The Electric File Extraordinaire

Become a nail-service superhero with super-human abilities when you master these 16 uses for your electric file. They’ll help you battle fatigue, decrease service time, and create crazy nail art.

Become a nail-service superhero with super-human abilities when you master these 16 uses for your electric file. They’ll help you battle fatigue, decrease service time, and create crazy nail art.


Natural Nail Manicures — Use Your Electric File to…

1] …smooth calluses around the nail bed. Sherri Dahin, says, “Almost everyone has a big writer’s bump that can be safely smoothed and reduced with this method.” She uses a fine sanding band.*



2] …smooth natural nail ridges. Vicki Peters uses a natural nail bit that has a small, tapered barrel to smooth the surface of the natural nail.



3] …bring nails to a high shine. After smoothing the nails, Rachel Mouritsen uses a cotton chamois with a buffing cream to give the nails shine.*


Nail Art Use Your Electric File to…



4] …create animal prints. Dahin says, “I have an engraving bit for making zebra stripes and other designs.”


5] …make things holey. Watson also uses a skinny drill bit to “drill designs into plastic tips and drill shaped holes into sculpted nails.”


Enhancements Use Your Electric File to…

6] …prepare nails for a full set. Watson uses her electric file to make sure that there is no cuticle left behind on the nail plate — which could cause lifting. “Just using a pusher to scrape cuticle off isn’t always enough,” she says. “Pieces of it could be left behind and go unnoticed to the naked eye. I use a high-quality diamond “prepper” bit; it is made for the natural nail and used on the slowest speed setting, it does an amazing job.”


7] …file after product application. Dahin uses a medium sanding band on medium speed to file down liquid-and-powder applications.*


8] …clean under the nail. Peters uses a UNC bit — a small, slim carbide bit with a pointed tip — to clean under the nails. “It is a perfect fit for the tight spots along the sidewalls,” says Peters.


9] …remove gel top coats. Anderson uses a cross-cut diamond bit to remove the gel shine top coat she applies over acrylic nails.


10] …shorten nails during a fill. “I use a medium to high speed and a coarse carbide bit,” says Dahin. “It is quick and easy — much more so than hand filing.”


11] …bring enhancements to a shiny finish. “If the client wants a high shine, I use a leather chamois with buffing cream at a speed of 6,000-8,000 RPM,” says Mouritsen.



12] …cut out the white. Loni Jensen Preato uses a cross-cut medium carbide bit to cut out the free edge in her pink-and-white backfills


Pedicures Use Your Electric File to…


13] …remove callus on the bottom of feet. Peters recommends using a pedicure bit in a sweeping one-way motion to remove callus and smooth hard-to-reach areas.


14] …reduce the thickness of toenails. Karen Mayer uses a bullet-shaped bit, not only to remove callus but also to thin down too-thick toenails.

15] …get rid of ridges. Like fingernails, toenails get bumpy. Kerry Webber says, “You can take any ridges out with a sanding band.”*

16] …get polish to last longer. Elaine Watson first uses a prepper bit before finishing with a “manicure” bit. “The polish on the nails dries absolutely smooth and beautiful and lasts a lot longer,” she says.


*Remember, if a bit or band is not able to be disinfected, it should be used just once before disposal.


Why E-File?

Fight Fatigue Lots of quick hand filing can be wearing on some. Properly using an electric file can help cut down on the daily filing fatigue.


Speed up Your Service Service time may be greatly cut down if you master using your electric file for all stages of your services.

Get Crafty  Some 3-D designs, etchings, and holes, can only be made with an electric file.


More Education

Every tech we talked to for this story stressed the importance of receiving training in using the file. Even the most veteran of techs talked about how they keep attending continuing education for their electric files — and keep learning new uses for their files and bits.

Contact your electric file manufacturer directly, the AEFM, or the new NAILS e-files microsite for more information on electric file classes you can take.

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