Monday, September 7, 2015

Nail Files and Grits

Like sandpaper, nail files and electric file sanding bands are graded according to how much grit they contain per square inch. A 100 grit file will have a 100 pieces of sand (or grit) per square inch. A 400 grit file has far more (and smaller) particles than an 80 grit file. Choosing the wrong file could cause significant damage to the nail. Below are some of the most common grits for nail files.
80 grit: Extra Coarse- The coarsest file, used for removing acrylic and gel overlays or shortening artificial nails.. Do not use on natural nails
100 grit: This is still a coarse file but a 100 grit can safely be used Used for sidewall filing and shaping the artificial nail or for shaping hard toenails.
150 grit: Used for over-the-top filing and cuticle/contour filing as well as blending the tips.
180 grit: A medium file, used in the preparation of the nail plate before enhancement application and for shaping and smooth finishing artificial nails. Can be used on natural nails if they are not brittle.
240 grit: A softer, finer grit that can be used to shape soft or brittle natural nails. Used to remove file demarcations in the artificial nail prior to finish buffing and also used in the preparation of the nail plate before enhancement application.
When the grits are used properly, it is very easy to achieve a super high shine. The key is to use the grits in succession. Each file or buffer will put scratches in the surface of the nail and to remove the scratches you need to use the next highest grit. Think of the grits as steps - you can't skip one step when filing because you won't be able to gt all of the scratches out from the previous grit unless you use the next step. If you start filing the nail with a 180-grit file, your next file must be 220, then a 280 and so on into the buffers. Buffers are even finer grits, like 400-600 and high shine buffers can have grits in the thousands. Be sure you go over the entire surface of the nail every time you change grits to smooth the scratches from the previous grit. One more tip - dust the nail in between each file grit because there are still grit particles from the previous file which will just keep scratching the surface.

One more factor in choosing a nail file is what the file is made of.
Silicon Carbide: One of the hardest known substances; cuts deeper, faster; tends to shed black dust on the nails during use.
Aluminum Oxide: individual crystals have less dramatic peaks and valleys than silicon carbide; with the same grit and pressure, it is less likely to “shred” product or natural nails.
Garnet: most commonly used on wood files; a long-lasting, inexpensive abrasive; the jaggedness of the individual crystals fall between silicone carbide and aluminum oxide.
Silicon Carbide With Zinc Sterate Coating (“zebra”): The zinc sterate coating is a lubricant that prevents the grit from “loading up” with filing dust; grit feels smoother than the same grit of other abrasives.
Compressed Aluminum Oxide. “filing stone”; comes in 180 and 220 grits only, best used for shaping and smoothing natural nails; doesn’t absorb water or chemicals; should never wear out.
Glass or Crystal files: Fantastic for shaping the free edge of a natural nail as they are the perfect grit and help seal the natural nail layers.

More info on nail files can be found in this linked article