The most basic tool for caring for your nails is the nail file. It is used by most all of us on a daily basis to keep our nails neat and under control. There are three basic filing tools available for you to use — the emery board/buffer block, metal nail file and glass nail files. But which one is the best for your nails? Let’s examine each one to learn which one is the best for your overall nail health.
Emery Boards and Blocks
This is the most common type of filing tool sold and used today. It is easy to find, easy to use and generally pretty cheap to purchase. This makes it seen that the emery board is a great option, but let’s look at what an emery board actually does to your nails as you use it.
- Emery boards are usually made of sand glued to a sheet which is then glued to a cardboard file or foam core block. This is basically just sandpaper for your nails. There are different grades of emery boards that go from grinding the nail to buffing it to a smooth surface, just like you would smooth out wood.
- The surface of an emery board will flake away and the board will bend and break. There is also no way to clean or sanitize an emery board. This means you must replace them often.
- When it comes to using them on your nails, they tear the end of the nail and leave a rough edge. The tip of the nail is left “open”. Think about how the pores of your skin are opened and then closed during a facial. It is the same concept with your nails except that using an emery board never completes the closing part of the process. This leaves your nail edge open which is a very dangerous thing for the health of you nails.
- “Open” nail edges mean that dirt and water can get inside the nail. This causes chipping, cracking, peeling and weakness of the nails. The use of emery boards leads to weaker nails.
- Because the nail is left open, fungus and bacteria can grow rampantly which can lead to infection and serious nail damage.
- You can only file in one direction with an emery board to minimize damage to the nail and have less to smooth out later.
While the emery board may cost less, they are not really the best option for the health of your nails. Unfortunately, they cause more harm than good to your nails.
Metal Nail Files
The second most common filing tool is the metal nail file. These are made of metal and much stronger than the emery board file. They do tend to cost more but will last longer because of the materials they are made of. Let’s take a look at how the metal nail file treats your nails.
- The metal nail file can take off a lot of length from your nail quicker than the emery board if you’re looking to shorten your nails.
- They are still very harsh on your nails. They will cause your nails to flake when you use them.
- Metal files also leave the nail edge open because it grinds the nail as it files them.
- They are a non-porous tool which does make it possible to clean and sanitize. This does allow you to use the tool for a longer period of time before replacing it.
- Just like the emery board, you can only file in one direction.
While the metal file is a sturdier product and capable of being cleaned and sanitized, it still damages the nail because of the rigidity of the tool.
Glass Nail Files
The most recent tool to join the nail care family is the glass nail file. This is a solid piece of glass with no abrasive surface added or glued onto it. There are two types of glass files. The first one has tiny glass filings that are adhered to the surface of the file. The second type is cut from a pre-treated sheet of thicker glass. This last type is the higher quality of the two with the nail files from the the Czech Republic leading the pack. They have all the finest qualities and benefits of glass nail files. Glass nail files are the most expensive of all the nail file types. Let’s explore a little about the glass nail file.
- Glass files glide over the nail tip and don’t tear the nail. They also allow you to file the nail in both directions instead of just one like the emery board and metal files.
- It leaves no jagged edges to be smoothed out later.
- Glass files close the nail tip and actually seal it which prevents water and debris from getting into the nail.
- Users of glass files have reported a noticeable difference in their nail health. The nails don’t chip, crack or peel as much as other types of nail files.
- Glass files are non-porous and very hygienic. They meet all sanitation requirements from the FDA. They can be cleaned with soap and water then sanitized with rubbing alcohol or under UV light.
- They last for years and if taken care of properly, could last a lifetime.
So, which nail file is the best for your overall nail health? I truly feel that the glass nail file is the best choice for healthy nails. The reasons why are simple. It prevents splits and breakage of the nail. The file itself doesn’t dull over time and it is easier to keep clean. It also can last a lifetime if properly cared for and efficiently glides over the nail tip without causing damage.
Recommendation: My personal favorite are the glass nail files from Bona Fide Beauty. They are handmade of Czech “Bohemian” glass and of a very high quality.