I was recently asked how often you should buff your nails. I thought I'd share my answers with you all!
Buffers come in different colors and grits. Usually, the color indicates how course the grit is. When shopping for buffers you may notice grit numbers. The lower the grit number, the courser the grit will be. For example, a foot file typically has two sides, 80/160. The 80 grit will quickly remove callous, while the 160 side will refine and smooth the texture.
Many people have ridges to their nails. Buffers are a great way to eliminate that. They are also great if you have a nail that is peeling, to gently remove the peeling area, without cutting off the nail. (kind of like trimming off a split end versus cutting all your hair off.) I use yellow buffers, they are typically 240 grit. White buffers are the most common, but usually are best for refining nail enhancements, such as acrylic.
There are also four sided buffers, the courser side used to file down ridges, with the three remaining sides gradually refining in grit strength until the nail surface is shiny.
Regardless if you only buff out the ridges, or if you want to buff until shiny, you can over do it. It is best to only file the ridges as the grow out, and when rebuffing, make sure you only do the new growth when using the courser grits. If you buff your nails shiny, you can use the slick side (usually grey) to your heart's content. The key is to understand that when you buff your nails with a courser buffer, you are essentially removing a very small portion of the nail plate. When done in moderation this generally doesn't cause an issue. But if your nails are naturally very weak, I would recommend using a ridge filling base coat, just to be on the safe side. Some people naturally have very deep ridges, either due to injury to the nail matrix, or internal causes such as medicine or chemotherapy. Because of this, a moderate amount of buffing may not smooth the nail out entirely, and the ridge filling base coat will help this.
I hope this helps!