Can You Buff Nails With a Nail File?

Nail buffing has been one nail technique that has not been mastered by a lot of people. In fact, a lot of people take buffing as nail filing. Even though the procedure seems similar, nail buffing and nail filing are two different things. Can You Buff Nails With a Nail File?

This births the question, can you buff your nails with a nail file?

The answer is No, You cannot buff your nails with a nail filer. The nail filer is primarily made to do an entirely different task to your nails.

What is Nail Buffing?

Nail buffing is the act of polishing or rubbing your nails with a nail buffer in order to polish and shine them. Nail buffing is one nail art technique that is overrated because a lot of people do not know that there are important to nail buffing. When done right, nail buffing has healthy benefits for your nails.

Why You Should Buff Your Nails

These are some of the benefits of buffing your nails;

1. Improve the Circulation of Blood Supply to Your Nail Beds

Buffing your nails will increase the circulation of blood supply to your nail bed. This act will not only make your nails stronger but will make them healthier and also stimulate the growth of your nails.

2. Help Nail Treatments to Take Effect

Nail buffing will help your nail treatments effectively penetrate your nails and work better. This will also give you stronger and healthier nails you may not have to seriously worry about.

3. It Makes Your Nail Polish Look Better

Polishing your nails makes your nail polish look better and also lasts longer than you are used to. This is because buffing has made it possible for the polish to stay firm on the nails.

4. Your Nails is Less Prone to Breaking

Due to the increased supply of blood and circulation of it to your nail beds, your nails grow longer, and stronger, and are less prone to breaking off easily. This means they can stay for a longer time before they become weak.

5. Removes Nail Stains and Discoloration

Nail buffing during polishing removes stains that have stained and discolored the nails. This will make your nails look healthy and shiny.

Can You Use a Nail File as a Buffer?

No, you can’t use a nail file as a buffer. A nail file is actually really similar to a buffer, with the main difference being that they are different tools meant for different purposes. A buffer is usually used by professionals to polish and buff car paint in order to bring out its luster, which means that this tool cannot be used by anyone who wants to shine up their nails. It is best to use a buffer instead.

Why You Can’t Buff Nails With Nail File

1. Buffing is Meant to Polish Your Nails

Nail buffing is a technique meant to polish your nails, it makes your nails look healthier and gives them a shine that nail files cannot give them.

2. Nail Files are Meant to Shape the Nails

Nail files were made for the purpose of filing your nails and giving them shape, the file as the name implies files the nails into shape, unlike the buffer that is meant to polish. Because of the rough surface that the nail filer has, you need to buff your nails after filing in order to polish them to look good.

3. Nail Filers are Used for Nail Edges the Most

Most of the functions of the nail filers end at the nail tips. They give shape to the nails and file them, unlike the buffer which is meant for nail beds especially.

These are some of the reasons why nail filers cannot be used to buff nails. But in case you are still wondering what the fuss is about? Let’s learn a few things about Nail buffing and buffers.

Things to Note When Buffing Your Nails

  • Do not buff your nails too hard or they will get damaged.
  • If your nails are weak, thin, or brittle do not buff them.
  • Do not buff wet nails or they will break. Buff your nails only when they are dry.
  • Never buff with nail filers, they might damage your nails
  • Once you feel a burning sensation on your nails, stop buffing immediately.
  • Always remember to push back your cuticles before buffing.
  • Buff only once a month to avoid weak nails.

How To Buff Your Nails

This is a step-by-step guide on how to buff your nails. 

1. File Your Nails

Once you are ready to buff your nails, get your tools and place them side by side. This way, you do not have to look for them one after the other. Before filing remove any nail polish you might have on your nails. Clean thoroughly until the polish is removed completely.  You can also trim your nails (optional) so that it will be easier to file your nails.

READ ALSO: 5 Best Nail File Grit for Natural Nails

Pick your nail file and gently slide it from one corner of your nail to the other. Do this repeatedly until you get your desired shape. In case you still have rough nails at the tip even after filing, place your nail file under your nail tip and flock until it is smooth.

You can also file in different directions until you have achieved your desired nail shape(you can read about the best nail shapes for you in our previous post). 

2. Buff Your Nails

Start buffing your nails by using the larger, rougher grit side of your buffer to buff your nails. Hold your nail buffer parallel to your nails and use the unidirectional strokes to buff your nails in an X shape. Do not go back and forth in any direction as this can actually damage your nails. Make sure that while buffing you so it is gently so sad to avoid damaging your nails. So not bluff as this can also buff your nails.

3. Polish With the Finer Grit Side of Your Buffer

Again, hold the buffer parallel to your nail and place the finer grit side on your nails. Use the unidirectional strokes to polish your nails in an X shape. This helps to polish and brighten your nails after you have buffed them. Also, try not to polish, you can weaken the nails.

4. Smoothen With the Smooth Side of the Buffer

Place the smooth side of the nail buffer on your nail and lightly move the nail buffer in circular motions. Do this repeatedly until your names look glassy enough. The importance of smoothening is that it helps to give a shine to your nails even without using nail polish.

5. Apply Your Cuticle Oil

After buffing your nails, apply your cuticle oil on your cuticles and rub them in to add shine and moisturize your nails. You can also use your finger to massage the oil into your cuticles.

Does Buffing Your Nails Make Them Stronger?

No, buffing doesn’t make your nails stronger. If you’re noticing that your nails are prone to breaking or that they chip easily, the most important thing to do is to prevent them from getting damaged. Buffing does not strengthen the nail; it smooths out ridges and makes them look shiny.

The best thing you can do for your nails is to make sure they’re properly hydrated and being treated with a good quality cuticle oil and/or moisturizer on a regular basis. Buffing alone will not strengthen your nails; it’s just another step in taking care of them so that they’ll be strong enough to last through any nail-biting or rigorous activity.


Now we know and understand that nail files can never be used as nail buffers because they are too rough and abrasive. You can also use alternatives like sandpaper and Cotton cloth, plain white paper, denim…etc as alternatives when you need to buff your fingernails.

Buffing should also be done in moderation to prevent weak nails or damaged nails. So, the next time someone asks you if they can use their nail filer to buff their nails, we hope you will also do them the favor and tell them No.

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