Workshop: Clean Sweep, Using an E-file for Natural Nail Prep


For your next natural nail manicure, put your nippers aside and try an e-file instead. According to Elaine Watson, veteran nail tech and creator of Nailebrity, using an e-file to clean the dead skin from the nail is easy, gentle and extremely effective. “During the service, the e-file is set at its lowest speed and I use a diamond bit with a light, smooth grit,” she says, noting that the bit should also have a touch of grit on its flat tip. “This allows you to properly exfoliate the cuticle while holding the e-file correctly. That is, parallel to the nail.” Below, a video tutorial of Watson sharing her technique for using an e-file to ready natural nails.

Keep scrolling for step-by-step instructions.

Step 1


Clean and prep the nail, removing any polish, gel or acrylic. Then, shape the nail with a file.

Step 2


Using a cuticle pusher, gently push back the skin surrounding the nail. Do not scrape or remove any dead skin; just loosen it.

Step 3


Flood the cuticle and sidewalls with cuticle oil.

Step 4


Place the diamond bit into the e-file. Set the e-file on the lowest speed and, placing the e-file parallel to the nail, start at one edge and slowly work the bit around the cuticle to the opposite edge, and back again. Using very light pressure, work on one finger at a time.

Step 5


It’s important to avoid touching the nail plate with the bit. Be sure to angle the e-file so it touches only the cuticle and the skin surrounding the nail. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the cuticle and surrounding skin appear smooth and finished.

Step 6


When finished with all 10 fingers, ask the client to wash her hands with soap, water and a scrub brush to remove dust and oil. Then, continue with the service as usual.

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