Back to Basics Series: A Gritty Guide About Nail Files

Posted by Devon Nurre


Back to Basics Series: A Gritty Guide About Nail Files

Navigating through the nail section for the perfect file can be overwhelming, especially with so many options from design to functionality. It really comes down to what your needs are.
The number one trick to selecting the perfect file is understanding grit numbers. “Grit” is the bumpy particles you feel on the file when you run your finger over it. The grit number refers to the abrasiveness or smoothness of a file. This number tells you how many grit particles are in one square inch of the file. The lower the number, the more abrasive the file. The higher the number, the smoother the file. File grits range anywhere from 60 to 12,000, but realistically, there are only 4 major categories the average person will need to use:
1. Coarse files usually range from 100-150 grit. These are on the more abrasive side since they have less grit particles. These types of files can be used to file, lengthen, or shape acrylic or gel enhancements. They are not recommended to use on natural nails since they are too abrasive.

2. Medium grit files usually range between 180-220 grit. These are considered medium grit because they contain more grit particles. These types of files are smooth enough to work on the natural nail. They are great for filing the free edge of your natural nails; however, they are not recommended to buff natural nails. They can be used to lightly buff acrylic or gel enhancements.
3. Fine grit ranges from 240-400 grit. These types of files are soft enough to lightly buff on top of the natural nail without thinning the nail out and causing damage. Perfect for removing natural oils in the nail bed to help make your manicure last longer before applying your favorite polish.
4. Buffer files have 1000-4000 grit. These will feel smooth when your run your finger over it. You won’t even feel a bump. These types of buffing files help to create high shine on natural nails and enhancements, making the nail appear as if top coat has been applied. Buffers like these work best for polishing the nail to reveal a shiny finish.
Knowing your purpose for filing can help you to choose a file that won’t damage your nails. So next time you’re stocking up on nail files, check the grit number and refer back to this guide. Have a question about grit numbers and files? Leave them in the comment section below!
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  • What grit for thick toe nails

    Susan on

  • Thank you! I’m new to fancy nails and have been buffing my natural nails with 180. Oops. Thanks for the help!

    Amy on

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