What Are Nail Ridge Fillers and How to Use Them?

What Are Nail Ridge Fillers and How to Use Them? Have you noticed those annoying ridges and grooves on your natural nails? These lines interrupt an otherwise flawless manicure and make nails more prone to cracking and splitting.

Luckily, nail ridge fillers provide an easy solution! These handy products smooth and fill depressions for beautiful, healthy-looking nails.

I’ll explain what ridge fillers are, if they work, types of fillers and exactly how to use them. Soon you’ll be sporting smooth, enviable nails free of ridges and imperfections.

What are Nail Ridge Fillers?

What Are Nail Ridge Fillers

Nail ridge fillers, also called ridge fillers, are products that fill in and even out any grooves, wrinkles or ridges on the nail plate. They create a smooth surface for polish application.

Ridges typically develop from:

  • Aging and nail plate changes
  • Dryness causing the nail to contract
  • Injury or damage weakening the nail bed
  • Certain health conditions

While harmless, these depressions interrupt an even polish application and snag on fabrics. Ridge fillers resurface the nail for a flawless finish.

Do Nail Ridge Fillers Work?

When used properly, ridge filling products absolutely make nails look smoother! The fillers level out and “fill in” dips and grooves to create a uniform texture for polish.

However, most ridge fillers only temporarily mask the issue rather than treating the underlying cause. The grooves often reappear after a few weeks as product breaks down.

For lasting results, nourishing treatments to hydrate nails and restore strength work together with fillers. But fillers deliver immediate, dramatic smoothing effects.

Types of Ridge Filling Products

Types of Ridge Filling Products

Acrylic Filler Powders

Acrylic filler powders are finely-milled acrylic particles that are pressed into nail grooves and set with a liquid activator. The acrylic hardens, then gets filed smooth once fully cured. Acrylic ridge fillers last 2-3 weeks on average before naturally breaking down. They provide dramatic smoothing results but require careful application and shaping.

Example: Mia Secret Cover Pink Acrylic Powder on Amazon

UV Gel Filler Gels

UV gel fillers are thick, viscous gel formulas that are pressed into nail ridges and cured under UV or LED lamps. The gels cure hard to resist impressions while remaining flexible. UV gel ridge fillers typically last 2-4 weeks with proper application, and resist chipping or cracking. They offer slightly longer wear than acrylic fillers.

Example: Gelish Ridge Filler Base Gel

Colored Polishes and Base Coats

Specialized ridge-filling polishes and base coats help fill very minor ridges and grooves. The thick formulas level out small imperfections, but don’t fill deeper depressions as dramatically as acrylics or gels. These are best for maintaining smoothness between salon visits, and typically last 1-2 weeks.

Nail Putty Fillers

Putty ridge fillers are clay-like materials that are pressed into ridges to create a smooth surface. The putties are available in various skin-tone colors and mold easily to fill grooves. Putty fillers typically wash away with regular nail polish remover in just a few days. They offer very temporary smoothing for an event or weekend.


Step-by-Step Guide to Using Ridge Fillers

Filling nail ridges takes patience but delivers gorgeous results. Follow these steps:

1. Wash and Dry Hands

Clean the nails so there is no oil or lotions that could block adhesion. Thoroughly dry hands. Trim any hangnails.

2. Shape Nails and Remove Shine

Gently shape and file nails into the desired shape. Then use a fine buffer to remove any surface shine.

3. Cleanse Nails with Dehydrator

Wipe nails with nail prep dehydrator or alcohol to further remove oil and prep the nail plate. This helps filler adhere properly.

4. Apply Filler into Ridges

Squeeze a small amount of putty or gel filler on a disposable dappen dish. Use a thin brush or tool to press it directly into the nail grooves, overfilling slightly.

With acrylic powder, pat powder gently into the groove and mist activator spray over it. Repeat until smooth.

5. Shape and File The Filler

Once filler has hardened, use a fine file to shape and smooth it flush with the natural nail. Blend rough edges for a seamless finish.

Avoid filing into the nail plate. Shape only the excess filler.

6. Hydrate and Buff Nails

Apply cuticle oil or nail cream to condition nails after filing. Gently buff nails to remove dust and create a crystal shine.

7. Apply Base Coat and Polish

You’re ready for immaculate polish application! Apply base coat, polish and top coat as desired. The ridges won’t interrupt even application.

Tips for Using Ridge Fillers

Follow these tips for smooth, lasting results when filling ridges:

  • Only apply to clean, dry nails to maximize adhesion
  • Ensure filler hardens fully before buffing and polishing
  • Blend edges of filler into the natural nail edge
  • Don’t overload the ridges with excess filler
  • Watch for heat spikes when using nail drills to avoid burning
  • File parallel to the nail to avoid damaging ridges further
  • Apply cuticle oil daily to keep nails flexible after filing

With practice, you’ll perfect the ridge filling process for flawlessly smooth nails that can last 2 weeks +.

At-Home vs Salon Ridge Filling

At-Home Ridge FillingSalon Ridge Filling
Drugstore fillersProfessional fillers
Less dramatic smoothingMore dramatic results
Higher risk of damageLower risk of damage
Shorter lastingLonger lasting 2-3 weeks
Self-taught techniqueExpert technician
Basic toolsSpecialized tools
Lower costHigher cost
ConvenienceBetter blending

While drugstore ridge fillers are available, professional-quality acrylics and gels used at salons deliver the most dramatic results. The products are thicker and cure more effectively.

Salon technicians also have specialized tools and training to identify the right filler for your nail type and meticulously shape it smooth. This prevents filing into the natural nail.

