Whether you use a hand file or an e-file, it’s important to have a process and follow the same steps from nail to nail. These tips will help you learn to file quickly and consistently, finishing fast with nails that look the same from one to the next.
1. BREAK IT UP
Visualize the nail divided into three equal parts horizontally and vertically, which would create nine sections.
2. BEGIN WITH THE SIDEWALLS AND EDGE
Using the grit your manufacturer recommends, begin the finish filing by perfecting the sidewalls and the shape of the extension edge. Next, on either the left or right “third” of the nail, begin to file using slightly rounded strokes moving from the side of the arch toward the sidewall. Repeat this on the opposite side. This step should seal your edges on the sides and simply perfect the curve and taper you sculpted in with the brush.
3. KEEP THE CURVE — NO FLAT STROKES!
If you take a quick look down the barrel of the nail, the two sides should now be a reflection of each other. Using a stroke from the front edge of the arch to the extension edge, file the front third of the nail tapering the edge while keeping the file at a 45-degree angle to maintain the integrity of the arch. If you use your file to make flat strokes at any point in the finish filing, it will take away from the curves in the nail that give it strength.
4. SEAL THE EDGES
For the fourth step, focus on the third of the nail nearest to the proximal fold. You can gently move the file side to side while keeping it at an angle to avoid flattening the arch. If you applied product with your brush handle angled up, this step should be fast and easy; you’re basically perfecting and cleaning up to seal the edges.
5. LEAVE THE ARCH FOR LAST
Finally you can gently smooth the arch — which is that center square — blending it into the rest of the nail that has already been filed. Leaving the arch for last allows you to be more confident in filing quickly without losing the strength of the arch to your file.
USING AN E-FILE
Using an e-file can speed up your services, but it takes extra care to avoid over-filing. Hold your e-file like a pen or pencil to use it the most proficiently.
1. USE THE CORRECT SPEED AND GRIT
Use a medium/coarse bit for finish file work. Do your finish filing at no higher than 7,000-10,000 RPMs with no lower than a medium grit. Work the e-file from one side of the nail to the other, ending near the proximal nail fold.
2. BE AWARE OF YOUR PRESSURE
Using too much pressure can cause you to reduce the strength of the enhancement. Be sure to maintain the curves sculpted into the nail for strength.
3. APPLY A SLIGHTLY THICKER LAYER OF PRODUCT TO GIVE YOURSELF A BUFFER
This will help protect the nail and avoid accidental damage, giving you more confidence to file quickly.
4. IF APPLYING TRADITIONAL POLISH OR GEL-POLISH, DON'T FINISH FILE BEYOND A 180-GRIT
Doing extra filing when you are just going to apply color extends the service time for no reason. If in doubt, touch base with your manufacturer.
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