For me, my nails feel bare and naked without that coat of colourful nail polish. This is partly because I wear nail polish so often, and partly because my nails are in such bad condition when I do actually take it off. Therefore, I like to let my nails 'breathe' a bit in between polishes, BUT I still want them to look nice. The solution, a nail buffer.
I was first attracted into these by one of the wee stalls I am sure most people will have seen. The people who work here desperately try to catch your eye and, if you make contact for even a second, you will suddenly find yourself taking part in a free manicure. For just one nail. However, these stalls tend to sell their nail buffers at £20. WAIT! DO NOT BUY YET. I promise you can get one so much cheaper that still works, like this Body Shop one which I managed to get for about £4. Even though it's much cheaper it works just as well but, unlike the stalls, they won't replace the boards when they wear down and no longer work - of you ever find the stall again that is.
The buffer nail file comes with 4 sides - file (which you use first like a normal nail file), smooth (which you use over the front of the nail to make it, well, smooth), buff (which buffs the nail), and polish (which makes the nail super squeaky shiny (yes there is such a thing)).
The result? Super shiny and smooth nails which you can't help run your fingers over. I feel this really benefits my nails as they aren't covered in nail polish but still look really good! A definite worthwhile investment!
This is a must have essential in any girls make up bag, it works like a miracle. I first came across these in an expensive department store, where the assistant did one nail, then expected me to pay £20 for one of these!! I think not! Trust me, they are the same as any cheaper brand in any main stores, so don't waste £20, when you can get then for under £2.
They are easy to use, with four sides to the buffer.
The "FILE" side: You use this to shape the nail, like you would with a normal nail file.
The "BUFF" side: You use this to even out any ridges on the top of your nails.
The "SMOOTH" side: Same process as 2nd side, until nail is smooth to touch
The "SHINE" side: Same process as 2nd and 3rd side, until nail has a high gloss shine.
This process may take a while the first time you do it, as it is for every nail, but if you do it on a regular basis, it takes less time. I find that by doing this, it has the same sort of effect as applying clear nail varnish and it is a lot less messy, but if you want that extra protection against chipped nails, applying clear varnish will give it an even shinier shine while preventing chipped nails.
These 4 sided files can be found in any store such as Boots, Body Shop or Superdrug, but I have tried one from each shop and they are pretty much the same, it just depends which is cheaper. As you can get them quite cheap, it doesn't matter so much that the boards don't last that long, as mine usually last a couple of months before you wear the file away, but I do have one for in the house, and one for in my bag, in case I get bored on the train or something.
By using the board, I have found it is a lot easier to apply nail varnish, as it has a smooth base, so the varnish looks smooth without showing any unsightly ridges. Even if you don't apply varnish, you then have healthy and natural looking nails.
This block is a beauty essential.
It is a rectangular foam block - the four sides each have a piece of material/card with different textures and a word written on them stating what their purpose is - File, Buff, Smoothe and Shine.
It is basically an all in one nail care wonder.
To use it ;
The 'FILE' side - you skim this along the edges of your fingernails to shape them.
The 'BUFF' side - put a little hand cream or buffing paste on each nail and then rub this from side to side or up and down your nail. This side is used to even out any ridges in the nail.
The 'SMOOTHE' side - Do the same as with the 'BUFF' side until the nails are smoothe to the touch. You don't need the handcream for this part. This smoothes out any rough bits of the nail leftover from buffing.
The 'SHINE' side - again, repeat what you've done for the last two sides. This is the last stage and serves to leave the nails looking shiny.
These blocks leave your nails looking really healthy in a natural way and are a better alternative to clear nail varnish as you can't really make a mess with this.
The biggest down side is that they really don't last very long at all before they stop working - however, they're cheap to replace!
Get two - one for your handbag, one for in the house.
I don't have the body shop version of this but it is a 4 way buffer, that I have.
If you have the time to do your nails on a regular basis, I would definitely invest in one of these (I say invest, I don't think they are expensive).
I got mine as a gift and I really love it.
You have to use all four sides in the order that it tells you, and it takes a bit of time to do it properly, but after your nails will look beautiful.
The first 2 parts of the buffer, smooth out the ridges and make your nails smooth, and the second two sides buff your nails and and a really lovely shine to them.
I always do this before I am going to paint my nails and I never end up painting them because it makes them look so naturally beautiful and shiny.
