same result, though. Plus it would save you some money because these types of files are generally pretty expensive.
I used to use a glass file myself (the one that's pictured) but I find that it's just not coarse enough to get anything done and it makes the filing process SO much longer. In my professional opinion, this type is best for cleaning up around the edges of the nail after filing them down/shaping them.
5.) The metal file:
This type of file is pretty common because they come in just about every manicure set. However, if you use this type of file, please stop. Throw it away right now. It might take up more room in your purse but please replace the metal file with any of the other files I've discussed here today.
Metal files are VERY hard on your natural nails and will only cause more damage than what you're going to use it for.
Well that ends our discussion of nails files! Basically, what you should take away from this post is that you should pay attention to grit levels and be careful when choosing your nail files.
If you have any questions, send me an email by going to the Contact tab at the top of the page or leave me a comment on this post.
We've now covered almost everything to do with filing your nails but there's one last thing we haven't covered - beveling, which is the final step in the filing process. We will cover the process of beveling in our next post and don't worry if you don't know what beveling is, you'll learn soon enough!
Hope this post was helpful!