Best Efile Bits for Soft Potted Gel Nail Application [Japanese Gel Fundamentals Series #06]

So perhaps you are currently not using an efile but really getting the itch to start, or you are using an electric file, but you’re not sure if you’re using the right bits for your manicure.

In today’s Episode #6 of this Japanese Gel Fundamentals Series we’ll be going over the 6 bits you must have for thorough but gentle efile work when applying your gel nails. As well as a few that you should avoid.

And we are going to dissect this topic into 3 categories of efile bits.

For example, in our last video we talked all about prep products needed to apply the gel unto the natural nail, and we literally said (who’s we) I literally said, the more gentle the better.

For instance once in a while it is ok to use a bonder on the natural nail, but only on the free edge.

Using a bonder on the whole nail continuously, will inevitably weaken the nail and 3 services later your clients nails will start peeling and breaking especially at the free-edge, you’ll be left wondering and questioning your products and expertise.

When you apply a bonding agent just at the tip (because you most likely will be clipping or filing off some length in the next service) you’re re-generating the nail. If you apply a bonder on the entire nail, then the entire nail is compromised (as in weakened and dehydrated), for the next service and then the next, and at about the 3rd service… the client will start encountering problems like lifting and peeling at the free edge because that is where the oldest most weakened nail growth is. It is not at the cuticle area, remember that area is continuously being re-generated.

So are you getting the hint that in order for your soft potted gel applications to thrive you need to preserve the integrity of the natural nails from the day the first service, your client entrusts you with her nails? 

Products like Japanese Gel and Bio Sculpture Gel thrive, when the natural nail is strong underneath. Always, always remember that.

Ok, so this was a much needed tangent, I just really hate to see when soft gel techs incur lifting issues and immediately reach for the bonder bottle rather than backing off a little from being too aggressive on the nails and allowing them to be themselves under the gel. That nail underneath wants to stay moisturized.

Yes. I get it that the natural nail plate is made up of dead cells of keratin, but it is still attcahed to a living hand with vessels and skin layers. It is not my friends, a sheet of plastic just laying on your nail bed. If it was you wouldnt urge your clients or yourself to continue using that cuticle oil. Am I right?

Alright so now back to our order of business we have 3 categories of electric filing bits, or we’ll just say e-bits for short. Here is what they are.

Category #1 Removal Bits 

Category #2 Cuticle Prep Bits

Category #3 Sanding Prep Bits

I recommend you start with ONE bit for every category.

So you’re literally going to have 3 bits total in your arsenal. Lock everything up for now and really master the use of these 3 so that you can have consistent results in your application. After a month or so, switch a bit or two. Try a new one for each category until you find your go-tos because seriously the bits that I’ve been using for my prep have literally been the same for like 5 years. I’ve used them consistently, then tried new ones, and then just kept coming back to the same o’ ones I first started with for my application of soft potted gel.

Alright with that said. 

Let’s start with category #1 removal.

This is probably the only time you’re going to get mean with your Japanese gel manicure bits. For your removal bit, especially if your client’s overlay has a builder gel on (like Vetro’s Extension Gel, or Leafgel’s Sculpting Gel) your first removal is going to be a carbide bit. I literally do not have a preference on what your carbide bit looks like, as long as it is carbide (or other metal; titanium is fine too) and also that it is medium grit. (The blue band let’s you know it is medium. A red band let’s you know it is fine.)

You are then going to crank the speed on your efile to at least 20000 RPM and in long, preferably vertically strokes (in the beginning at least) to remove the product. Do this on all 10 fingers.

After doing this you can decide if you are going to remove all of the product down, I would then recommend switching over to a fine ceramic or if you are going to leave some product behind… switch over to a 180grit board file and balance everything out.

My favorite source for carbides is Nashlynails, they stock bits from Eastern Europe. My ceramic bits I like picking up from Nail Labo, they are also high quality made in Japan, and they offer them in the cone (or flame) shape which allows you to get in the tight areas of the nail.

You’ll be hearing me mention these 2 sources in our next category so I just wanted to give you a little brief intro on them.

The main thing with Japanese Gel and removal bits is to avoid your carbide bit from touching the nail plate as much as possible, super thin shaved down nail plates and soft gels do not get along, you will incur lifting. Even when using bonder. The nails will be too bendy.

Category #2 for when working with Japanese Gels…

Cuticle prep bits.

Ok… here is where people go cray-cray picking up every cuticle bit that crosses their path… this was literally me so I get ya’.

There are tiny bits, ball bits, cone, flame bits etc., etc., ….

Here is what I use because … after working on over 1000 different hands I’ve seen a hand with cuticles or a few. 

So after many years of doing gel on natural nails I’ve come to realize there are only 2 types of people when it comes to cuticle work. Yup only 2.

Those with only a tiny bit of cuticle on the nail plate (remember cuticle is on the nail plate, the surrounding little thin bit at the top is called the eponychium). So either a client is going to have a thin sheet of cuticle on the nail plate or a thick sheet of cuticle. It really is that simple guys.

