Take Care of Your Fingernails

Allen Smithee

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Long ago I heard that women looked at men's fingernails. I started doing something about it. A clip or bite just wasn't enough anymore.

I present you with Allan Smithee's guide to home manicure.
Tools you will need: Nail brush, nail clipper, nail file or emery board, cuticle pusher or similar device. Optional: cuticle cream, orange sticks, nail buffer.
  1. The biggest no-no is dirt under fingernails. If you're really filthy, you'll need to pick stuff out of there but a quick scrub while washing hands should be fine on most days. Finding a brush of adequate stiffness is surprisingly hard and I've found the Eppco brush sold at Sears to be best.
  2. Trim. Men's nails should be short. They should certainly not extend past the fingertip. Clip so that there is a bit of that white edge showing, but not much. Follow the curve of the fintertip as much as possible.
  3. Nail clippers leave sharp edges. Use a file to smooth them out and refine the shape. A few passes in either direction is all it takes. Don't file wet nails.
  4. That's the minimum. For bonus points, more detailing is required. On a working man, the cuticle is dry and scragly and has worked it's way up the nail. Soak, or at least rinse, in warm water to soften this up. If you have cuticle cream, apply it now.
  5. Now push the cuticle back away from the fingertip. There are dedicated cuticle pushers, little wood orange sticks, etc. I use the end of a file on a Swiss Army knife. A butter knife may work. Be gentle here. It should not hurt. It helps to pull the skin behind the nail while doing this.
  6. Another rinse and going over with a nail brush will remove loose particles.
  7. Buffing, in moderation, is nice. A nail buffer is basically a very fine grit on a foam board. Every drug store has them for a buck or two. Just rub across the nail a few times. You can go nuts and get very glossy results but a satin finish is probably better.
Do this every week or two and you'll look like a gentleman and not some monkey in a suit.
 
You've got city hands, Mr. Street. You've been counting money all your life.
I work in the arts so I have no idea what do do about gnarly calloused hands. Can you pumice that stuff? Would sleeping with your hands in gloves filled with vaseline work?
 
Factory workers here literally scrub up using Lava soap and scotchbrite abrasive pads. Harsh, but it gets the grime out.
 
The liquified kind.

gojo.jpg
 
Why should I push the cuticle back? Some female companion of mine told me that would expose myself to horrible nail infections.
 
Why should I push the cuticle back? Some female companion of mine told me that would expose myself to horrible nail infections.
Because they creep up and it shortens the nail and looks unkempt. It's the same reason that lawns are edged to keep the grass from covering the sidewalk. The shortened visible nail visibly shortens the finger. Ideally, the nail is longer than it is wide, like a tie knot. The crept up cuticle is rarely a desirable rounded shape either.
BAD
cuticleovergrowth-300x216.jpg

It's like a dental cleaning. If done regularly and in good shape, it's a simple task. If things are grossly neglected, there will be blood. Use some peroxide or Neosporin. It's a cut, not worse than a shaving cut. Anyone that can avoid other infections will be fine.
 
All I need is a small nail clipper, warm water and about 1 hour.

-I trim my nails either before or after.
-Soak 1 hand.
-Trim cuticles.
-Soak other.
-Trim other.
-Tidy up any stray stuff.

Done. I get mucho compliments on my nice hands.
 
I've never liked trimming my cuticles unless they're very long. I feel like I get opened up to more infections that way. Pushing with a bit of scraping off of long pieces usually gets the job done.
 
Is it because of my genetics but my cuticles are never like that photograph above. They're barely half a millimetre and only protruding over the white part of the nail. I don't ever recall seeing it move past the white part.
 
Is it because of my genetics but my cuticles are never like that photograph above. They're barely half a millimetre and only protruding over the white part of the nail. I don't ever recall seeing it move past the white part.
That's a rather aggressive example. You basically just want no cuticle showing. It doesn't need to be pushed back into the nail bed too far.
 
I really find that scrubbing and buffing does much for dry scraggy cuticles. I also think that a light buff is much like a brush-shine on shoes, a big improvement for a little work.
 
I was going to have the lady at the barber I go to do it but I also heard about these horrific stories of poor sterilization and infections. I assume everyone in this thread is doing their manicure work by themselves.
 
I was going to have the lady at the barber I go to do it but I also heard about these horrific stories of poor sterilization and infections. I assume everyone in this thread is doing their manicure work by themselves.


I am. Like I said in my previous post, all I need is a small nail clipper and a bowl with warm water. Take me 1 hour.
 
I've never paid a dime for someone to beautify my hands. The tools are at any drug store and far from expensive. I strongly suspect these infection stories come from people that either have no immune system or are hideously unhygienic bastards. I have never had an issue.
 
I went with an ex GF once as she was getting a mani/pedi before we went to the Dominican Rep. She convinced me to get a pedi. I did. The woman asked if I wanted a mani also. I showed her my hands and said.."I don't need one." She smiled.
 

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