Nail File Guide: What Grit?

Nailing the grit

There are so many types of nail files, how do you know which one to use?

All files are coated in a material similar to sandpaper, which creates a grit-like coarse surface. Like sandpaper, nail files are graded according to how much grit they contain per square inch.

Have you ever found that your nail files from the same company have not always been the same consistency and you assume a bad batch?

Nail file paper comes on a big roll, think of your nail forms. 

This is constantly pulled and cut to make the files. Over time, this will cause friction against other areas, wearing them down. 

This means that the lower down the roll you get the quality will not be as good as the first part of the roll.

Now, which bit of the roll a brand gets, is down to one thing - cost.

The more expensive files only use the first 25% of that roll but can guarantee the same grit and quality throughout all batches.

Majority of brands use any part of the roll.

The cheapest files use the end 25%.

So, whilst ours may not necessarily be the cheapest, the quality and consistency of our nail files are paramount to us so we purchase the premium file paper.

Have you noticed the difference in your files?

What grit should I use?

The higher the grit, the smoother the file, and the lower the grit the coarser the file.

Grit quality is important for file longevity.

  • For natural nails, a fine grit (180-240) is gentle and effective, such as our KB 2 Way 240 grit nail file.
  • Coarse files (80-100 grit) are best for de-bulking acrylic enhancements.
  • Medium files (150-180 grit) are best used to shape extensions or shape the free edge of toenails that are thicker than fingernails. Our KB 2 Way 150/180 grit nail file is perfect for shaping enhancements and for pedicures.
  • Fine files (240-600 grit) are best for refining.
  • Ultrafine files (600-2400 grit) are used to buff the nail to a shine.

Filing techniques

Each nail tech will have their own filing routine but consistency is key to ensuring a symmetrical and even nail. When filing the enhancement you should work uniformly in sections and keep your file flush onto the product, rather than keep lifting off and filing odd sections here and there. 

Each nail shape requires a slightly different free edge filing routine. Learn how to file different nail shapes here.

Follow my filing routine below, demonstrated on a Russian Almond Nail Shape in this video.

If you want to improve your shaping, our KB Finish Filing Masterclass will help you achieve consistency in your nail enhancements whether acrylic, gel or acrygel, Katie will teach you step by step through her award winning finish filing routine.

1 comment

  • Kathy

    We don’t use the efile in our salon but want too
    Do you offer training at all ?

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