Filing Your Nails
he method you use for filing your nails may not be something you have ever spent a lot of time considering. Yet, how you file your nails and the type of file you use can make a difference to the health of your nails, especially the strength of your nails near the tip. This in turn can have an impact on how easy it is to chip your nail polish and therefore how long your manicure will last.
How Filing Can Damage Your Nail
When you file your nail, the filing motion creates a drag on the nail. This leads to tiny cracks opening up in your nail. Although you cannot see them, unless you look at your nails under a powerful microscope, these tiny cracks are the starting point for fractures. In turn these fractures can develop into tears that cause your nails to snag and break. A roughened nail edge can also make it easier for your polish to chip if you knock the end of your nail.
To reduce the tiny cracks it is recommended that with most types of nail file, it is best to file your nails in in one direction. This reduces the motion drag on the nail.
Why Your Choice of Nail File is Important
You may also be surprised to know that the type of nail file you use can also have an impact. Some types of nail file are a lot rougher on your nails than others. If you can, go for a file that is kinder and gentler to your nails.
There are four main types of nail file. These are metal, emery board, glass and crystal files.
Metal Nail File
The advantages of a metal nail file include they more or less last forever and they are just about impossible to break. They are also cheap to buy. The major downside is that they are much rougher on your nails than other types of file. This can create the problems mentioned above and lead to more snagging and breaking.
If you can it is best to avoid metal nail files altogether.
Probably the most widely used type of nail file is the emery board. These are cheap, lightweight and don't break in your handbag. They have been around since the late 1800 and have been hugely popular for well over 100 years.
Just in case you have not seen one, an emery board is an ice lolly stick shaped piece of cardboard with a piece of emery paper (similar to very fine sand paper) stuck to the cardboard. Emery boards can offer different amounts of abrasion. A rougher emery board is used for faster filing. Smooth emery boards give you a finer finish. Most boards are double sided with one side rough and the other side smooth.
Compared to a metal nail file an emery board will give you a better finish. It will also cause less cracks in your nail. The downsides are that emery boards wear out and the finish they produce is not as good as when you use a crystal nail file. If you use emery boards and your nails break from time to time or if you are looking for the perfect nail edge then it is worth upgrading to a crystal nail file.
Glass Nail Files
Glass nail files and crystal nail files look very similar, but how the abrasive surface is created is very different. With a glass nail file the gritty particles are stuck onto the glass surface. Over time these can either wear out or fall off the file. They tend to be much cheaper than a crystal nail file, but they are not the same. Beware of imitations!
Crystal Nail Files
A crystal nail file is considered to be the best type of nail file you can buy. Very few people who have used one would consider returning to emery boards or metal nail files. One of their biggest advantages is that they create a lot less drag on your nails. This means that you are less likely to create cracks in your nails and ultimately have fewer breakages. As the tiny cracks weaken your nails, using a crystal nail file helps to strengthen nails.
Some people have reported seeing their nails growing faster after switching to crystal. Others have commented that they perform the task much more quickly and save you time.
With reduced drag this is also the only type of file where you can get away with a back and forwards filing technique.
Another big advantage of switching to crystal nail files is the finish they give your nails. By turning the edge of your nail to dust, they create the perfect finish.
The downside of a crystal nail file is they are made of glass. So, a little extra care needs to be taken with them to ensure they do not get broken. Therefore, it is best to buy one with a protective case.