Nail File 101

Going to the pharmacy, supermarket or even the nail salon you will notice different types of nail files. Buffing blocks, emery boards, crystal/glass nail files and metal files. So how do you know which one to chose or which one is best? I think it’s more a choice of personal preference. Today I am giving you the 101  on different files.

First off we have the Buffing Block:
The buffing block is an all-in-one nail filing tool. Most of them have different colours on each side and are numbered for you to know which file to use where. They usually come with instructions on how to use them.
Pro – You have an entire filing and buffing system in one.
Con – It is very bulky, so it’s not so convenient to carry around with you.

Buffing Block
(Image from

Second on the list is the good old Emery Board:
This is the most commonly known nail file, they are available everywhere and they are not very expensive. Most of them have 2 sides, each with a different grit and they are usually made of cardboard., sometimes with a foam layer in between.
Pro – It is very affordable.
Con – Most of them don’t last really long.

Emery Board
(Image from

Third up is the Crystal/Glass File:
This is my favourite type of nail file. They are made of glass and usually has a very fine grit. When using a crystal/glass file its easiest to use a nail cutter to shorten your nail and then shape it with the file. This is also your most pricey of all of the files available.
Pro – Long lasting.
Con – It breaks really easily when dropped, so be very careful!

Because the Crystal file is the only file that is really long lasting and expensive it’s the only file that has a specific way to care for it. To clean it you rinse it under running water and when it is really clogged up you can lightly brush it with an old toothbrush. Keep it safe in the pouch or holder it came with to protect it from breaking.

Crystal File – I own this exact same one 🙂
(Picture from
Lastly we have the Metal File:

This file is made of ground metal and it is not recommended to use on natural nails and is best for artificial nails. They are usually included in all manicure sets. These are also not very expensive and can last long.
Pro – Long lasting.
Con – Damages your natural nail, so please don’t use this on your natural nails!

Metal File

What is your favourite nail file ? Please comment below and let me know!


I’m a South African Beauty, Lifestyle & Travel blogger and I’m currently finding myself in the Urban Jungle of Johannesburg. Very proud dog mom. #30plusblogs

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