A nail file is a nail file is a nail file, right? Not so! In fact, a too-coarse nail file can cause damage to your natural nails. So which one best fits your needs? Celebrity manicurist Gina Eppolito shares her advice for choosing the right tool to take care of your tips.
True Grit
First, get to know your grits. Grit is the measurement of coarseness on the file that facilitates refining and shaping your nails. “The higher the grit number, the softer the file,” Eppolito says. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a low number equals a coarser, more abrasive grit. Versatile files, such as the ever-popular 100/240 grit that’s considered a do-it-all workhorse for natural nails, feature two grits: one for shaping and taking down length and one for finishing and smoothing.
Nail Type
It's important to assess your nails. If they are brittle and fragile and split and break, Eppolito suggests using a crystal nail file. “Crystal files have a softness that treats the nail gently, yet will be able to quickly create the desired shape,” she says. Try: Essie Crystal Nail File. Smoother files boasting finer grits ranging from 240 to 600 are ideal for softer nails that have a tendency to peel. Try: Kiss F100U All Purpose Nail File and Smoother.
Toughen Up
Why use a coarse (80 to 100) grit? If you have acrylic nails that need shaping, their thicker makeup requires a little more muscle. Eppolito recommends a 100/180 grit file, such as Star Nail Shorty Black File, to help take down length and refine acrylic. Also, don’t forget your toenails! Their more durable structure requires a stronger grit as well.
The Finishing Touch
Shaping and refining sometimes isn’t enough. This is where super-high grits (ranging from 600 to 2400) come in handy. Nails that are ridged, dull or stained from repeated polish wear benefit from ultrafine buffing blocks, such as OPI Shiner 1000/4000, which works to erase discoloration, even out the nail bed surface and add a nice dose of shine.
What are some of your favorite nail files?

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