Can You File Nails With Nail Polish On?

Can you file your nails with the nail polish still on? Manicures are costly, but your nails often grow between visits. If your nails grow fast, you may want to file in between salon visits. We've looked around to see what nail technicians recommend and brought the information together for you in this post.

You can file your nails with polish on them. It may put them at risk for slight chipping when painted, but if your nail polish bond is solid, they shouldn't chip at all.

Let's look at how this relates to different types of nails with polish in this post. We'll also check out some awesome nail files that work.

A woman filing her nails with a pink colored nail filer, Can You File Nails With Nail Polish On?

Filing Painted Nails - Is It Okay?

Imagine you have a painted wood door. You need to sand a bit of wood off of the edge to get it to shut. If your paint solidly sticks to your door, it won't chip as you sand. 

The same is true of your natural nails. If you use good nail polish and have strong adhesion, when you file your nail, it's not going to chip. If your manicure application was inadequate or it's getting old, you might lose a bit of nail polish at the top when you file. 

OPI is a well-known and much-loved salon brand nail polish. This set of twelve different colors is packaged in collaboration with Hello Kitty. These are mini bottles of polish, but they allow you to try a bunch of different products to see which is your favorite.

Click here for this on Amazon.

Filing Nail Decals

If you love cute nail decals and stickers applied to the surface of your polished nails, that's awesome. But when you file and remove the top edge of your nail, that part of the decal will go with it. It makes sense, and you might need to file your nails anyway. Just know your image will shrink as you file your nail.

Want to give nail stickers a try? This set contains more than 1000 pieces of self-adhesive DIY nail stickers.

Click here for these on Amazon.

Can You File Your Nails With Gel Polish On Them?

You can; however, we don't recommend it.  Most nail stylists who do gel manicures will "cap" the tips of your nails to cover up the natural shrinkage that occurs with gel nails. That cap acts as a protectant for the thicker-than-usual manicure. If you file it, it may increase your chances of chipping. And it may also void the work of your nail technician, and any warranty for free fixes would be null and void.

Can You File Painted Acrylic Nails?

You can, but anytime you file a painted nail, there is the risk of chipping the paint on the ends. The main thing to remember when filing acrylic nails, polished or not, is to use the correct grit. You need a coarse nail file, like 100 and then 180 grit. Lighter weight emery boards or glass nail files won't work for your acrylic nails.

These double-sided files are 100 grit on one side, and 180 grit on the other.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

Is It Bad To File Your Nails Every Day?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the best thing you can do for your nails is to clip them regularly and gently round the edges. As for whether to file them daily, or cut them as needed, that's a personal preference, and neither choice should harm the nail itself. 

Some research suggests filing or cutting into sharp-angled shapes can create some stress on the nail edges and damage them over time. Thus it is essential if you're filing daily to either allow the sides to grow straight, topped by a simple curve or only give the slightest curve to the edges.

What's the Best Nail File For Nails With Nail Polish On?

Much of this depends on if you have your natural nails, gels, or acrylics.

Best Nail Files For Natural Nails

For natural nails with polish, the best type of file is either a glass file or something gentle like a traditional emery board. They are kinder on the edges. With emery boards, you might even take two of them and rub together to cut down on the hard-line of grit at the edges.

This professional crystal nail file is the perfect solution for filing your natural nails. In its handy carrying case, this is an excellent investment for your nail care. The glass surface means it won't grow bacteria or fungus, which is better for your nails. It's also washable.

Click here for this file on Amazon.

After you've used your crystal nail file, then use a buffer like this one. The glass surface will bring your nails up to a gorgeous shine. It takes about ten seconds per nail and will last for three weeks.

Click here for this great tool on Amazon.

If you prefer a metal nail file, this German-made file from 3 Swords exhibits the highest levels of quality and design. It's durable and double-sided, with one side coarse and the other side fine. Has a slip-on cover for carrying in a purse or a pocket without exposing the file.

Click here for this on Amazon.

Nail Files For Gel Or Acrylic Nails

As we mentioned above, both gel nails and acrylic nails are much harder than your natural nails, which is why you need course nail files. Let's look at a few available for commercial nails.

This stainless steel nail file is two-sided and has grit along the edges. Its thick metal means it will not bend when applying it to your harder nails. It arrives in a leather sheath to keep it protected when not in use.

Click here for this on Amazon.

If you want your filing skills to go next-level, then this drill kit is what you need. The drill, along with various bits and sanding bands, will file, carve, grind, and polish your gel or acrylic nails. It's low noise and low heat and will surely make you the star of the nail game.

Click here for this on Amazon.

Now have fun with your nails and your polish. You can be secure knowing you can file them safely in between manicures if you need to.

If you enjoyed this post at, please check out a few others here:

28 AWESOME Pink Nails Ideas You Should Check Out

23 Types Of Nail Polish And Finishes

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