How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer (9 Easy Steps + Vids)


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How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer: Do you want to smooth rough ridges and you don’t have a buffer? Worry not. You can still get it done with common household items like Flannel, Denim or by using plain paper. But that’s not all you need to know. Keep reading…

It’s a well-known fact that manicure is said to be incomplete without the aesthetic beauty of buffers. So what do you do when you don’t have one by your side? Read on.

What you’ll learn

In this article, I’m going to tell you

  • What a nail buffer is
  • How often you should buff your nails
  • Does buffing nails damage them
  • Benefits of buffing nails
  • How to buff nails correctly
  • How to get shiny nails without a buffer
  • And finally, things to note down before polishing.

But before I do so, let me ask you. What do buffering nails mean to you? Can you try? Alright, let me help you out.

What’s A Nail Buffer?

A buffer is something or someone that buffs while A nail buffer is a tool in the form an abrasive that is used to smooth rough edges on the surface of nails and gives it a consistent glossy look.

Nail buffers usually consist of two major parts. We have the coarse grit and the finer grit.

How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer

The coarse surface is first used to buff the nail while the finer surface smoothens and gives your nails that consistent shiny look.

During buffing, care should be taken not to buff too much. This now brings us to how often should one buff.

How Often Should You Buff Your Nails?

Ideally, there’s no specific time to buff one’s nails. It all depends on how often you wear polishes. But to be on a safer side, I recommend buffing your nails once in a month.

Does Buffing Nails Damage Them?

In as much as it’s good to buff nails to remove some imperfection or little ridges from your nails, polishing them now and then isn’t a good practice, to be honest with you.

How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer to a high shine

When you buff your nails too much, you’re reducing its thickness thereby rendering them thin, and when this happens, they’re likely to split.

Also, rubbing the tool – nail buffer vigorously on your nails may cause you to have a burning sensation down your nail beds. Just be careful while at it.

Benefits Of Buffing Nails

There are so many benefits attached to buffing. But for the sake of time, I’m going to list just a few of them for you.

Below are some of the benefits that accompany buffing nails.

  • Buffing your nails helps to stimulate nail growth. When you buff, the little pressure you insert to your beds helps releases blood which in turn promotes nail growth.
  • It increases the rate of blood circulates down to your beds.
  • Buffing creates a form of a sticky texture for polishes to cling to.
  • Buffing also helps take away stains from nail polish from the surface of your nails.
  • And lastly, It keeps nail surface shiny and attractive to the eyes.

How To Buff Nails With A Buffer

Before you commence the whole buffing process, it’s assumed that you’ve carried out the necessary manicure processes like trimming your nails, filing them and all that.

How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer

In case you haven’t, let me walk you through. First, you need to file your nails to your desired shape. I prefer the squoval shape because they look good on my hands.

How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer

Secondly, when trimming your nails, you shouldn’t bother much about if they’re of equal length. You can always use your filer to file out rough edges before settling for a nail shape.

PS: Before trimming your nails, ensure that you’ve taken off nail polishes from your nails that’s if you have one, if you don’t have any, then you can proceed to trim and to file.

Now that you’re done trimming, filing and your nail shape is set, the next step is how to buff your nails.

Steps On How To Buff Nails Correctly

They are three steps you can successfully adapt to give your nails a perfect buff.

How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer easily
  • You buff with the coarse grit
  • To polish, use the finer grit
  • While to shine, use the smooth end.

Buffing With The Coarse Surface

The first step to take is to use the rough edges of your nail buffer to file out patches, little ridges or imperfection off your nails.

This should be done gently and in a circular motion. Buffing too hard may cause your nails to be thinner than the way they were.

Polish With The Finer Grit

Now that you’ve taken off those patches or ridges from your nails, its now time to smooth those rough patches.

Using the same process, move the finer side of the buffer over your nails gently, do this for all your nails until they’re no patches left.

Shine With Smooth End

OK now that you’re done polish your nails, The next step to take is to give your nails that glossy look.

Using the same method, move the finer end of the buffer over your nails, do this for few seconds until the whole surface begins to look shiny. Repeat for all nails.

At the end of everything, you can decide to adorn your nails with your favourite polish or coat them with any essential oil. So that is how to use a 3-way nail buffer

Now over to the real deal that has kept you here. Come with me as I walk you through all you need to know.

How To Buff Your Nails Without A Buffer

If you’re reading this right now, I want to congratulate you for your patience. Patience they say is a virtue only a few has, and I’m glad you’re among those who have it.

So without wasting much of your time, lets quickly dive in on how you can buff your nails successfully without a buffer.

Steps On How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer

If you can remember, I earlier said at the beginning of this article that it’s possible to buff your nail to a high shine without making use of a buffer right?

Well, I wasn’t drinking or probably had any substances in my mouth while saying that, I actually meant every word I said to you and I’m here to prove it to you.

Aside from nail buffer, you can use a lot of stuff to smooth or shine your nails. But before I go ahead to give you the list of items you can use, please permit me to share this story with you.

