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Give Yourself a Manicure | Nail Care

Fingernail care is something we all do in one way or another.  If nothing else, we shorten them; be it by cutting or biting, since they constantly grow.  But there's more to maintaining them than just shortening if you want to properly groom and maximize their appearance.  Nail care isn't rocket science or very time consuming.  Twenty minutes a week is all it should take to keep them manicured and looking as good as the rest of you.

Fingernails often go unnoticed by others unless they're nasty and in poor condition.  Nothing makes people cringe like shaking a hand, or being touched by someone with dirty, untrimmed, raggedy nails.  I know none of you want to be that guy, so by following a few simple steps, you'll never have to worry about what people see or think.

Trim your nails weekly.

Whether you use a fingernail clipper, scissors, or nail file –keep them short.  1/8th inch in length is a good length for men.  If you go longer, just make sure they don't extend past the tip of your finger.  Make a straight cut along the tip of the nail, versus trimming them in a semi-circle.  You can then shape them with a nail file.  Doing it this way avoids the risk of cutting them too short on the sides, which can open up the cuticle area and invite bacteria.  Gentlemen, please refrain from biting your nails.  I understand this is a difficult habit to break, but do what you can to avoid it.  Bitten nails are always noticeable and look really foul.  Nail clippers, scissors and files can be found in grocery stores and pharmacies.

File nails after you cut.

The reason for this is to shape the nail, and smooth out any rough or sharp edges that cutting typically causes.  Whether you choose a metal file, which nail clippers usually come equipped with, or an emery board (a file made of sand paper), always file in one direction.  Start at one corner and do two short strokes towards the middle, and then one long stroke to blend.  Repeat the process until you achieve your desired results, then move to the other corner and repeat the action until your nails are smooth and nicely shaped.  This will make the nail smoother than if you go in both directions.  Emery boards can be found in any store that sells other nail care items and are very inexpensive.

Keep your nails clean.

I recommend this task be done at a sink and not in the shower for the sake of water conservation.  Regardless, just do it!  The best tool to use for the job is a nailbrush.  The bristles are firm and able to reach hard to get dirt that often gets trapped under guys' nails, especially those hands who do dirty jobs.  The tip of a metal file has a point to it, designed to scrape dirt away, also.  Be careful not to get too rough and stab yourself, since finger tips are sensitive.  Worse yet, punctured fingers can become infected and that's really no fun.

Groom the cuticles when needed.

The cuticle is the outermost layer of skin found at the base of the nail.  Healthy cuticles prevent bacteria from entering the nail area, which could cause inflammation and infection, known as paronychia: so it's best not to remove them completely.  The cuticle naturally grows up the nail and isn't pretty, especially if it's dry and cracked.  There are various techniques to grooming cuticles.  The first step should always be moistening the cuticles, so they're easier to work with.  This can be done by soaking your fingers in water, or applying lotion or oil to the cuticles for several minutes before you get started.  Once the skin is soft, using the blunt end of a cuticle pusher, gently push the cuticle back towards the finger's first joint.  (The cuticle pushing tool also has a curved pointed head at one end, which does a great job of cleaning dirt from under the nails.)  Then, using either a cuticle remover, or cuticle scissors (both found wherever nail care products are sold), trim the excess skin away.  Trimming the cuticle will make the nail bed appear longer and prevent hangnails.  There's no doubt about it – groomed cuticles definitely make a manicure look better.  You can find videos online demonstrating cuticle trimming if you're unsure of how to do it.

Pushing the cuticle back and not trimming the excess skin is also an option.  This is usually done to avoid the increased risk of infection that trimming cuticles can cause.  It's up to you – just don't let them grow wild.

Buff nails for a healthy shine.

Buffing takes a few extra minutes, but puts a nice shine on nails without the use of polish.  Nails often get ridges, especially as we age, and buffing will eliminate them.  Buffers are not expensive and are in the nail care section.  Follow the instructions and you'll have younger looking, more attractive hands.  Buffing makes your nails look professionally manicured, which always looks good, and adds a nice touch to any occasion a suit is worn.

Occasionally, I still see men wearing clear polish.  This is a personal preference – one I don't care for at all – so, I suggest buffing instead of polishing if you want your nails to have a sheen.  Those who wear black or colored nail polish as part of their style...  that, too, is up to you.

Two common fingernail problems are fungus and stains, which should be addressed, since both look awful, and will defeat any and all efforts you put into nail grooming.  Stains, often caused by cigarettes burning too close to the fingers, chemicals, and nail polish, turn nails a dull yellow color.  Some illnesses, like psoriasis, can cause nails to yellow, also, but I'm referring to actual stains.  Fingernail fungus is no different than toenail fungus, except you can't hide it with a pair of shoes.  It's unattractive and unhealthy, so take care of business.

Fingernail Stains

  1. A simple solution to stains is to squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon into a glass bowl; then add one half cup of water and stir.  Save the squeezed lemon for later use.
  2. Soak your nails in the lemon water for five minutes.  The lemon's acid will bleach the stains, and should remove, or, at least, lighten them.
  3. Remove hands from lemon mixture and dry.  Grab that squeezed lemon you saved and rub it on your nails.
  4. After about one minute, wash your nails and hands with soap, dry, and apply some hand lotion to moisturize your skin.
  5. This procedure can be performed every few days if needed, but don't do it so much that your skin becomes compromised from the lemon's acidity.


