The early 21st century has been a great time for men who care about their appearance. Fashion and grooming are in. It’s cool to care about how you present yourself. Nail care is a tough subject to get people interested in, particularly men.
And that’s too bad, because most men are caring for their nails improperly. No one likes to hear that the way they’ve always done things is wrong but swallow that bitter pill, gentlemen, and read on, because unless you’re in the very small minority that knows the ins and outs of manicures, you’re probably not doing your nails any favors.
Mistake #1: Improper Hygiene
Health, rather than beauty, is the number one reason this stuff matters. Nails and cuticles are part of the body. As such, they’re also potential entry points into the body, just like the rest of your skin, pores, etc.
That means anything on your nail clippers can get into your body. Using the same nail clippers on your toenails and fingernails is a great way to spread fungus and bacteria, resulting in bad smells and potentially painful infections. In one extremely rare case, a woman from Brazil even caught HIV from her cousin’s manicure set.
The takeaway lesson here: Own your own set of nail care tools, with separate devices for feet and hands, and wash the implements regularly with a disinfectant. Even if you’re just using fingernail clippers (something we can hopefully get you to improve upon), make sure they’re washed out before and after use. Gross stuff gets under fingernails.
Mistake #2: Relying Exclusively on Clippers
The default manicure for most men isn’t a manicure at all. It’s a quick pass down the hand with compound-lever clippers (those little springy ones with the jaw-like blades and the lever that swings up and around).
Compound-lever clippers are cheap, portable, and convenient, all of which appeal to consumers. Unfortunately, they’re also terrible for your nails.
The mechanism is physically brutal. You’re smashing two wedges down on your nail to sever it. Since most cheap clippers are made from soft steel, the edges dull quickly, which means you’re smashing two blunt wedges down — it’s basically a miniaturized version of slamming your nail in a doorjamb!
The blunt-force trauma tears the nail and almost guarantees uneven regrowth. That in turn means more frequent trimming, using more strokes of the clipper to even out the shape, which compounds the problem during the next growth cycle.
Instead of mashing away with the same old pair of clippers, invest in a decent manicure set with multiple clippers (plier type as well as compound-lever), and more importantly, multiple sets of nail scissors. Scissors cut from an outer edge, expanding the cut in a straight line, rather than clamping down and smashing through top-to-bottom, which is easier on the nail and allows for more precise cutting.
Mistake #3: Using Low-Quality Steel
If you don’t have a manufacturing or metallurgical background, you might think of steel as a single, consistent metal, but it’s actually a blend of iron and carbon that can be formulated many different ways, resulting in many different properties.
Manicure tools work best when they’re made from steel with a high carbon content. Since the tools usually can’t be sharpened or adjusted after manufacture, they only last as long as their edge stays sharp — after that you’re effectively trimming your nails by clamping a pair of dull pliers down and yanking, which is more like a torture method than a manicure.
Unfortunately, carbon steel is susceptible to rust, which is a bad trait in tools that frequently live in bathrooms. The cheap solution is stainless steel, which resists rust but also doesn’t hold an edge for long. The expensive solution is a high-carbon stainless steel — expensive to produce, and only made in a few places, but perfect for manicure sets.
Here are the three steps to proper nail care:
1) Invest in a proper nail care set
2) Learn to properly use the set
3) Set up a weekly routine where you stay on top of nail maintenance.
Sounds incredibly simple – but most men fail at all three. Don’t be like most men.
It all sounds like a lot on paper, but really it’s pretty straightforward: spend the money upfront to get a proper manicure set, hand-assembled and made from quality steel, and use all the tools including the file.
This article is brought to you by Zamberg.com – Quality Grooming Products