There was a time not too long ago where men wouldn’t be caught dead in a nail salon. We know, we were part of that crowd. But, times change and men have finally caught on that getting a manicure (and pedicure) is actually pretty relaxing and rewarding.
It’s no secret anymore that one of the first things woman notice about a man is his hands and nails. Sure, it might not be a deal breaker, but what does it say to her when you grab that wine glass and your nails are all nasty-looking? Not a good grooming start my friends…
So, if you have time to go to a nail salon or a men’s spa, give it a shot. We’re vouching for the experience. But, if you don’t have the time or rather just do it at home, here’s the steps and tips you need to keep those nails nifty with an at-home manicure. Before we even get to the first step though, you should grab a manicure kit so you have all the tools in one easy to keep track of kit.
Step One: Clipping
Start with the good ole’ nail clipper after soaking your hands in water for a minute or two to soften the nails. No need to care for the nail parts that you’re cutting off right… just make sure they don’t fly all over the rug and you can’t find them later. Grab your clippers or nail scissors and take those bad boys down. Make sure to follow the natural contour of your nail. Do not clip them straight across. You want this to look natural. Clip them down to right before the nail is no longer white. Clipping any further than this is actually cutting live nail which can lead to infection and improper growth. Make sure you leave a little of the white for the filing stage.
Side note: If you bite your nails…STOP! It’s not becoming at all.
Step Two: Filing
Grab that file and get to work. This is the shaping and smoothing stage. Follow the natural contour of the nail and smooth out those cuts. Think of this step like sand paper for your hands. You’ve made your initial cuts, now just smooth it out. Make sure to focus on the lateral edges of the nail. Clipping will inevitably leave your nail with sharp corners; the file will help round them down. A good rule here is to slide your nail across a cloth once finished. Did it catch anywhere? If so keep filing. There should be no snags anywhere once you’re done filing.
Step Three: Cleaning under the nail
So, we’ve taken the nail down to the perfect length. It’s nice and smooth and looking amazing. Now look underneath what’s left. Is it full of gross dirt and grime? If so, time to get rid of it. With the pointed edge of the file scrap away anything gross lurking underneath the nail. Be careful not to apply too much pressure. You don’t want to lift the nail off the nail bed. That’s a bloody mess. Apply just enough pressure to remove the dirt.
Also, don’t stab yourself with the nail cleaner. That’s never good. We’re guessing you knew that already, but we thought it was worth an honorable mention.
Step Four: Remove those hangnails
The poorly named hangnail is actually not a nail at all. It is actually a skin tear that develops when a sliver of skin splits away from your cuticle or fingernail. In any case, they need to be removed. Grab your nippers and get started. The most important thing here is to avoid live skin! You will notice if you mess this up. With the nippers you want to clip and release, never pull. When you pull your hangnails, you will inescapably pull off live skin. Open tears in the skin can lead to infection and if anything, just make your hands look more unattractive. Key thing here is to be really careful with the nippers, those puppies can be sharp!
Step Five: Clean up the cuticles
The cuticle is a layer of dry, dead skin along the bottom edge of the nail. Cuticles protect new nail growth from bacteria and infection. The only problem is it may work to well, as it tends to build up to a level of ridiculous protection. Once this build up gets out of control it makes your nails look unattractive. Take it down a notch. Grab the cuticle tools and start removing any loose layers of skin. If you have exceptional build up you can use a cuticle remover. Gently push the cuticle back into a nice clean line, making sure not to push the live skin away from your nail.
Step Six: Buffer Those Nails
Buffing the nails is going to leave your nails with a nice soft shine. We wouldn’t call this a required step, but if you want your nails to have some “manly” glow for a few days it’s nice to buff them a bit. Totally up to you, but if you visit a salon they will definitely buff your nails and we’re cool with that.
Step Seven: Moisturize
The final step is moisturizing those now bad-boy looking hands. Keep those mitts nice and soft. Your hands work overtime so a hand moisturizer can be key, especially for gents with more blue-collar types of gigs. Don’t be shy, let it sink-in (good hand lotions sink in fast to the skin) and you’ll be doing handshakes with pride in no time. If you got calluses on your hands, you can always try using a hand or foot callous remover, too.
You’ve just completed your at-home manicure. Easy right? Only takes a few minutes and if you’re feeling your manhood questioned even a tad do it during the commercials while watching a football game with a beer. Nothing ever wrong with that.