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What Kind of Nail File is Best to Use?

By Erika Peterson
Updated May 21, 2024
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Some people use cheap emery boards, some expensive glass or stone varieties, but when it comes to the perfect nail file, it really depends on a person’s nails. There are many different kinds of files and each works well on a certain type of nail. Some are simple and inexpensive, while others are more elaborate and will last a long time.

A basic nail file is similar to sandpaper and can be made of both natural and synthetic materials. Cheap files are grainy and rough. They can only be used a few times before they are destroyed.

The best nail files to use are professional grade files. Professional grade files are made from natural minerals and other materials that are found in the earth. These natural materials include: glass, stone and other minerals. Some of the best files to use are made from crushed stone. Crushed stone files are known as both professional and permanent files. They are strong and will usually last a lifetime with the proper care.

Crushed stone nail files are available in different types or grits. The grit is marked on the file or file package as a number. The higher the number is the finer the grit. There is often a different grit on one side of the file as there is on the other. The level of grit that a person should purchase does not depend on preference, but it depends on the type of nails that the individual has.

Natural nails require a finer grit. A fine grit is gentle and easy on the nails and the nail beds. Most people use a nail file with a finer grit that is meant for natural nails. On the other hand, artificial nails; such as, acrylic, gel or silk require a courser grit on a file. This course grit is marked by a low number on the nail file or file packaging.

BeautyAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon991344 — On Jun 13, 2015

I agree, the crystal nail files Aveniro are perfect. I have had mine for some time too and it's still as good as new.

By Alicia451 — On Apr 19, 2015

I would definitely go for a crystal nail file. I have been using one for some years now and I could not be more satisfied. It is both gentle and effective and lasts really long time. I've had one from the Czech brand Aveniro for three years and have not had any problems so far. You may think that it is too expensive in comparison with other types of nail files but it is really worth it. It will last much longer and will not damage your nails. So I totally recommend you to go for it.

By Talentryto — On Sep 01, 2014

@spotiche5- I think that basic, coarse grit emery boards would work best for shaping your acrylic nail tips, and a crystal nail file is what you need to smooth and shape them. Though emery boards don't last very long, they are inexpensive and usually can be purchased in packs of multiple boards. A good crystal file will be a bit more costly, but will most likely last for several years.

By Heavanet — On Aug 31, 2014

@spotiche5- It sounds like a nail cube is exactly what you need. This item has four sides for every type of nail grooming you need to do. I have one that has a coarse side that works great for acrylic nails, a finer side for natural nails, a smoothing side for finishing your work, and a buffing side for bringing out the shine in your nails. The feature I like best about mine is that it is every thing I need to do a beautiful manicure on my fingernails and toenails, all in one tool.

This four-sided block nail file is easy to use, and not too expensive. Most beauty supply and retail stores carry them in the nail grooming isle.

By Spotiche5 — On Aug 30, 2014

I'm looking for some advice for a good nail file for acrylic nail tips. I don't go to a salon, but apply the tips myself. This requires a coarse file for shortening and shaping them, as well as a file with a finer grit for smoothing and finishing the tips. It seems like the files I buy are either too coarse, too fine, or don't last very long.

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