How to Manicure at Home for Men
As a sophisticated, enlightened, manscaping individual, if you’ve never had a manicure, it’s time to try something new. Thankfully, a manicure doesn't have to involve hundreds of dollars at a nail salon. You can do the whole thing at home and have great results. Today, you’re going to learn how.
Why Manicure at All?
You’re willing to take a trimmer to your balls in order to please the ladies, but you draw the line at a little nail care? Is that really where we stand today? You’ve compromised more in the name of dating and social acceptance. It’s ok to admit it. This is not a place where you’re going to be discouraged from taking great care of your body.
If your hesitation is more along the lines of avoiding any more time put into self-care, that’s understandable. The good news is that you don’t need to manicure every day, or even every week. It’s more like something you do when you notice your nails are struggling.
And, if we step away from social motivations for a bit, it’s important to understand what a manicure really does. As a guy, you might be a little rough on your hands. A lot of us are. A manicure can help with nail health so they’re less likely to get shredded when you work with your hands. They’re great for skincare to help you avoid annoying hangnails. Most importantly, they’re important to overall hand hygiene, and that’s something we can all appreciate more than we used to.
So, How Does it Work?
This is easier than you might think. In a few painless steps, you’ll have properly manicured hands.
Let’s Talk Tools
If you’re getting ready for a job, you usually want to make sure you have the tools first. Making eight extra trips to the hardware store is really annoying when you’re trying to fix a sink. During a manicure, those trips are even worse. You’re not supposed to really use your hands until you’re done. Interrupting the process with store trips pretty much kills any chance of having a great result at the end. So, here’s your list of tools.
- Nail Clippers. Clipping your nails is a vital step in the overall process. You can find quality clippers along with several other vital tools in The Shears, by MANSCAPED.
- Cuticle Pusher. You can get one anywhere. They’re cheap, but they’re important to the overall process.
- Cuticle Oil. This is not a place to get cute and cut corners. Real cuticle oil has important minerals that are good for your fingers. It’s worth the investment (which is very small).
- Nail Brush. It’s another cheap tool that you only have to buy once. You’ll use it to help with making everything clean.
- Nail File. It’s also included in The Shears. It shouldn’t surprise you that you’ll be filing your nails a bit.
- Nail Buffer. You may have seen one of these before. They look like little cube sponges, but one side kind of looks like a sanding sponge. It is, and that’s why you need it.
- A Bowl of Soapy Water. You’ve seen nail salons in movies. You’re going to be dipping your fingers in a bowl of soapy water. It’s the easiest and best way to get this done.
Start With a Soak
Speaking of bowls, that’s the first thing you’re going to do. Before you can get into fixing your nails, you need to clean them. Use the brush and soapy water and wash everything thoroughly. Sing your songs or whatever you have to do to make sure you spend a good amount of time getting things truly clean. Some guys find this part a little therapeutic. You can be meticulous and ignore the stresses of the world for a bit.
Once your fingers are clean, you want to soak them for a few minutes. The point is to make the skin and nails soft, and the soaking will get that done.
After soaking, you’re going to carefully clean under your nails. If you go in like a brute, you’re going to tear through that softened skin. So take the cleaning edge on your file and gently scrape away any stuff that shouldn’t be there.
You can blot off the water so your hands aren’t slippery, but you don’t need to be completely dry for this part. You’re going to use your clippers and shorten the nails. Let’s take a minute to talk about the right way to do this, because most guys just plain suck at it.
There are a few tips that will help you. First, you don’t need to clip super short. You might think that a shorter cut means you can go longer before you have to clip again, but this harms the nails and can leave your fingers sore. You should be able to rest the clippers on the nail without having to push. That’s how short you need to cut your nails.
Your second tip is to try to reduce the number of clips per finger. You can’t do it in one; the clippers aren’t designed for that. But, three or four snips per finger is much better than a half-dozen. Extra clips make it easier to go too short.
Third, you want to follow the natural shape of your finger, but you don’t need to worry too much about using clippers for shaping. You got a file before you started this, and you’re going to use it. Trying too hard to contour nails with clippers leads a lot of people to clip too many times and go too short.
It’s time to file, and thankfully, it’s a pretty simple process. Take your time and smooth out the edges that were left by the clippers. You want the nail to be primarily rounded, but you want to leave angles where they shoot straight back towards your knuckle. If you clip and file that part too much, you increase the chances of getting ingrown nails.
Once you get the shape of your nails to feel pretty good (it shouldn’t take very much filing), then you’re going to use the buffer. A few quick swipes are usually enough. Basically, this is the extra-fine sanding paper you’re using to remove any roughness left by the file. Doing it makes it far less likely that your fingernails will snag when you’re doing rough work with your hands later. Once you experience that change, you’ll finally, truly value your manicure.
The fingertips have had their love up to this point. Now, you’re going to work on the cuticles. This is something a lot of you have never done before, so pay a little more attention to this part. Cuticle care starts with that special oil you got. You’re going to dab a little big on a nail. You need to rub it a little so it isn’t dripping, but you should have oil to work with when you work the cuticles.
Use your cuticle shaper to push the cuticles back where they’re supposed to be. They like to wander off, and they can snag and get cut when they do. By pushing them back, you take one more source of irritation away from intense hand work.
You might be tempted to correct your cuticles without the oil. This is a mistake. Pushing dry cuticles is really just scraping them across the nail. It’s easy to damage them and even cause bleeding if you get lazy with your oil. It’s ugly and it defeats the entire purpose of doing a manicure in the first place.
When you’re correcting your cuticles, you might find that they need to be trimmed. You have scissors in your nail set that can accomplish this.
Congrats. You’ve given yourself a manicure. Moisturizing at the end is like giving a car a coat of wax. It protects the work you just put into your hands to help them stay healthy and, well, looking great. As long as you’re moisturizing your hands regularly (not just when you do a manicure), you should be in great shape. You now have healthier, tougher, cleaner hands.