Buffing your nails gives them a polished look without having to apply nail polish. If you don’t have a four-way buffer, you can still buff your nails and achieve a smooth, shiny surface. The idea behind buffing fingernails is to start with a coarse-grit file and successively move to finer grits, ending with polish. With just a few household products, you can provide your nails with the same buffing treatment you could get with a specially made nail buffing product.


Buffing your fingernails should always follow the shaping of your nails. Prepare your nails for buffing by shaping them with a nail file. File off any rough or uneven edges from your fingernails. If they are exceptionally long, you may wish to clip them first with nail clippers before shaping them with a nail file.

Homemade Tools

Wrap a strip of 600-grit sandpaper around a triangular makeup sponge. Rub the sandpaper back and forth across your fingernails for three to five seconds for each nail. The fine-grit sandpaper helps to remove ridges from your nails, which increases shine. You can create another homemade tool to follow the sandpaper treatment. Wrap a piece of velvet around a cotton ball, and buff each fingernail with this homemade buffing tool. The short pile of the velvet continues the smoothing action started by the fine-grit sandpaper.


Salons treat cuticles and fingernails with special oils and creams that keep the skin healthy and the nails shiny. Instead of buying special manicure oils and creams, use olive or almond oil, which is not diluted with water or alcohol, and which you probably already have around your house. Don’t apply the oil until you’ve finished buffing with the fine-grit sandpaper and the velvet.


Buffing your fingernails with fine-grit sandpaper doesn’t need to be done very often. In fact, once a month usually suffices unless you get very severe ridges building up on your nails. To determine how frequently you should buff with sandpaper, record the date you first buffed your nails, and monitor how long it takes for ridges to appear. Velvet buffing can be performed every two or three days, and you can buff with a piece of chamois every day if you want your nails to shine.