I recently bought a range of Nail Files and have spent weeks testing, comparing results, and considering which was the best purchase for Shaping Nails.
Here’s the short version of this post: In my opinion, the best Nail File For Shaping out there right now is the Zeva Austrian Nail File. Another great option is the Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File. At the top of the range, if you have money to spend is the Diamancel Diamond Nail File. These are all Crystal Glass Nail Files which will provide you with the precision, control and delicacy that other Nail Files just cannot provide.
In this post, I hope to share all of the information I’ve researched over the last few weeks, and provide my expert advice along the way.
What To Look For In A Nail File
There are many different types of Nail files available to buy. They come in a range of materials, there are several different brands and there are different price points.
There are generally 7 different types of Nail Files to consider:
- Emery Board (Most Common)
- Wooden Nail Files
- Glass or Crystal Nail Files (Best For Shaping)
- Buffing Blocks
- Metal Nail Files
- Electric Nail Files
- Aluminium Oxide
When it comes to shaping, all of the above can work, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are always the easiest to use and are best for shaping.
For example, whilst an Emery Board can be great to quickly file down your nails to a shorter length, you just do not have the control like you have with some of the other types outlined above.
In my experience, there are two files types that are most effective, most practical and affordable: Glass/ Crystal and Aliminium Oxide Nail Files. These are the best for shaping and will let you curate a design that you can be proud of.
You can rest assured knowing that as a Certified Nail Technician and Manicurist, I know what to look for and what not to look for. As such, I will provide you with both the benefits and the negatives of each option below.
The list of Files reviewed below have all been used not only on myself, but on several of my clients. They are all from reputable and proven brands that boast very positive customer reviews. So you may find that #5 may very well be a better option for YOU than #1.
Best Nail File For Shaping
|Nail File Brand Name||Protective Case Included?||File Material||Price||Rating|
|Zeva Austrian Nail File (Editors Choice)||Yes||Austrian Crystal (Ceramic & Aluminum Oxide)||$15||5/5||Check Price on Amazon|
|Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File (Best Bargain)||Yes||Glass||$9||5/5||Check Price on Amazon|
|Diamancel Diamond Nail File (Premium Choice).||Yes||Glass||$25||4.9/5||Check Price on Amazon|
|Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File||Yes||Glass||$21||4.7/5||Check Price on Amazon|
|OPI Crystal Nail File||Yes||Glass||$10||4.6/5||Check Price on Amazon|
1. Zeva Austrian Crystal Nail File (Editors Choice)
In my experience, this is the best file out there. It is also, by far, one of the most popular Nail Files available right now.
The Zeva Austrian File is made from Ceramic and Aluminum Oxide (which is otherwise known as Austrian Crystal).
Where this file really sets itself apart from the competition, is that you can use it for two distinct purposes: Shaping your nails easily and effectively without risking your style, but the material that the file consists of (Ceramic and Aluminum Oxide) works to actually promote the health of your nails.
When you shape your Nails with the Zeva File, you will be creating a seal that strengthens them and reduces the likelihood of splitting or cracking.
This is exactly what you need to look for in a Nail File purchased specifically for Shaping. You do no want to risk your design by losing parts of your nail!
Moreover, the Zeva file was built to last – some users on Amazon report that it has lasted them over 5 years and they are still using the same one!
Its a very easy to work with Nail File, where you have complete control throughout the filing process. The rounded edges make it incredibly easy to sculpt and clean your cuticles in the process.
The more you use the Zeva file the more your Nails will Strengthen; so if your nails are naturally weak, Shaping them little and often is a really good tactic.
I love working with this file, and have noticed that due to the materials that make it, you can actually use more force without the risk of breakage and snapping.
Lastly, this file comes with a brilliant little lightweight travel case. Its ideal for throwing in your bag and taking with you whilst your on the go!
2. Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File
At a slightly cheaper price point comes the Malva Belle Crystal Glass Nail File.
A really great feature of this file is the design. It has two finely-ridged edges (on on either side).
This makes the file feel very smooth and makes it a lot easier to work with. I noticed that when using this file on a client it was quicker for me to get the design done.
In terms of its size its small and lightweight (5.5 inches long) and you also get a pretty Matte Pastel Pink protective travel case when you buy it on Amazon. This is therefore another great file if you are looking to take it around with you.
There are a lot of positive reviews on Amazon on how this file works equally as well on natural, acrylic and gel nails. Its one of the reasons that I came across this files during my research.
Users report less nail breaking when shaping their nails which is one of the biggest risks that you face.
Due to its slight nature, this file is great for gently shaping a range of nail designs like Stiletto and even Almond Nails. You can even use it to eliminate ridges, smooth and buffer.
3. Diamancel Diamond Nail File (Premium Choice).
The Diamancel Diamond Nail File is the gold standard of Nail Files. Its on the more expensive side, but if you can afford to invest then this is the one you should go for,
It has been designed with Nickel-coated flexible fiberglass and has then been electroplated with industrial grade diamond chips. This makes it the most sturdy and long-lasting file that I have personally come across.
Due to the material, its terrific for sculpting natural nails, and the whole process is effortless. This is a great file if you struggle to grow your nails and need more precision (without harming the skin around your nails).
I have found that the best way to clean this fine file is to use a soft nail brush, dampen it slightly in water, and go smoothly over the file to remove any residue. Once its dry its good to reuse or put away.
4. Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File
Leighton Denny is an industry celebrated Nail Technician who has released a number of effective products over the years. The Crystal Nail File is perhaps here best one yet, as many users report on Amazon.
This is another high-performing file that gives you greater control and precision – just the things you need when you are shaping. Its small in size, so you can grasp it easily and manipulate the file just to how you would like to shape. It also makes it very easy to quickly clean following a period of filing.
You will receive a small portable aluminium case with this file, which makes it suitable for travelling and transporting on the go.
5. OPI Crystal Nail File
OPI are an industry favorite and they have a brilliant range of Nail Lacquers that I would suggest checking out.
Their Nail File is similarly brilliant, according to the large number of positive reviews it regularly receives.
Its small in structure, being only 5.6″, which makes it an ideal file to shape your nails with.
The OPI Nail Files comes in a clear plastic tube with a cap, which you can use to store it. Its not as glamorous as the other cases you get from the files above but this may not be a priority to you.
If you are experimenting with a glass/crystal file, you might want to start with the Malva Belle which is cheaper. However it is worth investing in this file if you have used one before.
Why Invest in a Crystal Glass Nail File
Crystal Glass Nail Files are only slightly more expensive than their traditional counterparts – a Metal Nail File or an Emery Board, but they last much longer. They typically last around 5 years before needing replacing unlike an Emery Board which can become ineffective pretty quickly.
Using a Crystal Glass file also enables you to be more precise and you can get the job done a lot quicker. As you have 10 nails to do, you want to speed up the process as effectively as you can, and using a Glass File is the ideal way to do this.
Lastly, Glass nail files seal in the Keratin layers of your nails. This stops chipping and peeling, leaving you with stronger, smoother nails following shaping. It also ensures they are sturdy and will grow stronger and healthier.
When it comes to Shaping, the Zeva Austrian Ceramic Nail File ticks all the boxes; it is my suggestion and recommendation for you.
Its a very effective, affordable file thats a pleasure to file with. It also promotes the long term health of your nails – keeping them strong and sturdy.
When it comes to Shaping its all about precision. The more precise you can be the more even and symmetrical you can get your Designs. Let us know what you think and drop a comment below!
Almond Nail product reviews are unbiased, independent advice that you can trust. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.