How to Choose the Right Nail File for You


Choosing the right nail file is essential for maintaining healthy nails and achieving the perfect manicure. Using the wrong type of nail file can have negative effects on your nails, such as causing splitting, peeling, or weakening. To ensure that you make the right choice, it’s important to understand the different types and grits of nail files available.

There are various types of nail files, each with its own characteristics and best uses:

  1. Emery board files: Made with cardboard or wood, these are best suited for natural nails.
  2. Metal files: Durable steel files that are suitable for thicker nails or fake nails.
  3. Glass files: Gentle and long-lasting, making them ideal for natural nails and minimizing the risk of damage to sensitive nails.
  4. Sapphire files: Similar to glass files in terms of gentleness and durability.

In addition to understanding the different types of nail files, it’s crucial to grasp the concept of grit. Nail file grit refers to the coarseness or roughness of the file’s surface. The grit number indicates how fine or coarse the file is, with lower numbers being more coarse and higher numbers being finer. The grit number affects the filing process and determines whether the file is suitable for heavy product removal or fine finishing.

Throughout this article, we will explore each type of nail file in depth, discussing their advantages and disadvantages based on factors such as durability and filing precision. We will also delve into the importance of choosing the right grit number for your specific needs and provide practical tips on assembling a well-rounded nail file kit.

1. Understanding Different Types of Nail Files

When it comes to maintaining healthy nails, choosing the right nail file is crucial. The different types of nail files each have unique characteristics and materials used, making them suitable for specific nail care needs.

Emery Board Files

Emery board files are commonly made with cardboard or wood and are best suited for natural nails. They are gentle and effective for shaping and smoothing the edges of the nails. However, they may wear out quickly compared to other types of nail files. Emery board files are available in various grits to accommodate different levels of nail filing.

  • Best Uses: Ideal for natural nails and for shaping and smoothing the edges.
  • Advantages: Gentle on natural nails, versatile for different grit options.
  • Disadvantages: May wear out more quickly, less durable compared to other types.

Metal Nail Files

Metal nail files, typically made of steel, are known for their durability and suitability for thicker nails or artificial/fake nails. They offer precision in filing and can withstand heavy use without wearing down quickly. However, they may not be suitable for use on natural nails as they can cause damage if used incorrectly.

  • Best Uses: Suitable for thicker nails or fake nails, durable and long-lasting.
  • Advantages: Durable, precise filing capabilities.
  • Disadvantages: Not suitable for natural nails, potential to cause damage if used improperly.

Crystal Nail Files

Crystal nail files, crafted from tempered glass, are gentle yet highly effective for natural nails. They are durable and minimize the risk of damage to sensitive nails. Crystal nail files provide a smooth finish and are easy to clean, making them a hygienic option for nail care.

  • Best Uses: Ideal for natural nails, gentle on sensitive or thin nails.
  • Advantages: Gentle on natural nails, durable, hygienic.
  • Disadvantages: Can be more expensive compared to other types of nail files.

In understanding the different types of nail files, it’s important to consider their unique characteristics and recommended uses based on your specific nail care requirements. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability, precision in filing, and suitability for different types of nails. By selecting the right type of nail file based on these factors, you can effectively maintain the health and appearance of your nails.

2. Choosing the Right Grit for Your Nail File

When it comes to choosing the right nail file, understanding the grit of the nail file is crucial. Here’s what you need to know about selecting the appropriate grit number and its impact on your nail care routine:

What is Nail File Grit?

The grit of a nail file refers to the coarseness of its surface, which determines how finely or aggressively it can shape and smooth the nails. Nail files are categorized by grit numbers, with lower numbers indicating a coarser surface and higher numbers representing a finer texture.

Selecting the Appropriate Grit Number

Choosing the right grit number for your nail file largely depends on your specific nail care needs:

  • For heavy product removal or shaping thick nails, lower grit numbers such as 80 or 100 are ideal. These coarser files can effectively tackle tough tasks without excessive effort.
  • When it comes to finishing, refining edges, or buffing the nails, higher grit numbers like 240 or 320 are more suitable. They provide a finer touch for achieving a polished look without causing damage.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Different Grit Numbers

Lower Grit Numbers:


  • Effective for shaping and shortening nails quickly.
  • Ideal for thicker nails or artificial enhancements.


  • May cause rough edges if used improperly.
  • Can be too aggressive for natural nails if not handled carefully.

Higher Grit Numbers:


  • Provide gentle filing for natural nails without excessive abrasion.
  • Perfect for refining and smoothing after initial shaping.


  • Require more time and effort for heavy-duty tasks.
  • Less effective on thicker nails or hardened enhancements.

By understanding the characteristics of different grit numbers, you can make an informed choice based on your current nail texture and the specific task at hand. Remember that having a variety of grits in your nail file kit allows you to address diverse manicure requirements effectively.

When it comes to nail files, glass and sapphire options stand out for their unique features and benefits. Let’s take a closer look at what makes these nail files popular choices for maintaining healthy and beautiful nails.

