Many a man have manned their manly hands with a manicure. Yet, the idea still sounds pretty feminine to most guys. But so did slim-cut pants. So did the color pink. So did… you get the drift. Talk to any guy who fancies himself a well-dressed man and he’ll tell you it’s all about the details. A statement clip on your paisley silk tie, a handsome timepiece on your wrist beside your perfectly ironed cuffs, nails that look like they belong to a nervous sixth-grader in public speaking class. Wait, what!?


Yes, she’s judging. Source:

The pecs and the biceps get the most attention when someone first assesses your desirability. And of course the face. But imagine if you were at a romantic restaurant for dinner with someone special, your hands are as exposed as your face is – and certainly more so than your super-ripped physique. You’re holding up your wine glass, straightening your collar, cutting the steak, adjusting your cuffs, holding your chin in amusement, lightly touching your date’s forearm across the table, passing your card to the waiter… If you have stubby nails gnawed raw at the edges or long talons with crusty dirt underneath, they cannot be a very appetizing sight.

How to maintain your nails so they blend perfectly with your good looks? A professional manicurist can take care of that. But how do you maintain your manliness at a nail salon (doesn’t it sound impossible already)? If you don’t want to be seen in one, how can you do it yourself at home? That’s what we’re here for.


Can this wait? It’s time for my manicure. Source: Dark Shadows.

A. Do it like you own it. Confidence is everything. Ever had that presentation for which you didn’t prepare enough but winged it like a boss? Same thing when you walk into a nail parlor. Go straight in, say you want a manicure, get seated. Better yet, make an appointment ahead of time. Once you’re with your manicurist, tell him or her that you would like short nails with no shine. If they’re cheeky and ask if you want color, laugh it off with a no – don’t get all nervous or uptight. Everything goes naturally from there. See? Simple. Now, more specific things to look out for. Make sure…

1. …your nails are shaped evenly with no kinks.

2. …the surface of your nails are buffed smoothly with no scratches left behind.

3. …your cuticles (the dead skin at the base of your nails) are pushed back and removed, but not such that the sensitive skin right below is irritated. If it is, the manicurist has pushed the cuticles too far down.

4. …any hardened or peeling skin on the sides of each nail is removed.

How do you find a good manicurist? Ask a friendly (or, friend-zoned) female friend who gets her nails done regularly. If you live in Los Angeles, there’s Hammer & Nails Salon, dedicated to manly manicures.


Now that I have your attention…tell me where you get your nails done, or else. Source:

B. Doing it on your own. If you have major hang-ups about being seen in a nail parlor amidst what would most likely be a bunch of women, doing it on your own is definitely an option – and a pretty simple one. The best time to trim your nails is after a shower, when your nails are softer and more malleable. Give your nails a trim every week or so. When they accumulate dirt underneath, it’s time to cut them short.

Start by getting a nail maintenance set. Any self-respecting pharmacy would carry them; you may have to look in the travel aisle. The simple set should include a nail clipper, a filing tool and/or a buffing stick. Some sets come with a pair of small curved scissors, which require more finesse to use. If you’re a beginner, start with the traditional nail clipper. Beauty Tools Perfect Manicure Kit, Sally Hansen, USD6.


Step 1: Clipping. Following the natural curvature of your fingertips, clip your nails up to the line between pink and white. Clipping them too close and expose the skin under the nail, and sometimes lead to an ingrown nail. If you want to be safe, leave just a sliver of white.

Step 2: Shaping. If you’re worried you’ve screwed the shape of your nail up, there’s still a chance to fix it. Use the file to smooth off the edge of the nail that you just cut, and shape the nail to your liking. For those with more rectangular nails, file the angles at both sides of the tip so that you are not left with sharp pointy ends. Always file the nail gently with a unidirectional, parallel motion to the edge, never perpendicularly. 


Nice nails, bro. You eating enough, though? Source: Interview with a Vampire.

Step 3: Buffing. Now that you’ve got the edges of your nails sorted out, it’s time to plane the surface of the nail. Depending on your genes, and sometimes your nutrition, your nails may develop ridges that run vertically down your nail. Use the pumice side (the roughest and darkest) of the buffer to slough off any imperfection, using a perpendicular motion with respect to your finger. Use the softer side of the buffer to smoothen the nail. If the nail is still uneven, repeat with pumice.

You should also use the pumice to lightly buff out the skin on your fingertips, being careful not to scratch the sensitive skin right below the root of your nail. Guys who lift weights may have rough skin on the underside of the fingers and on the palm – buffing can take care of that too. Some buffers come with a side for shining – skip it, or if you like a little gloss to your nails, use it sparingly. Unless you’re auditioning for the Rocky Horror Show.


Nailed it, Dr. Frank N. Furter. You nailed it. Source: Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Step 4: Protecting. If you work in an air-conditioned environment, or one that requires frequent hand washing, or if you have naturally dry hands, consider using a hand cream. Not only will it make your hands a pleasure to hold, it will ensure your nails are healthy. Plus, the skin around your nails won’t flake and peel so easily. If your nails are particularly rough, a hand cream with keratin may help. Intensive Care Healthy Hands Stronger Nails Non-Greasy Lotion, Vaseline, USD5.


Doing it in the privacy of your own home is great, but unless you’re confident in doing it right, you shouldn’t attempt removing cuticles. That’s where getting a manicure comes in. It’s also nice to pamper your hands once in a while. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, so pop in for a manicure (and a pedicure while you’re at it) once every month or two, and you’ll be happy you did it.