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E-Files, Nail Drills, Files, And Buffers: Your Ultimate Nail File Guide


E-Files, Nail Drills, Files, And Buffers: Your Ultimate Nail File Guide

Marie Antoinette’s favorite nail care tool, the electric files for nails, is essential for creating Instagram-worthy dip nails.

As you can see in our DIY dip manicure tutorials, uses an electric or manual nail filing for:

(1) Nail Care: Get ready for success by removing your invisible cuticles and creating a rough nail surface that will prevent lifting

(2) Shaping/Buffing To achieve the perfect nail shape and manicure, buff your dip powder before you apply Sealer

We’ve found out that Mary E. Cobb is the inventor of the emery boards files we grew up seeing in drugstores. Today, we are going further than history. This article will discuss the basics of electric nail drills as well as the intricacies of manual nail files.

The Essentials of Electric Nail Drills

What’s an electric nail drill?

An electric nail file, also known as an e-file, is an electric-powered rotary tool that can be used to file nails and remove nail enhancements. A nail drill will need to have “bits” to do certain jobs. These coated drill tips are available in a variety of grits and materials. There are many options for carbide bits and ceramic bits.

  • CARBIDE BUTTS: To cut gel and acrylic nails, by slicing off layers of the mani
  • DIAMOND BITES: To remove product buildup by scraping off the nail surface
  • CERAMIC BUTTS: The same purpose, but with less heat and friction

How to use an electric nail drill.

Before you get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options, let’s review how and when each bit is used in a 10-piece basic set of nail drilling bits.

  • FLAMEBIT: To create an apex or clean around the cuticle.
  • NIBBIT: To remove hangnails, lift the eponychium (the nail fold at the base of the nail plate) and other delicate cuticle work.
  • SAFETY BIT: To do surface and infill cuticle work, backfill cutting, and shortening
  • BALLBIT: To clean sidewalls, under nails, and prepare for backfills
  • MICRO BALL BIT: To safely remove dead skin and clean cuticles and nails
  • FLAT END CYLINDER BIT To remove shine from surfaces and side grooves
  • NEEDLE/THIN NEEDLEBIT: To file away any residual cuticles or gel in difficult to reach places, under the nails and sidewalls, as well as backfills
  • SILICONE BIT: To polish the nail surface and make it smoother
  • CLEANING BRUSH: To clean the nail surface and drill bits

Sine, licensed cosmetologist, and DipWell Community Educator remind you to be kind.

E-files require training, safety precautions, and practice. To avoid nail damage, it is important to know how to safely use an electric nail drill. Stop using an electric nail file if it causes you pain. If the electric nail file is used correctly, this should not happen. The e-file should never be used on the natural nails. Natural nails should be filed only with a light hand.

We recommend that you stick with manual nail files if you are a DIY Dip Mani novice. We can’t stress how important it is for you to learn and grow your e-file if you want to improve your nail care routine. Refer to the manual of your nail drill. Learn how to set up an electric nail file, as well as safety tips. You can also visit YouTube to view instructional videos on using a nail drill. In-depth knowledge of electric nail drills is essential to avoid damage to your nails or trips to the doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Manual Nail Files: The Nut-Gritty

What’s a manual nail file?

This nail file is very user-friendly and comes in many different forms.

  1. EMERY BOARDS This is the most common manual nail file made from cardboard. It usually has two different grits.
  2. WOODEN NIAIL FILES These are very similar to emery boards but are made from wood instead of cardboard. You can also get them in different grits.
  3. BUFFING BLOCKS They are available in various sizes and grits (regular or mini).
  4. METAL NAIL FILES These metal nail files are made from stainless steel and can cause damage to natural nails. These files are better suited to nail enhancements.
  5. SPONGE BARDS: These extra thick cushion manual nail files have no paper backing. You can clean and disinfect them with a variety of grits.

The main criteria for choosing the best manual nail file is what you need.

What’s the number of grits in a nail file?

The file grit number is the degree of abrasiveness the nail file is. Sine, a licensed cosmetologist, says that you need to choose the right grit nail filing so as not to damage your natural nail bed.

How can you tell if your nail files have a high or low grit? Feel the particles by running your finger across the nail file. A high-grit nail filing is less abrasive than a low-grit one.

She also suggested the following guideline:

  • LOW GRIT NUMBER: For artificial nail enhancements
  • HIGH GRATIS NUMBER: Natural nails

The file grit number can be as low as 80 (coarse), or as high as 1000+ for superfine.

This handy chart will help you to understand the basics.


What types of manual nail files are there?

Do not let those file grit numbers overwhelm you. Sine, DipWell’s Community Educator, explains that there are four types of nail files DIY-ers will need.

  1. COARSE FILINGS (80-100 Grit): To shape acrylic nails or gel nails and file down thickness and length

These manual nail files have fewer grit particles and are not recommended for use on natural nails.

  1. MEDIUM GRATIS FILES (180 grit): To lightly buff dip, acrylic, gel enhancements, and to file the free edge of natural nails

Because they have more grit particles, these nail files are less abrasive. They are not recommended for buffing natural nails, just like coarse files.

  1. FINE GRATIS FILES (240-600 Grit): For smoothing and finishing off dips, acrylics, and wraps. These are great for removing natural oils, invisible cuticles, and other minor imperfections.

These manual nail files can be used to gently buff natural nails without damaging them.

  1. EXTRA FINE GRIT FILES (600-2400 grit): To create a high shine on natural nails or nail enhancements, giving the nail an appearance as though a topcoat has been applied.

When you rub your finger on these nail files, they will feel soft to the touch. These files can also be used to smoothen the natural nail surface for polishing, shining, and finishing.

Manual vs. Electric nail file: Which DIY tool should you use?

You don’t need a file. Although you can achieve amazing results using just the right buffers and nail files, experienced DIYers and nail professionals prefer an electric nail file. It’s faster to prepare and shape your nails if used correctly but it takes time to master.

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