Nail Fungus

Nail fungus is not easy to eradicate.  Early treatment will always be more effective than waiting until you have a full blown infection – so don't wait!  Nail fungus can easily spread to the surrounding skin, making your hands red, inflamed and peel; basically the same as athlete's foot.

Treatment options include both topical and oral medications.  Although oral medications are generally more effective than topical treatment, topical therapy avoids possible side effects associated with oral medications.  It's best to try topical medications first, especially if the infection is new or minor.  There are several types of medications available, which can be found in a pharmacy.  Some require a doctor's prescription, but others can be bought over-the-counter.  Natural products like bleach, povidone iodine, tea tree oil, and oregano oil are some options that can be effective, but are not a guarantee.  Unfortunately, no topical remedy is a guarantee; including pharmaceuticals.  Regardless of what you use, topical agents are usually the first line of defense for early nail fungal infections.  For severe fungal infections, seek the advice of a doctor.  A general practitioner or dermatologist are doctors who treat nail fungus.

It doesn't take long to make your nails looks good.  We all know in order to do a job right, we need to have the right tools.  You can normally purchase everything you need in one store and probably for less than $20.00.  Take your time and pay attention to details for the best results.  If trimming and buffing aren't your thing, find a salon that gives men's  manicures.  There are plenty!  Making nail care part of your grooming ritual will pay off big time.  It's one more way to up your image and show the world you truly are an alpha male with superior standards.  Now, make me proud!

by Aaron Marino

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
Manscaping | Reputable Waxing Salons -
May 7, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. has a negative experience at a waxing chain. He gets his nose waxed at a non-chain location, but last week he went with his friend to a a chain. He went to the European Wax Center (chain). He signed waivers and answered all of their questions about waxing experiences. Aaron typically is in-and-out in 3-mintues. This place is taking up to 20-minutes, which they explained thRead More»
Virtual Grooming Session | Before and After Michael -
April 17, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. just finished with a virtual grooming session. Michael, the client,  just got out of a long relationship and his self esteem is low. He was not feeling that good about himself, and he wanted a 'freshening up' such as new hair style. Aaron presents Michael's before picture. He has overgrown hair, bushy eye brows, and a big & full goatee. Aaron saw what's underneath. SiRead More»
Acne Treatment Option -
April 11, 2012
Acne Treatment Guide Aaron Marino of alpha m. discusses the difference between the occasional pimple and acne. He also introduces David who has made his mission to help people battle acne. David has an OTC system to cure acne, using products you can find at your local stores. Acne is a big issue so if you have it, take care of it.   Read More»
Grooming Regimen and Schedule -
April 10, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. discusses the importance to sticking to a grooming schedule and addresses what to groom. Pretty much Alpha grooms everything once a week: legs, arms, chest, nipples, privates, eyebrows, and nostrils. He also trims his facial hair twice a week with is beard trimmer on a #3. Facial hair should look good and be properly groomed all the time because if not, it can make you looRead More»

Bad Breath | Horrible Halitosis -
April 9, 2012
Bad breath; we all have it sometimes – some more than others, but no one’s exempt.  It ranks up there with some of the nastiest odors known to man, and can definitely be a game changer if left untreated. Mornings and certain foods like garlic and onions have a way of victimizing us all.  However, those situations can be easily remedied with a toothbrush or piece of gum, but what about the moRead More»
Male Pattern Baldness | Revivogen Natural Solution -
March 15, 2012
Revivogen Ain't nothing exciting about losing your hair. It's tough emotionally and sucks at any age. But Alpha's excited about a new natural hair loss treatment- anti-aging for your hair! Alpha talked to a doctor, Stephen, did research, and followed-up with the actual company. First, Aaron Marino of alpha m. talks about the biology behind male pattern baldness in detail. In summary, the key to Read More»
Men's Hair Makeover | Collin's Edgy and Youthful Teen Style -
February 13, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. conducts a grooming consultation regarding a new hair cut and style. Collin's ready for a hair cut but wants something edgy and youthful. He's had long hair of varying degrees of length, and he's decided on a new style. Collin likes change, and he's had the same hair for the last 2 years. Aaron warns Collin of the extra expense and time needed for a shorter hair style. ColRead More»
Foot Care 101 -
February 6, 2012
Feet: something our entire body depends on, yet, are too often taken for granted.  Men, especially, tend to ignore these invaluable body parts that are the foundation of which we stand.  Think about it… your feet carry and support every pound of your body weight.  That’s a big job! It’s not until there’s a problem that most men pay attention and take care of their feet the way they deseRead More»
Perspiration | Don't Sweat It! -
February 2, 2012
Let’s talk about sweat.  Everyone does it; some more than others, and men typically do it more than women.  We sweat in order to maintain our body temperature; to keep ourselves from getting dangerously overheated.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we sweat when we’re physically active, like during exercise, and when we are nervous, like on a date or job interview.  It’s understandable whRead More»

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