That said, you can absolutely achieve smoother nails at home between salon visits using quality fillers. Just be conservative with filing depth.

Caring for Nails After Ridge Filling

To help your smooth nails last:

  • Apply cuticle oil daily to hydrate nails and cuticles
  • Use a glass nail file only when needed vs metal files
  • Wear gloves for housework and applying creams after washing
  • Avoid picking at nails or filler to prevent ridges reforming
  • Go easy on nails when ridge filling, which can thin the nail plate over time if overdone

See your manicurist promptly if you notice new ridges appearing after filling. Combining monthly fills with nourishing nail care keeps ridges smoothed for weeks.

Achieve Flawless Nails with Ridge Filling

While an imperfect part of our nails’ natural aging, ridges can easily be filled in and smoothed for weeks of pristine manicures. Acrylic and gel fillers provide the best smoothing results. With some patience and practice, you can perfect the ridge-filling process.

Remember to care for nails gently after smoothing to avoid new ridges forming. Combine filling with nourishing treatments for strong, healthy and beautiful nails that can impress any nail artist!

Benefits of a Nail Ridge Filler

  1. Helps your natural nails feel and look nice and smooth.
  2. Strengthens weak and brittle nails – a ridge filler can help strengthen your natural nails by preventing them from breaking easily
  3. Preventing Nail Stains – creates a thick layer on your nails preventing polish pigments and chemicals from reaching your nails.
  4. Helps prevent excessive flaking of your natural nails.

Best Formaldehyde-Free Nail Ridge Fillers

Avoid using nail fillers that contain formaldehyde, parabens or toluene. These chemicals will work in the short term, but in the long term they will weaken your nails more than help them.

Instead, look for a nail ridge filler that is 10 free or 7 free, meaning they don’t contain most harsh chemicals.

The best nail ridge fillers are:

  1. Barielle Nail Ridge Filler (A filler that has great moisturizing properties)
  2. Nail Tek Ridge Filling Kit (A complete kit ideal if your nails are fragile and brittle)

1- Barielle Nail Ridge Filler

The Barielle Nail Ridge Filler is my favorite ridge filler. Not only will it cover all the ridges of your nails, but it is also packed with nutrients and hydration that will lead to stronger, healthier nails.

Barielle Ridge Filler will also work as a base coat for your nail polish. It is also 10-free and contains no harsh chemicals like formaldehyde.

You can click here to see the price of a bottle of Barielle Nail Ridge Filler on Amazon.

2- Nail Tek Kit

If you are looking for a great kit that contains everything you need for stronger, healthier nails, the Nail Tek Kit is your best choice.

The kit comes with:

  1. Nail strengtheningr – which is applied first, rich in nutrients to promote healthier nails
  2. A ridge filler – applies after strengthener to cover bumps and ridges and acts as a base coat for nail polish.
  3. Cuticle oil – apply at the end of your manicure to moisturize your nails and cuticles.

You can click here to see the price of the Nail Tek kit on Amazon


Are nail ridge fillers safe for your nails?

Yes, most brands of ridge fillers are completely safe for your nails and will not damage them in any way.

Nail ridge fillers can actually protect and help your nails grow stronger.

Does Ridge Filler help peel nails?

A ridge filler can help stop and even prevent your nails from peeling. This is because the filler would cover and seal your nails, temporarily preventing them from peeling.

One of the reasons why your nails tend to peel is because they become very dry. And by using a filler, you protect your natural nails from excessive exposure to water and other chemicals like soap and alcohol that can dry out your nails and cause them to peel.

How long does it take for ridge material to dry

This will vary depending on the brand of ridge product. Each brand’s formula will be different, so you should read the instructions that come with it.

How Many Coats of Ridge Filler Should You Use?

This will depend on the brand of filler and the effectiveness of the formula. Now for most brands you usually just need 2 coats to make your nails beautiful and smooth.

But in some cases, one coat may be enough if your nails are not that damaged and the filler mark is very thick. And for nails in poor condition or if the filler has a thin formula, you may need more than 2 coats.

Do you apply Ridge Filler before or after a base coat?

A ridge coating should be applied before a base coat. But in most cases, if your ridge coat says it is a ridge coat and a base coat, you won’t need to use a base coat.

Which goes first for ridge filler or nail strengthening?

If you are using a nail strengthener, you should apply it before the ridge filler.

But I simply recommend using a ridge filler that has similar properties to a nail strengthener, meaning it contains ingredients that might help your nails get stronger over time.

How to Remove Fillers from Nail Ridge?

Ridge Fillers are extremely easy to remove. All you have to do is Wipe your nails clean and soak them for 1-2 minutes with nail polish remover.


In conclusion, nail ridge fillers can be a fantastic addition to your nail care routine, helping you achieve smoother and more polished nails effortlessly. Whether you’re dealing with ridges caused by aging, genetics, or nail damage, these products offer a simple solution for a flawless manicure.

By following the steps and tips outlined in this guide, you can effectively use nail ridge fillers to create a smooth canvas for your nail polish or simply enjoy natural, healthy-looking nails. However, keep in mind that nail ridge fillers are just one part of the equation; proper nail care, a balanced diet, and hydration also play essential roles in maintaining beautiful nails.

If you’re eager to explore more about nail care, discover the latest trends in nail art, or seek expert advice from the Villa Nails blog, where we’re dedicated to helping you achieve your nail goals. So, why wait? Head over to our blog and dive deeper into the world of nail care and artistry today!

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