Top nail competitor Lynn Lammers offers an excellent description of filing grits, and how best to use them in this excerpt from her online NAILS blog, Competition Insider.

“I’ve been to hundreds of competitions and seen thousands of sets of competition nails, and one of the simplest mistakes I see competitors make (even seasoned ones) is to not use the file grits properly.

You see, acrylic is a form of plastic and we all know that plastics can be made in any shape or form with any texture or finish. That is why we (the nail industry) have an almost unlimited amount of abrasives (files and buffers) in probably 20 different grits and at least five different mediums: metal, glass, paper, cloth, and mylar, which is another plastic.

The way it goes is the higher the number, the finer the grit. 100 grit = coarse; 3,000 grit = high shine.

All artificial nail enhancements are one form or another of plastic, and all can be brought to a super shiny surface through different file grits with the exception of gels, which are shiny in their own right. But that’s a different story altogether.

When the grits are used properly, it is very easy to achieve a super high shine without wrecking your shoulder or elbow. 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.

So if you start filing the nail with a 180-grit file, your next file must be a higher grit, say a 220. Then a 280 and so on into the buffers. Buffers are finer grits, but still in the abrasives family, like 400-600. Then it moves into the high shiners like 1,000- to 3,000-grit. Be sure you go over the entire surface of the nail every time you change grits.

When you learn the succession of the file grits and learn to use them all, your filing and finishing will be easy-peasy and your finished nail will be so shiny it will seem as though you are looking in a mirror.”

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