Last week, I wrote about the myth that gel damages your nails (it doesn’t). In most cases that people experience nail deterioration after gel polish or enhancements, it’s due to incorrect use of an electronic file (or, e-file for short).
–but it’s a myth, too. E-files do not damage your nails. The key words in the previous paragraph are incorrect use.
E-Files AREN’T Bad, Either!
You’ll see people online harping about, “When I go to the salon, I tell them they aren’t using, ‘that drill,’ on me!”
Proper usage of an e-file is safe! It is safe and effective, that is, provided the right combination of bits and speed are used for the task at hand: prepping the nail plate calls for a very different combination of factors than prepping an enhancement for a fill. Unfortunately, though, in many salons, a one-size-fits-all approach is used – and that is not appropriate.
It is also a great way to accelerate the service, Hand filing takes a long time. It is gentler, but definitely less efficient.
Why Service Speed Matters
A faster service benefits you, the client, because it gets you out of the salon faster. Even if you like the experience of being in the salon, your time is valuable!
Improved fulfillment times benefit the service provider because it enables them to see more clients over the course of a day vs manual filing. This in turn benefits you by making more capacity available. More capacity = more appointments. This enables the provider to sustain their business.
How do I Know E-Files do not Damage your Nails?
I’m not a nail professional, after all. But I did buy an e-file 2019 (it’s a good machine!)since I prefer to do my own nails. I also should have looked up (and paid for) some training content, but I was naïve and struck out on my own.
Understand: E-files are power tools. There’s a learning curve to go with them, especially if you’re doing DIY. If you go in blind, you are going to mess up. I have multiple times (not severely!). In fact, have some annoying sensitivity in my right thumb and left pinky for overdoing it.
It is 1000% operator error, and it can be overcome with proper education. Learn from my mistakes.
If you’re into DIY nails, there are plenty of resources out there to learn e-file best practices. The Nail Hub has a series on YouTube that seems promising (and Liz does great content!):
Education is Key
Education is critical not JUST for us DIYers. Although most areas of the US require a certain degree of training to be a licensed nail professional, that training does not include dozens of hours on e-file best practices.
At best, it covers a little – but it is then incumbent on the nail technician to independently seek continued education on the matter. Not all of them do; some just grab an e-file and expect to know how to best use it and its attachments.
Even trained nail technicians can make mistakes, like using it in a distracted fashion. We’ve all been in nail salons where the nail tech looks away from the client’s hand while using an e-file to address someone else – hard no!
Young Nails has a great piece on the topic as well.
The Bottom Line
E-files have a bad rep because of these common usage issues. E-files do not damage your nails, inadequately trained people do.
Your best bet is vetting your nail service provider by interviewing them before services to learn what additional training they’ve received with the tools and products they are using in their services.