A few years ago, I had to relocate to a new area for reasons best known to me.

So then came a time I seriously needed to buff my nails. I checked where I had kept my nail buffer, and I couldn’t find it.

I quickly searched the available stores close by but couldn’t find any. It’s not that they don’t sell nail buffers, I was new, so I wouldn’t know where to get them

Plus the few persons I met on my way were even more confused than I was.

After about an hour of searching for where to buy one, I decided to head back home feeling disappointed.

The Breakthrough

As I sat down to think, a thought struck my mind. It was a crazy one, though, but it was worth it.

I’ve always had this old piece of sandpapers lying on my shelf, which I got from my woodwork classes, so I decided to use it as a substitute.

After using it to buff my nails, I needed another finer textured material to give my nails that smooth, shiny look.

Guess what I found? A Velvet.

A velvet was all I could think of. I quickly slice out a little, wrapped it around my nail brush then I used it to smooth my nails after that, I coat them up with oil.

Aside from sandpaper and velvet, what else can you use to buff your nails without a buffer?

If you don’t have either of them, you can as well use any of the below items at home to buff your nails

  • A denim
  • Flannel
  •  Chamois cloth
  • Plain paper

All of the above can as well be used to give your nails that shiny look without having a buffer. Let’s quickly look at how you can buff your nails with paper.

How To Buff Nails Without A Buffer Using Plain Paper

Before I proceed, here’s a video I found pretty helpful. You really should take out time to go through it. But if you’re not into videos, kindly follow the below steps.


The first step is to ensure that there are no nail polishes on your nails; if they are, please do well to take them off.


When you’re done removing the nail polish, its now time to scrub your nails.


To scrub, kindly deep your nails in a solution containing mild soap then spread them over the table.


Walk your brush through each nail; I prefer using a toothbrush because it gives me a perfect job.


Do this gently then rinse your nails with clean water after wish, you towel dry.


Now its time to buff your nails. Take a piece of white paper; use it to smooth your nails. Do this in a circular motion until they’re no ridges or rough patches left.


Now that you’re done buffing, its time to give it a final touch. Rub some essential oil or lip balm unto your nails using a cotton bud.


Then use cotton wool to spread the oil over the nails, do this gently also, in a tiny circular motion as well.


After which, you can decide to coat your nails with a base coat or leave the oil on them.

Things You Should Know Before Buffing Your Nails

  • Before buffing, ensure that you push your cuticle backwards. You can either use cuticle pusher or orange stick for this purpose.
  • Buffing should be done once in a month as excessive buffing can harm your nails.
  • Be sure that your nails are cleaned and well dried before buffing.
  • Discontinue the buffing process if you’re feeling any burning sensation. This may occur when you go too hard.
  • Never you use a nail filer for buffing. Always go for buffers with 3 sides.
  • If your nails are extremely weak, thin or brittle, avoid buffing them.

What Can You Use To Buff Nails?

You can use a nail buffer, pieces of denim flannel, chamois cloth or a piece of plain paper.

When you’re making use of a nail buffer, the coarse side should be used first to buff, followed by the finer grit for polishing and then to smooth, use the smoother end.

Should I Buff My Nails Before Polish?

Yes. When you buff your nails before coating them with polish, they tend to last longer. The reason is that buffing creates a form of adhesive for the polish to cling to.

Is Buffing Bad For Nails?

No. buffing is good for your nails because it helps removes stains and enables polish last longer. It’s when you buff to hard that’s when it’s terrible for nails because it makes your nails thinner and very weak.

Why Do You Need To Buff Your Nails?

Buffing helps to remove ridges, little patches from nail polish and gives your nails a consistent shiny look.

What Are Nail Buffers Made Of?

A typical nail buffer blocks consist of three sides with each sides having a different texture – coarse end, finer grit, smooth end.

Can I Buff My Nails With A Piece Of Chamois?

Absolutely. You can buff your nails to a high shine without using the traditional nail buffer, but instead, you can make use of either a piece of paper, velvet or chamois.

How To Buff Nails To A High Shine

To buffer nails to a high shine, first, you need a 3-way buffer which has three sides. The coarse, finer grit and the smoother ends.

All three sides are what you’ll be needing for a buffed shiny nails. First is to start with the rough side, then move to the finer grit and lastly, the smoother ends.

How Long Do Buffed Nails Stay Shiny

There’s no defined answer to this question, but on overage, buffed nails can stay shiny for as long as 2 – 4 weeks.

The Take-Home On How To Buff Nails Without A Nail Buffer

As you may already know, buffing nails is a very vital process to shiny nails for without it, no manicure is complete.

When buffing, care should be taken not to go too deep. Buffing too deep may cause your nails to become thin and weak.

Aside from nail buffer, you can as well make use of chamois, denim, flannel or plain paper to buff your nails to a high shine without a buffer.

So over to you, which of the items as mentioned earlier have you tried? And what was your experience?

Do well to relate it with us via the comment box and don’t forget to SHARE this article with your friends.

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