How to use e-files - your questions answered
With clients including Rihanna and Serena Williams - not to mention being a judge on the television show Nail’d It - Elaine Watson is something of a celebrity in the nail world. We caught up with Elaine to find out more about the KUPA electric nail files, how to use them and why, as a mobile nail tech, an e-file can increase your profits…
Q. Can I teach myself how to use an electric nail file?
The short answer is no! If you’ve not used an electric nail file before, the first step is to sign up for a course.
Elaine says, “Education is key and you want to make sure the person is certified or is qualified to teach. Stay away from YouTube unless you know they are reputable and are giving proper education.”
KUPA offers beginner, intermediate and refresher courses using their UK team. “Right now there is a lot of probs going on in this market with ill-trained technicians using e-files that they bought from another company with no education or they are self-taught”, says Elaine.
“They are doing their best but we’re happy to have been brought in by Salon Services to educate nail technicians and fix these problems.”
“With an e-file you can do a dry manicure in 15 minutes - literally half the time of a traditional water manicure”
Q. What’s more important - RPM or torque?
When it comes to shopping for an electric file, chances are you’re focused on the RPMs (rotations per minute). But these only tell you how fast the e-file can spin, not how well it works when filing. For that, it’s all about the torque, or in other words, just how strong your e-file is as it rotates.
Elaine says, “Always look at not only how fast the machine goes - the RPMs - but also the torque. In the e-file world, torque is more important than RPM. If you have a cheap e-file it is relying on high RPMs because there is no torque.”
To work out if your electric file has great torque, Elaine suggests lightly touching the bit to the nail. If it stops spinning, that is low torque. If your e-file keeps spinning when you put your bit on the end of the nail and use the e-file to shorten long acrylic length, that is high torque.
Elaine adds, “It's the friction at high speeds that makes the nail hot and can burn the client. Torque means that you don’t need to work with those high speeds. My e-file is always set at a low speed unless I need to shorten the nail.”
Q. Will an electric file harm the nail?
There are a lot of common misconceptions that e-files cause damage to the nail says Elaine. “You can do just as much damage with a hand file when misused.
“When used properly with the right technique, the right bits and at the right speed and torque there is more precision with an e-file than with hand filing.”
Q. What if my client is nervous about me using an e-file?
For a customer used to having their nails filed by hand, they may be a bit unsure about an electric nail file. Yet with an e-file halving the time it takes to do a manicure, it’s worth converting them!
Elaine says, “I always take my e-file - on the appropriate setting with the right bit - and hold it to their skin so they can understand what it feels like and that it’s not going to harm them.
“If it’s a regular client, have a conversation about trust: they trust you to take good care of them and their nails and they also trust that you’ve had the proper education to use an e-file.”
Q. What can I do if my electric nail file handpiece breaks?
The handpiece is the most important part of your e-file, so you want to make sure it’s properly maintained. To do this, always buy your electric file from a manufacturer that offers a warranty if anything goes wrong with it.
“If they can’t offer a warranty and repairs then don’t buy it”, says Elaine. “You’re going to need repairs when you drop your handpiece because we all drop our handpiece! If a company doesn’t offer that warranty then you’re on your own.”
Q. How can an e-file boost my profits?
As a mobile nail technician, profit is king! And according to Elaine, the e-file can help you make more money while offering your customers an express service.
She says, “An e-file manicure is much faster than soaking in a bowl and using traditional softeners. Women are busy and sometimes a client just needs a quick service so their nails look well put together.
“With an e-file you can do a dry manicure in 15 minutes - literally half the time of a traditional water manicure. Time is money so I would charge the same amount for an e-file manicure as I would for traditional manicure and be able to do more in a day and make more money.”
Q. What should I do with my old e-file bits?
Don’t throw them away - repurpose them!
Elaine says, “When your bits start getting dull repurpose them for something to save money. If you use a coarse bit, when it gets dull use it as a fine bit.”
It’s also worth buying good quality e-file bits so they will last longer and can also be disinfected.