To Finish File or to Cap?

To Finish File or to Cap?

When it comes to nail enhancements using builder gel or gel polish (such as overlays), there are various techniques and methods used to achieve the desired look. One common debate in the nail industry is whether it is better to file the free edge (finish file) after application or to 'cap' the free edge with product. Let's explore why filing the free edge is often the preferred method - especially with NU:gel.

Prevents Lifting

Filing the free edge of a nail enhancement helps to prevent lifting. By removing any excess product at the edge of the nail, there is less chance of moisture seeping in and causing the enhancement to lift. This can result in a longer-lasting and more durable nail enhancement.

Promotes Safety

A little-discussed benefit of 'Finish Filing' vs 'Capping' is often found in shorter nail. When capping the free edge on shorter nails, you run the risk of exposing the underside of the nail to product which, as well as adding to the bulk of the free edge, it in turn increases the risk of product making contact with the skin. This can lead to irritation, discomfort and picking. Once your client starts to pick at the cured product that has connected the nail to the skin, it risks peeling and coming away.

Enhances Aesthetics

Filing the free edge allows for a more precise and clean finish. It helps to create a seamless transition between the natural nail and the enhancement, resulting in a more polished and professional look. This attention to detail can make a significant difference in the overall appearance of the nails.

Controlled Thickness

By finish filing, technicians can more comfortably control the thickness of the nail enhancement. This is important for maintaining a natural look and feel. 'Capping' the free edge with product can lead to unnecessary bulkiness, which may be uncomfortable for the client and can affect the overall aesthetic of the nails.

When Is Finish Filing Not An Option?

When your client has super-short nail and no free edge, finish filing is no longer directly an option. Capping is still an option for these nails, however it still comes with the same draw-backs. Our preference & recommendation in these circumstances as to extend the nail by 1 to 2mm and then finish file as normal. 

This is, of course, only an option if the system you use allows short extensions - something that NU:build does with EASE!


While some systems allow finish filling and others recommend capping, the NU:gel system, brought to you by The Nail Lab, not only allows finish filling but actively recommends it. Modern products call for modern techniques and we're sure that once you start finish filing with NU:gel you will never look back!

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