The man mani. Manicured nails – on a man. Yes, we understand the cringable nature of such a concept, that you may consider it a grave affront to your masculinity, but we’re not talking inch-long talons or glitter nail polish. Rather, think of it as an extension of your personal grooming routine.
Women are more obsessed with your hands than you could possibly imagine. We see neat, clean, strong hands, and we fantasise about them stroking our skin or caressing our hair. Blame the James Bond franchise if you like. Or Rolex ads. But there you have it.
So without further ado, here it is: the basic once-a-week, 10-minute man mani:
1. First things first: get thee a nail-care tool box, including an orange stick, a nail file, cuticle cream, pumice stone or foot file, cuticle scissors, hand cream and a nail buffer. (All available at pharmacies.)
2. Using the nail file, gently file the edges of your nails until you have a neat ‘squoval’ (somewhere between a square and an oval). Only use a nail clipper if your nails are (shudder) exceptionally long, then file as suggested. A cardboard emery board is suggested for thinner nails, while a metal emery board is more effective for thicker, stronger nails.
3. Rub a small amount of cuticle cream into each nail.
4. Now, soak your nails in soapy warm water for about 10 minutes, if you have time, as this will help to soften your cuticles and loosen any dirt under your fingernails. Alternatively you can skip this step, or simply take a shower or bath, and continue with your manicure afterwards.
5. Use a soft flat nailbrush to scrub your nails as well as the skin on your hands (again, this can be done in the bath or shower).
6. A pumice stone or foot file moistened in the warm water can soften rough edges around your fingernails as well as any calluses on your palms and fingers. It also removes most stains that don’t respond to regular soap and water.
7. Dry your hands and use an orange stick or an implement that has a rubber point to gently push back your cuticles. Avoid a metal instrument here.
8. Trim and neaten any hangnails or scraggly bits with cuticle scissors. Now clean under your nails with your orange stick (the opposite end used to push back your cuticles).
9. Apply hand cream or lotion at this stage, if desired. Most big beauty brands offer hand and body creams for men, which are perfectly adequate for this purpose.
10. Last but not least, buff your nails to improve circulation and smooth any ridges or bumps on the nail surface. Buff in one direction only and don’t move the buffer over your nail too quickly, as your nail may overheat from the friction (strange but true).
NOTE: If you’d prefer to call in the pros, many spas offer manicures specifically tailored for men – think of it the same way we women do: it’s a nice little treat, just for you.