Nail files are made from different types of material and come in different grit

levels. The grit level states the coarseness or fineness of the file. Never use a

coarse file on thin, weak nails. The rule is: start with a finer grit if uncertain

about the condition of the nail. Note that the lower the number the coarser the grit.

80 grit: This is very coarse and should never be used on natural nails.

Some might use this on artificial nails but even then, it’s still a little

too rough.

100 grit: This is still a coarse file, but 100 grit can safely be used on artificial

nails only.

180 grit: This is the lowest grit that should be used on natural nails but if

your nails are damaged or prone to damage, you might want to

use a finer grit.

240 grit: This is a softer grit and a file with this grit is often used for buffing

the nails to a smooth finish or buffing away stains.

500 grit: A file with this grit is an incredibly soft one that would usually only be

used to polish the nail.

So now that you understand grit levels, let us discuss the different types of files

that are available.


Cuticle knife

Has a straight cutting edge; is sharp and must be used with care. It is used to

remove cuticles or built- up dead skin on the nail plate.

Cuticle nipper

Used to trim or cut excess cuticles at the base of the nail, they are also used to

remove hang nails.

Cuticle pusher

Used to loosen and push back cuticles around the nail

Toenail clipper

A large clipper used to reduce the length of toe nails and reduce filing time.

Nail clippers

Used to shorten nails, clipping nails will reduce the filing time. A large clipper is

used for clipping toenails.

Orange wood stick

This is a disposable stick used to loosen the cuticle around the base of the nail or to clean under the free edge. You can use a cuticle pusher as an alternative.

Nail brush

Used to clean under and around the nails, with the aid of warm water and


Nail buffer

There are 3 types of buffers:

a) Chamois buffer – is covered with chamois or leather: used with a buffing paste or powder to polish the nails to a high sheen.

b) Block buffer – is a four-sided block which has all rough sides. It is used directly on the nail plate to smooth corrugated lines or to reduce thickness of the nail plate.

c) 3-4-sided buffer – it is in block form like the block buffer. The coarse sides of the buffer are used to eliminate ridges and smooth the nail surface ready for the application of the nail polish. The finer sides are used to polish the nails and create a natural-looking shine.


Used to pick up silk when repairing the nail.

Finger bowl

A bowl used with warm soapy water and antiseptic to soak nails during a manicure treatment.

Credo /corn blade

A blade to remove callus or hard skin under the feet. The use of this tool is illegal in some countries. Avoid using it. It is better to use a foot file to reduce

tough thickened skin.

Foot file

This is used to remove build-up of dead cells on the soles of feet. It could be used after sanitising the feet and before soaking and then again after the foot rasp to smooth roughness.

Foot rasp

Used to remove any built-up of hard skin. It comes in many different grits and shapes.


Bath filled with warm water, antiseptic and a soaking solution to soak the feet

during a pedicure treatment. Sometimes essential oils are added, for example tea-tree, peppermint, eucalyptus and menthol which have a cooling and invigorating effect.

Toe separators

These are used to separate toes while painting.

Manicure/pedicure mittens

They are usually used following the application of hand/ massage cream. The hands are dipped in paraffin wax and wrapped with a cling film or plastic placed inside a plastic pocket and place then into mittens for about. Electrical mittens or heated gloves are also used for the same purpose during

paraffin wax treatment.

Nail dryer

An electric apparatus used to dry nail polish faster.

Pedicure slippers

These are worn by a client afterpainting nails, to avoid messing up the

nail colour that has been just applied with their closed shoes.

Paper towels

Used to line the area on which you set up products.

Cotton towels

Used to rest client’s hands during manicure and for drying hands.

Sanitiser for tools

A container with a disinfecting solution used to place tools during the manicure.


Good lighting is essential to enable manicurist/ pedicurists to identify minute details that will indicate the condition of the nail and cuticle and to carry out precise work on cuticles and nails.