Although going out to get a manicure or pedicure done by a professional esthetician is the best way to ensure your nail care is handled correctly, there are many guys who opt to learn how to do their mani/pedis on their own. And to be quite honest, it’s not that hard to get a grip on. So if you don’t have the time, money or desire to have someone else spiff up your nails, here are a few things to keep in mind when first attempting to be your own nail salon:
1. Don’t Be A Straight Shooter
While most guys would think just cutting your fingernails straight across would be the way to go, you still need to cut your nails at an angle. This is because the curve of the blade doesn’t match the curve of your nail. In a perfect world, you should actually be clipping the nail three or four times as you go across the top. Clipping straight-on can painfully damage your nails.
2. Follow Your Natural Guide
If you’re having trouble figuring out what shape your nails should be cut in, take a look at your cuticles. The curved shape of the cuticle should be a mirror reflection of the top of your nail. But since the top is often wider than the cuticle, you may have to adjust your shaping a bit to make it look even with your cuticles.
3. Chill Out With The Lumberjack Cut
One of the biggest mistakes guys makes when cutting their own nails is cutting too far down the nail. This not only can be painful, it can also damage the nerve endings underneath the nail beds. As for nail length, there’s a small spectrum of acceptable lengths. You should leave at least a sliver of “white” at the top of your nails—that space where the nail starts to separate from the skin it protects. If you look at your fingers from the side, the whites of the nails shouldn’t be so long that they start to divorce the rounded shape of the finger. If the nail is so long that it extends past the fingertips, you’re due for a trim.
4. Filing Is Your Friend
Odds are that you’re not going to get a perfectly smooth edge when cutting with nail clippers. Although many clippers come with a built-in file, it’s nothing when compared to the results of using a good ol’ fashioned emery board. You can use one to smoothen the arch of the nails after a trim, or you can file your nails every few days to maintain your desired length.
5. Stay Buff
If you want to really feel like a nail pro, you can get a second, gentler file, called a buff, to smooth out the top of your nails. This also helps removes any abnormalities along the top of the nail, and results in an even, polished look. There are buffers available with various sides for different levels of smoothness and shine, depending on the appearance you’re going for. Check out what each side of the buffer will do to make sure you’re not polishing them too much, or not enough.