If you have the time to put in the work it is really worth it, but you can easily do it while your sitting watching tv.
I am currently trying to grow my nails in a latest attempt to look more like a lady. I file and buff and moisturise my nails and hands every evening so that there are absolutely no edges or bits of dry skin that might cause me to start chewing again. I have to say they are looking smashing at the moment and this is in the main down to my own perseverance and bravery, oh and a nail buffer by The Body Shop!
I love to have nice looking nails and I am always ashamed when they are chewed and ragged. However, even with really short nails, they do not have to look terrible with The Body Shop Nail Buffer. I find that when I bite my nails they get lots of ridges in them. I know that some people naturally have more ridges than others. The nail buffer will smooth these ridges out and leave you with super smooth nails.
(A useful insight into nail health - if you have ridges running down the length of your nail from the tip to the moon, this is just the way the nail bed is formed, or because you have damaged the surface through picking, or in some other way. Either way, it might not look pretty but it is harmless. If you have ridges running across the nail, parallel to the nail tip, this can be a sign of poor health or some sort of nutritional deficiency and it is worth checking it out with your doctor.)
The Nail Buffer is a big chunky foam cuboid (doubt I have used that word since maths in school!! I knew it would come in handy one day!). Each side has a different strength of abrasion and you must use it in the correct order for the best results. The really handy thing is that each step is numbered and a brief description given on each side. This really helps, as the cheaper versions do not tend to come with instructions other than what is printed on the packet so it is easy to forget.
The four steps are as follows:
1. File Nail. This is basically an emery board. I do not find this particularly beneficial, as I tend to have lots of emery boards dotted around the place anyway. However, I suppose it is handy to have it in the one tool. On cheaper versions of nail buffers, there does not tend to be an emergy board. This is the roughest surface and be extra careful not to use it on the surface of your nail. It will scratch it and feel awful. It is just for the ends of your nails to file them into the shape that you want. You are meant to file in one direction rather than back and forth but I have never have the patience for this!
2. Remove ridges. Arguably the most satisfying step! If you have really ridged nails it will take longer to do. Some stubborn bumps and grooves will not go unfortunately but it will give a much smoother surface. You could actually stop at this stage and your nails will still look massively improved. They will not shine and gleam but they will have a smooth surface and look healthier. Although the nail might look slightly dull at this point. If you intend to put on nail polish, it is better to apply it at this stage rather than going through the next two stages, as the polish will cling better to the surface of the nail and therefore be less likely to chip and crack. If you do not intend to wear polish, I would advise completing the following two steps for a really good finish.
3. Nail buffer first step. This polishes the nail so that is starts to get a little bit of a shine. Perhaps not so much a shine, just a really smooth finish. It is basically the first out of two buffering steps. I'm not quite sure why you need to do this one but all nail buffers have the two step approach and I have never tried to miss it out. (Rules are there to be followed, after all!). Once you have completed this step, you will have a very natural finish on your nails. They will glow and look smooth and healthy but still very natural.
4. This is the final buffering stage. It really polishes the nail to a gleaming shine. In fact when you have first completed the stage, it almost looks as though you have applied clear nail varnish. For this reason, the finish is not as natural as step 3, so you might want to stop the buffering then. However, once you start playing I find it difficult to stop before the job is done and so I always end up using the stage 4 nail buffer.
You will probably find the high sheen effect will only last a few days, but no less time than nail polish before that starts to crack and flake. The ridges will not return though, until your nail grows more ridges at the base of course!
Buffering your nails might make them and you feel better but it is not good for them, as it thins them. If you imagine sanding a piece of wood, although the finish will be smooth, there is a lot of wood dust on the floor afterwards. On the other hand, if you are someone who uses nail polish a lot, this is also very bad for your nails. Buffering might weaken the current nail but that is the beauty of nails - they just keep on growing!
The Body Shop Nail Block Nail Buffer costs £4. As with most Body Shop products, it is slightly overpriced for what it is. I know you can buy similar products in supermarkets for as little as £1, but they do not last as long. I am still using a Body Shop Nail Buffer from 18 months ago, but I do not use it religiously. I have bought cheap ones and they do an equally good job, even if it is for a shorter time. I would say invest in the Body Shop one if you can afford it but if not, the cheap supermarket ones are a really good alternative.
