You use your hands for many things. (Not just that, steady.) Like shaking other people’s, or holding your other half’s. So it’s best if they’re not dirty, dry or peeling. In short: make sure your mitts aren’t gross.
This is the step-by-step guide to making sure your alice bands are worth touching, from essential at-home grooming tips (and the kit you need to do it) to the professional services you can tap if you don’t trust yourself to wield the nail scissors.
Clip And File
Leave claws to the cats. Clip and file your nails at least once a week, and make sure you do it right. “Nails should always be clipped straight across and then filed into a round or square shape,” says Bharat Parmar, managing director at Genco Male Grooming.
“Be careful not to take the nail length too short as this can cause stress on the free edge and encourage ingrowing nails.” After a shower is best, since the hot water softens the keratin (the same substance ends up as nails, hair or, in animal horns) to make it easier to cut.
That long thing your female friend likes rubbing on her nails actually serves a purpose. When you cut your nails, you leave sharp edges. “Use a buffer to smooth out any bumps in the nail bed and to add a healthy shine,” says Bharat. Resist finishing with nail polish at all costs.
Scholl Velvet Smooth Nail Gadget, available at Mankind, priced £29.99.
Care For Your Cuticles
While we’re on the subject, it’s not just the nail itself that needs attention. Your cuticles are the fleshy bits where nail meets finger. You might be tempted to cut them. Follow that instinct if you enjoy infections.
Instead, Bharat recommends you massage a drop of oil into the nail bed, then push the cuticle back where it belongs. Just try to ignore how much it hurts.
Keep Them Clean
What lies behind the nail is something you’d probably rather not think about, but out of sight shouldn’t be out of mind. Your mum’s nailbrush is still the most effective tech; soak your hands in hot water then buff until there’s no soil/food/god knows lurking beneath the white.
Kent Brushes NB3 Nail Brush, available at Niven & Joshua, priced £9.
Get Rid Of The Rough Stuff
A sign of your manliness and gym dedication they may be, but few things kill a sensual massage like cheese grater palms. Before getting personal, soak your hands in warm water for 15-20 minutes to soften the skin then rub gently with a pumice stone or microplane. A moisturiser with skin-softening almond and B5 will finish the job.
Go For An Actual Manicure
If all else fails/you’re too busy to think about nail clippers, it’s time to hit the salon. And no, that doesn’t mean bright pink talons with leopard print dots. Cool as that may be.
Getting a male manicure doesn’t usually mean polish at all. What it does mean is an expert soaking, filing, buffing and moisturising to the point that your hands become touchable. Become nice, even. There’s a growing number of male-only spots too – so you don’t need to worry about bumping into your mum or sister as she gets her monthly Shellac fix.