Any other bits of dry skin surrounding the nail plate and more-so on the finger is simply dry skin which can be buffed off with just your hand file or buffer

So for my thin sheet client’s I use a thin cylinder diamond bit. And yes… Diamond bits are what you want to use. They are thorough and gentle when you let them do the work for you, rather than you applying a ton of pressure to remove the dead skin from off of the nail plate.

And that brings me to the second reason why I use this other second bit…

This is like a flat top barrel and its width allows me more surface area to glide it on the client’s nail plate especially when they wide or overgrown cuticle on the nail plate. This flat top short barrel diamond bit also allows me to prep the grown out area of the nail when doing a rebalancing service. A re-balancing service is something I go over in full detail in Electric Filing Manicure Course download the free guide down in the description box below to learn more about it.

These 2 bits the slim cylinder and the short barrel are literally what I have been using for over 5 years, and I almost cannot work w/o them.

I will give a quick mention to this very unique diamond bit.

It’s a little chubby cone, and it is in a fine grit, I picked up from Nashlynails, to try out and see what this shape is all about. I just used it once so I cannot certainly tell you is my go to obviously, but I was so pleasantly surprised as to how gentle it was! And the chubby part of it is actually super gentle on the nail. I’ll mention a very similar one in our next category.

Alright so this leaves us with category number #3 the 

Sanding prep bits.

These when working with Japanese Gels are totally optional. That is because you can take a hand buffer to do your sanding prep.

Now if the word “sanding” sounds a bit rough. Do not worry, there will be no aggressive filing here. I promise. I want you to never work with anything coarser than a 180 grit BUFFER on the nail plate. No, not even a 180 grit hand file. Too rough.

Before we dive into my sanding bit faves (spoiler alert there will not be an arbour band listed.)

Fun fact… I used to hate getting my nails done because of the common use of arbour bands in the salon, and so I kind of promised myself I will find the best adhesion without the use of these. Hence why I rave to you about soft potted gel systems and Bio Sculpture, herein lies the answer. So in like 7 years of working on natural nails, I have never prepped a clients nail with one of those. I think if you’re using hard products like acrylic, hard gel, and poly gel you have to, but not with soft gels.)

So again, before we dive into my sanding bit faves I just kind of want to go back a bit to last week’s lesson and remind you that if you’re working on bare nails or “virgin” nails (so… a brand new client comes in has her own natural nails no product, no damage) you will use your cuticle bit to prep and then simply use a sponge buffer with an approximate grit of 200. That is it. Remember from earlier I told you… protecting the integrity of that natural nail from the beginning is so important, and this is the way to do it.

Now, alternatively, if your client has product that needs to be removed and you need to flush it to the natural nail, then you will need to use your 180 grit buffer. Apply minimal pressure, let the buffer do the work for you.

So, I wanted to mention this, not only as a reminder, but so that you keep a concept of gentleness now that we’re going to move to and efile.

So, I think that my absolute favorite is this silicone and diamond bit from Nail Labo. It has just enough texture to remove shine fom the natural nail. While there are other silicone bits out there, none really have a diamond material to it, and so I do like that about this one because if you literally let it do the work for you, it will prep the nail plate just right, and gently.

The only thing about this bit is that it is porous which means that unless you have a heat sterilizer this is really not disinfectable up to state board’s standards so your state may prevent you from using this one in the salon. Otherwise, it is my favorite.

But good news is that I recently came across a bit that is still very gentle and removes just a tiny amount of shine form the surface of the nail to call it prepped, and that is this chubby barrel from Nashlynails. Because it is metal you can actually disinfect it, which means you can use it in your salon.

I do prefer buffing bits because it cuts down on the cost of nail supplies and storage significantly so it is worth hunting and pecking for alternatives. 

And this one has a similar body type like the pointed one mentioned earlier in our prior cuticle bit talk. So if you invest in this one you technically get a 2 in 1.

Remember when working with soft potted gel formulas like Bio Sculpture Gel and Japanese Gels, you are entering the no arbour band zone.

Now it is time to bring it back home.

When using ebits and Japanese Gels, you have 3 categories of bits.

Category #1 Removal Bits

My go-to’s is a thin cylinder and a short flat-top barrel diamond bit.

Category #2 Cuticle Bits

My go-to’s are any medium grit carbide and a fine grit ceramic.

Category #3 Buffing Bits

My favorite being the silicone and diamond mix one, or just a fine rounded diamond bit.

You can take me up on my recommendations or find and choose your own for each category.

Remember less is best! No need to own 5 of each will… adding variables to your application will  lead to inconsistency in your services. Keep it simple. Always.

I’ll see you next week with Episode #07 all about the most popular styles of art when using Japanese Gels, and after this episode we’ll only have one more episode before wrapping up this series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it thus far, make sure to catch up with any one you’ve missed this far.

Thank you for watching and I hope to see you again next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.

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