Acrylic Nails

How to File By Hand

Because some clients are uncomfortable with the electric file, it's important that techs understand the incredible speed and control they can achieve when filing by hand. T

Amber Edwards is a nail tech, nail technology teacher, and certified national educator. She is licensed in Illinois to offer continuing education hours. Edwards also consults with spas and salons on products, protocol, team building, hygiene, customer service, and logistics.

In the years that I've been teaching nail technology, I've noted that my students prefer using an electric file to hand-filing. But increasingly, clients are expressing concerns about drills. I have always been able to file a client's nails beautifully in the same amount of time it takes most techs to use their electric file. I only use an electric file under the free edge to remove dirt and any excess product left rom the application.

Because some clients are uncomfortable with the electric file, it's important that techs understand the incredible speed and control they can achieve when filing by hand. The technique I review here can be used with any type of product -- acrylic, gels, or fiberglass -- and ensures a strong , beautiful nail.

<p>Step 2</p>

During my filing clas, I ask my students to begin by choosing their files. The first thing they should consider is which file shape is the most comfortable in their hands. The second determining factor is the grit. I have found most nail techs prefer a 100/180 grit ratio. For acrrylic nails, a lower numbered grit file is best.

Once the nail techs have chosen their files, they must file the sharp edges off the nail file, as these can actually injure the client. Now begins the actual process of filfing.

Step 1. Filing the free edge: File the free edge of each nail to your client’s preferred length. At the very end of the filing process, you will return to the free edge and ensure that all 10 nails are even.

<p>Step 3</p>

Step 2. Shaping the sidewalls: Following the cuticle line and keeping the file straight, with no angles at all, file the nail in a straight up-and-down motion.

Step 3. Filing the cuticle area: At this stage, file on a 45-degree angle on the sidewall. If you are holding a client’s hand facing you, start at the client’s right sidewall and file it to the desired shape. Then file the cuticle area and do the same on the left sidewall. Blend in the top of the free edge and finish by blending your stress area. [Note: Don’t file the stress area prior to this point. If you do, the nail is weakened and will break more easily.]

Step 4. Blending the stress area: Using a straight up-and-down motion, blend the stress area to match the buffed areas in thickness.

<p>Step 3</p>

Step 5. Inspect the back of the nail: As you complete the blending, flip the hand backward so that you are viewing the hand as the client herself would see it. Make sure the nail is uniform throughout and that it has a nice C-curve.

Step 6. Bring out the buffing block: At this point, the satiny smoothness is achieved by using the buffing block over the entire nail. (Depending on the product you are using, this stage might not be necessary. Products that require a sealant do not require buffing.)

<p>Step 7</p>

Step 7. Recheck the free edge. Look at the nail from every angle — your angle and the client’s angle. Make sure all free edges are even.

At this point, your filing should be complete. I’d like to leave you with some important final points to consider:

* Dark nail files might leave black spots or residue in the product, so a gray or white file is best to alleviate that concern.

* The more pressure you use, the faster you’ll be able to file.

*Larger files will cover more surface faster.

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