Overall this is a great product and really gives your nails a boost. I would highly recommend it.
I've always had problems with my nails not being strong enough, or growing enough
However I was invited to a body shop party where we were able to try out a few of the products. one of them was this nail block which had four sides and felt very foamy.
I've always used normal nail files and when I used this on my nails, what a difference,After using the 4 steps they looked really shiny and polished and actually made my nails pleasant to look at for a change,
The block itself has 4 sides to it
1 - Nail Edge - .
2 - Remove Ridges
3 - Smooth Nail
4 - Shine Nail
I couldn't believe this was only £4.00 what a bargain, so I grabbed one and im so glad I did
After using this for a month my nails have become a lot stronger and have grown a lot more than they usual do without any splits. Its great.
The Nail block is also a good size to be able to carry it around with you so really convenient incase your out and need it!
Very simple to use and with the numbers written on the side you cant go wrong as its very self explanatory
If you don't have one, I would highly recommend having one of these!
I hate having short nails, mine are always a bit longer than is probably practical but I just don't feel like me without them, which might sound strange but is how it is for me. I can't use my hands in the same way without them so fiddly little things seem more difficult when they are gone.
Long nails are all well and good but unless they are kept in good nick they look nasty and that is the same for both short and long nails. They all look great when painted but how many of us have the time to paint them and keep them looking perfect and chip free? I certainly don't! it seems like no sooner have I painted them than they have a chip or mark so me painting my nails is a rare event!
I have the easiest way to keep them looking looked after and healthy though and it is really quick and easy, a nail block!
This is my second nail block from The Body Shop, at just £4.00 they are an absolute bargain!
This is basically a piece of foam with the four longer sides having a slightly different surface to use on your nails. Each step is written on the block itself from one to four. I should point out that mine looks slightly different to the picture, the colours of the sides is different and the foam (is blue in the picture) on mine is white.
This is a great emery board, it is black and finer than some so gives a really smooth snag free finish to your nails. Remember to only file in one direct not back and forth as that damages your nails.
This side is pale green and not as rough as the emery board but has a similar effect only you don't use this on the ends of your nails but the faces of them to smooth them out so you have an even surface without the ridges that naturally form on your nails as they grow and it also gets rid of any scratches or marks you may have on your nails.
This step doesn't take long and the nails are left looking rather dull and ready for step three.
A yet smoother side to rub on the nail faces to make them look like they did before you started, more or less, but without the ridges. This grey side looks and feels smooth to the touch.
This is the most dramatic change your nails will get from this process. This side is white and the writing is hard to read as it too is white. This side is completely smooth, so much so that if you run your finger along it you find it squeaks a little, like when your hair is really clean.
This side is again rubbed all over the nail face and gives it a high gloss finish.
When you have done all four steps your nails could be mistaken for having a clear varnish on, they look really great and it only takes a few minutes!
I find it easiest to the step I am on, on all of my nails before moving onto the next step. That is just my way of doing it though.
My last nail block lasted a year before I decided to replace it. The surfaces are similar to sandpaper so with use become less and less effective. I use my block regularly but you should NOT use all three of the buffing steps too often as it does thin your nails. I use all three buffing steps about once every four weeks, the last two steps I do every two weeks and I use the buffing fourth step once a week.
As this is so quick to use and small enough to pop in your handbag you can use it anywhere. I think it is a great alternative to painting your nails for a night out or special occasion.
The results do last, in that they look better all the time but the high gloss shine is not permanent and not just because it grows out (obviously) but because you are constantly getting small scratches on your nails because of everyday jobs that you put your hands through. I find the glossiness lasts two or three days, after that they are still glossier than normal but not by very much.
I cannot recommend this highly enough! The fact that it has numbered steps makes it simple to use even for those that have never even seen a buffer before and the results are better than I have even seen from any other buffer I have used.
The one draw back with this block is that where the edges are soft you cannot get it right up next to the cuticle to rub off the ridges and get a complete shine unlike with more solid ones that are shaped like the conventional emery boards.
Most of the nail buffers I have used have only had two or three steps and not had an emery board on them, I find having it in this one is far easier, that way I don't have to have two rather than one!
I have even found that if I varnish my nails when they are nice and smooth that the finish of the varnish is better! Makes no difference to how long it lasts, one way or the other though.
Prep your nails for polishing!