Never used a nail buffer before, but curious about the benefits of buffing? Well, we’ve got you covered with our curated list of the best nail buffers. Nail buffers exfoliate the nail’s surface to smooth out ridges, which promotes a smooth foundation for applying polish. When you buff your nails before painting them, the polish will adhere more evenly for a flawless look. The best nail buffers also help get rid of jagged edges, remove subtle stains left by polish and can even boost circulation to encourage nails to grow faster. Buffing also leaves your nails looking shiny and more attractive.
Speaking of growing long, healthy nails — it can be hard, as it’s common for tips to peel, making them more likely to break off. Similar to trimming split ends to keep the hair from splitting all the way up the shaft, buffing your nails on a regular basis helps smooth out ridges that often lead to peeling and breaking before it occurs.
The best nail buffers have a four-sided block design (though some only have two or three) with different levels of abrasion for exfoliating and creating a glossy shine. Often, each side is numbered from one to four. The first side files and is too rough to use on nail beds while the other three offer varying levels of grit to smooth out the texture and leave a super-smooth finish.
After sorting through the various selections, we’ve rounded up an assortment of the best nail buffers from top brands on the market such as OPI, Tweezerman and more.
Onsen Secret Japanese Nail Buffer
Available in a pack of one, two or three buffing blocks, Onsen Secret’s Japanese Nail Buffer has three different textured sides for filing, smoothing and polishing. Made from organic materials, the pads on the sides can be replaced for long-term use thanks to an easy stick-and-peel design that renews the nail block.
Maryton Nail Buffing Block
This large Maryton Nail Buffing Buffing Block breaks apart into 130 small, dual-grit buffers. You also get a set of three-way sanding blocks. Since they’re miniature-sized, there’s less waste and they’re easy to take with you anywhere on the go; simply pop one in your bag. Their size also makes them ideal for use on little ones’ nails, too.
Tweezerman Neon Hot 4-in-1 File, Smooth & Shine Block
Each side of the Tweezerman Neon Hot 4-in-1 File, Smooth & Shine Block comes with removable, interchangeable pads that are color-coded and labeled for ease of use. Use the pink side to file, orange to buff, green to smooth and yellow side to shine.
OPI Brilliance Block
Coming in a pack of six, OPI’s Brilliance Block is described as being gentle on nails and cuticles. Featuring a four-sided surface design, the green side removes ridges and bumps while the white side makes nails look smooth and shiny. A bonus? They come in a convenient travel case.
Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator Buffer Nail File
Designed in a different silhouette with rounded edges, Deborah Lippmann’s Smooth Operator Buffer Nail File is crafted from a custom, ultra-gentle buffing fabric. The tool has four sides and each section is numbered for ease of use. It’s also washable.
Orly Gel FX Buffer
Also boasting a different look than your average buffing block, Orly’s Gel FX Buffer features a unique contoured shape. It should be quite soft yet sturdy, gentle on nails and easy to use thanks to its ergonomic design. The multipurpose tool is also made to buff away any remaining Orly Gel FX polish.
Olive & June Nail Buffer
Olive & June’s Nail Buffer comes as a set of three with one full-size buffer and two mini buffers that are better suited to tackle tiny corners, especially on your toes. The full-size buffer has three sides with a coarse grit and one side with a fine grit.
Soft ‘N Style 4 Way Shiny Block
While the Soft ‘N Style 4 Way Shiny Block may be the most affordable option on our list, that doesn’t mean it won’t get the job done. The compact tool also features four color-coded sides labeled with numbers and clear instructions on how to use it.