Buffed nails are the ultimate clean, manicured look, sans the polish. If you don't have a four-way buffer, you can still achieve smooth, shiny nails. The idea behind buffing is to start with a coarse-grit file and successively move to finer grits, ending with a polishing surface. Here's how to do this with household products.
Prep your nails by shaping them with a nail file. File off any rough or uneven edges. (If they're exceptionally long, you may want to clip them first.)
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 and increases shine.
To follow up the sandpaper treatment, wrap a piece of velvet around a cotton ball, and buff each fingernail with it. 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, use olive or almond oil, which are not diluted with water or alcohol. Apply the oil after you've finished buffing with the fine-grit sandpaper and the velvet.
Buffing doesn't need to be done very often. Once a month is usually fine unless very severe ridges build up on your nails. Doing it too often can weaken the nails and cause them to break. Velvet buffing can be done every two or three days.
Rachel Terry has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University. She has been a freelance writer since 1998, authoring literary study guides, as well as articles and essays.