Glass Nail Files

Glass nail files have gained popularity due to their exceptional hygiene and longevity. These files are crafted from tempered glass, making them durable and resistant to wear and tear. The smooth, fine grit of glass nail files allows for precise shaping and smoothing of the nails without causing damage. The non-porous surface of glass nail files also makes them easy to clean and sanitize, promoting good nail health by reducing the risk of bacterial growth.

Sapphire Nail Files

Sapphire nail files are known for their durability and effectiveness in maintaining nail health. Made with tiny particles of sapphire, these files offer a long-lasting solution for shaping and refining the nails. The fine grit of sapphire nail files ensures gentle yet efficient filing, promoting smooth edges without causing splintering or peeling. Additionally, sapphire nail files can be easily cleaned and sanitized, providing a hygienic option for your nail care routine.

Both glass and sapphire nail files offer distinct advantages that cater to specific nail care needs. By understanding the unique features of these popular options, you can make an informed decision about which type of nail file best suits your preferences and contributes to the overall health and beauty of your nails.

4. Building Your Ultimate Nail File Kit

When it comes to maintaining healthy and beautiful nails, having the right tools is essential. Building a well-rounded nail file kit will ensure that you have the right file for every manicure requirement. Here are some practical tips to help you assemble your ultimate nail file kit:

  1. Variety is key: It’s important to have a diverse collection of nail files to cater to different needs. Each type of nail file has its own unique characteristics and advantages. Having a variety of files in your kit will allow you to choose the most suitable one for each task.
  2. Consider different types: As discussed earlier, there are various types of nail files available, such as emery board, metal, glass, and sapphire files. Each type offers different benefits and is suitable for specific purposes. Consider including at least one of each type in your kit to cover all bases.
  3. Think about grit: The grit of a nail file determines its level of coarseness and aggressiveness. Different grit numbers are used for different purposes, ranging from heavy product removal to fine finishing and buffing. Including nail files with a range of grit numbers in your kit will ensure that you can achieve the desired results for various nail care tasks.
  4. Personalize based on your needs: Everyone’s nails are unique, so it’s important to personalize your nail file kit based on your specific requirements. For example, if you have natural nails that are prone to breakage, consider including a gentle glass or crystal file for minimizing damage. If you frequently wear artificial nails, opt for a durable metal file that can handle thicker materials.
  5. Consider portability: If you’re someone who likes to do their nails on the go or travel frequently, consider adding compact and portable nail files to your kit. Miniature versions of different types of files can easily fit into your purse or travel bag, allowing you to maintain your nails wherever you are.

Remember, building the ultimate nail file kit is all about finding the right balance of versatility and personalization. By including a variety of nail files that suit different needs, you’ll be well-equipped to achieve the best results for your manicures.

5. Mastering the Proper Technique for Filing Nails

Nail filing technique is crucial for maintaining the health and appearance of your nails. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you master the correct nail filing motion:

  1. Start from the Outer Edge: Begin by positioning the nail file at the outer edge of your nail, angling it slightly underneath.
  2. File Toward the Center: Gently guide the nail file toward the center of the nail in one direction, ensuring smooth and even strokes.
  3. Avoid Back-and-Forth Motion: It is essential to avoid aggressive back-and-forth filing, as this can cause fraying and weaken the nails over time.
  4. Achieve Desired Shapes: To achieve specific nail shapes like square, oval, or almond, adjust your filing motion accordingly. For instance, filing straight across will result in a square shape, while filing at an angle can create an oval or almond shape. You can refer to this genetic nail shape guide and advice for more insights on different natural nail shapes and how to enhance them through filing techniques.
  5. Additional Nail Care Practices: In addition to proper filing technique, consider incorporating other nail care practices to maintain optimal nail health. This may include moisturizing cuticles, using nourishing oils, and applying a protective base coat before polishing your nails.

By mastering the proper nail filing technique and complementing it with comprehensive nail care practices, you can promote strong, healthy nails while achieving your desired manicure look.


Choosing the right nail file is essential for keeping your nails healthy and looking their best. By knowing the different types of nail files and selecting the right grit, you can get great results without causing any harm to your nails.

In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about nail files, including their types, grits, and popular choices. We’ve highlighted the special qualities of glass and sapphire nail files and emphasized the importance of having a variety of nail files in your collection.

Now that you have all this information, it’s time to use it wisely. When picking a nail file, think about things like your nail type, thickness, and what you want to achieve. Use lower grit numbers when you need to remove a lot of product and higher grit numbers for finishing touches and smoothing.

Don’t forget to practice the correct way of filing nails by using gentle strokes from the outside towards the center. Avoid going back and forth aggressively as it can damage your nails.

With the right nail file and proper technique, you can have beautiful nails and amazing manicures. So go ahead, choose the perfect nail file for yourself, and start creating stunning nail designs!

“The right nail file is like a secret weapon in achieving perfect nails.” – Unknown

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *