Using the Right Nail File Is Vital for a Perfect Set—These 11 Meet Our Standards


(Image credit: @celmatique)

Have you ever considered how vital the right nail file is to achieving the perfect set? Until recently, I hadn’t. However, I love watching my nail technician gently and thoughtfully file my nails into the perfect almond shape before applying a fresh coat of nail polish. But getting your desired nail shape just right—at home or the salon—starts with one essential tool: the nail file. So what should you look for when adding a file (or two) to your nailcare kit? First, the way a nail file is numbered matters.


(Image credit: @thehangedit)

"The key point to remember when looking at numbers on nail files is that the lower the number, the coarser the nail file will be," says LeChat educator and brand ambassador Syreeta Aaron. "The higher the number, the finer the grit." If you opt for a nail file with a lower number, you can expect it to have a more abrasive finish best used for nail enhancements like acrylic or hard gel. Alternatively, a nail file with a higher number and finer grit is better for natural nails. 

Aaron says glass nail files are the best option for those wanting a durable file that's easy on the nail and easy to clean. "When using nail files on natural nails, I always advise people to use a glass nail file," she explains. "The grit on a typical nail file is much different than the glass nail file. Glass nail files are made to protect the integrity of the nail, unlike regular nail files that may be used for nail enhancements like acrylic and hard gel." With this in mind, scroll to shop 11 of the best nail files.


(Image credit: @celmatique)

Shop the Best Nail Files


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Up next, Eep—If You're Filing Incorrectly, Your Nails Aren't as Great as They Could Be

Freelance Contributor