What Nail File is Best for Natural Nails? 

 February 8, 2023

By  Kyrie Mattos

Professional nail technicians know that the health and overall look of your nails are largely dependent on the types of nail files you use to style and shape your nails. And what about you? Are you sure the file you’re currently using is the right fit for your natural nails? 

When it comes to actually picking a nail file, it’s very easy to get confused by the variety of offers on the market. Just like any product, different types of nail files serve the needs of different categories of consumers. So, it’s necessary to be aware of each nail file’s specific use to make informed decisions and not harm your nail health. 

Glass Nail Files 

As a rule of thumb, natural nails should be filed once a week. Thin and brittle nails, though, require filing even less often. And they definitely need a more delicate touch. The owners of thin natural nails will want to have a glass nail file in their arsenal. Despite the fragile nature of this material, glass files are surprisingly durable and, at the same time, gentle on your fingernails. They can be used multiple times without losing their abrasive properties. 

Czech or Bohemian glass nail files are a win-win solution for sensitive, brittle, and thin nails. This type of nail file seals the peeling edges and prevents nails from further splitting and chipping. What’s more, glass nail files are lightweight and can be easily sterilized with almost any disinfectants, including rubbing alcohol

Metal Nail Files 

A metal fingernail file can be a great choice for the lucky owners of strong and healthy natural nails. If maintained properly, such nail files will help you get the best possible shape faster and serve you for years to come. 

To be 100% satisfied with your purchase, opt for a professional stainless steel nail file made of durable, high-quality metal, which can help produce an adequate amount of friction and give you the best possible shape in just several strokes. 

To disinfect your metal nail file, use a normal nail brush, soapy water, or rubbing alcohol. 

Emery Boards 

It’s a rare person who has never used an emery board in their mani-pedi. Lightweight and easy to grip, emery boards are one of the best types of nail files for natural nails prone to splitting and cracking. Emery boards also afford more flexibility due to their ergonomic shape and bendability. They can help you gently grind down your nails and achieve the ideal shape without risking peeling or breaking them. 

Since emery boards are normally made of cardboard or sandpaper, you want to use dedicated UV disinfection lamps to sanitize them. 

What Grit Nail File to Choose for Natural Nails

Just like sandpaper, nail files are awarded a grit number, which informs you of the number and size of abrasive particles on the filing surface. The higher the number, the finer the file. So, deciding on your nail file grit number comes down to your individual nail care needs. 

Coarse nail files range from 80 to 150 grit. They are rightly considered too hard for natural nails and are normally used by nail technicians for filing down artificial nails and shaping free edges. So, unless you have too hard nails, refrain from using the files from this category.

Medium grit nail files, 180-220 grit, are a great choice for contouring and reducing the length of your strong and healthy natural nails. The nail files with this grit value can also be applied when shaping the surface of acrylic nails.  

What does a fine nail file do, then? Fine nail files, which are somewhere between 240-600 grit, will come in handy when you need to finish your natural nails or even lightly buff on top of them to remove minor discolorations or unevenness. They are also the best bet for short nails that don’t require much attention in terms of shaping and filing. 

There are also extra fine nail files and buffers (1000+ grit) that help create extra shine on your natural nails and smooth out ridges. 

Knowing your purpose for filing can help you pick the right type of nail file and keep your nails healthy. A wisely chosen nail file will also help your mani-pedi go the extra mile and save money on salon visits. So, next time when you’re on the market for a new nail file, make sure to refer to today’s brief guide!

Kyrie Mattos


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