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Is Buffing Your Nails Bad?

Is Buffing Your Nails Bad?

When it comes to nail care, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. After all, your hands are often the first thing someone notices about you when you meet for the first time. Buffing your nails is an essential component of a manicure that many people do not know about. It is the act of using a buffer block to make your nails smooth and shiny. The process involves removing the top layer of your nail with the buffer in order to create a smooth surface. Though a beneficial process, there is a lot of debate on whether this practice is good or bad. 

Is Buffing Your Nails Bad?

The short answer is no, while the long answer is yes. Whether buffing your nails is wrong or not depends on how you do it. There’s a lot of information out there about whether buffing your nails is good or bad for them. And the truth is, if you do it incorrectly, it can be bad for your nails. But if you do it correctly, it’s actually a great way to remove the old polish from your nails and make them look new again. 

In this blog post, we discuss the nitty-gritty surrounding buffing your nails to help you determine the best way to do it to achieve the best results.  

Benefits of Buffing Your Nails

Regular buffing prevents peeling, cracking, and severe breakage common during winter months when hands are exposed to cold weather conditions on an almost daily basis. 

Buffing your nails also helps smooth out the ridges and bumps in your nail bed, making them look more attractive. Nails with ridges are not only unattractive but may cause discomfort when you wear shoes that fit tightly against them. 

Buffing your nails can also help prevent nail fungus or other infections from occurring in the future by removing dead skin cells that can accumulate around the nail bed. 

Buffing also helps remove hangnails and splinters from underneath the nail. If you have a hangnail or splinter under your nail, sanding down the top layer will help remove it. This process also helps prevent ingrown nails by smoothing out the edges of your nail bed so they don’t dig into the skin surrounding them as easily. 

Buffing your nails also helps improve blood circulation in the fingers and hands. This encourages the nails to grow stronger and healthy by providing the needed nourishment and environment.  

If you have thin nails, buffing can help thicken them up a bit by removing layers of dead skin cells from the surface of your nails. The added thickness will make them look more attractive and healthy-looking. 

Buffing your nails also helps make your manicure last longer than one day (or even two days). When you polish your nails after you’ve buffed them, the polish will go on much smoother than usual, which means less chipping and peeling off later on when you are out and about working or running errands around town. 

Buffing your nails also helps fight off discoloration by ridding off any dirt and other stains that may cause it. 

How to Buff Your Nails Correctly

While buffing your nails is an easy way to get rid of chips and ridges, it’s also easy to overdo it and make your nails weaker. To keep them from breaking or splitting, try these tips;

Use a very fine grit nail file.

Buffing with a coarse grit file will remove too much of the outer layer of your nail and make it thin, which can increase the risk of breakage and cracking. 

Don’t file too often.

Experts recommend filing no more than once or twice per week (or even less often for natural nails). If you have a small chip that needs fixing fast, however, consider using another type of product such as ridge filler instead of filing down your entire nail plate. 

File gently in one direction

One major mistake that most people make is filing their nails in all directions using strong strokes that end up thinning the nail and making it extra weak. The best way to avoid this is to first choose a high-quality buffer or file that’s designed specifically for use on nails instead of one that’s meant for woodworking or auto detailing. 

Next, file your nails gently in one direction to help slow down the speed and pressure that may end up damaging your nails. 

Use the Right Buffer for the Correct Purpose

Buffers are available in different designs and grades that serve different purposes. There is, for instance, the electronic buffer, the chamois buffer, and the nail file and block buffers. Each of these tools has its own strengths and shortcomings. 

Nile file and block buffer are the most commonly used among many beauty enthusiasts due to their ability to perform the job gently and perfectly. For best results when using this tool, ensure to start with the roughest surface and work your way towards the smoothest portion. 

Buff Your Nails Correctly

Buffing your nails can help to make them stronger and more resilient, but it can also be damaging if done incorrectly. In order to buff your nails correctly, you should first remove any polish or shine with a nail polish remover. 

Then start with a coarse buffer and buff the surface of each nail in small, first circles. Be careful not to push down too hard, as this can create a groove in your nail that can lead to breakage. Follow up with a medium grit buffing pad which gives the nail surface an overall smoother appearance. 

Lastly, use a fine-grit buffing pad to make the surface of the nail shine. Complete the process by applying cuticle oil and hand cream to moisturize your hands after the filing. 

If you wish to learn more, check out this video by Deborah Lippmann:


Buffing your nails is a critical part of your nail care routine that has more benefits than shortcomings. It generally contributes to better hand and fingernail health by allowing moisturizers and other treatments to penetrate deeper and stick around longer. Buffing also allows you to achieve greater shine without worrying about nail polishes that may weaken or chip your nails. Though a beneficial process, buffing also has some consequences that may turn out to be dreadful. 

Whether buffing your nails will be beneficial to you or not depends on how well you perform the process. For best results, it’s essential to buff gently in one direction using the right buffer. Also, ensure to take a rest between buffing to give your finger and toenails time to rejuvenate and heal.