For both men and women, basic nail care is the same. Keep your nails clean, trimmed and filed to a length
and in a shape that you find comfortable and pleasing. For some women this means long, claw-like talons, while for others it means short and
serviceable. Men, on the other hand generally prefer short, and some prefer their nails to be trimmed very short - to the point where there is
very little, if any, free edge visible.
There are countless places available these days to go and get your nails done. However, some people
(men especially) balk at the idea of going into a nail salon. I'm personally surprised that men's barber shops haven't begun offering manicures
as a service, in order to meet this need. It would also help to reduce the wait time that is often customary in a men only barbering shop.
Fortunately, you don't have to go to a nail salon in order to get proper nail care. You can take care of the
basics on your own. It just takes a few simple tools and the desire to do something to care for your nails.
What You Need:
Nail Clippers: These are the standard nail trimming tools that everyone needs. Nail
clippers are relatively inexpensive and you should always get the best possible quality of clippers that you can find. A good quality pair of
nail clippers will cost you less that US $10 and will last you a lifetime. A good nail clipper will cut cleanly without needing to exert a lot
of pressure. Poorly made or dull clippers can end up tearing the nails and can lead to problems (not to mention pain) if the nail tears into the nail plate.
Nail File or emery board: Another inexpensive item that you should buy for quality is a
Nail file. These are used to pare down and shape the nails as desired, and to smooth the edges of the nails after clipping. The nail file can be
metal and designed to last a long time, or plastic coated with grit for durable wear (although not permanent). Or you can use emery boards
which are small cardboard files coated with a different coarseness of sandpaper-like grit on each side. These are designed for single use and
should be discarded afterward.
Nail Brush: This is a small brush with short bristles designed to clean into the grooves at
the sides and under the free edge of the nail. It is useful for removing dirt and debris that gets into the crevices at the tips of the fingers.
Cuticle Pusher or Orangewood Stick and cotton balls with lotion: The cuticle pusher is a tool
designed to gently slide the cuticle back from the nail plate. In the normal course of growth, the cuticle can extend onto the nail plate and
become bothersome. Many cuticle pushers come with a rubberized tip to gently buff away dead cuticle skin from the nail plate. Orangewood sticks
are disposable wooden rods that are cut at an angle to provide a tapered flat edge for pushing back the cuticle. Both cuticle pushers and
orangewood stick should be wrapped with a small amount of cotton before using, and a small amount of lotion should be applied to the cuticle
beforehand to soften it and aid in the process.
Sanding Block: This is a rectangular foam block that is coated with a fine grit. It is used
for smoothing out ridges in the surface of the nail.
Cuticle Oil: This is a light emollient designed to absorb quickly and keep the cuticle
soft and healthy. It prevents painful cracking and drying that can occur in some cases.
Nail Buffer and buffing cream or Buffer Stick: The nail buffer is an elongated foam
rubber tool covered with a chamois. It is used with a special cream that acts as a fine smoothing paste to "polish" the surface of the nail and
give it a shine. Most men prefer to have their nails buffed instead of using clear polish. The Buffer stick looks like a nail file of sorts with
rubberized panels of differing hardness to smooth and buff the surface of the nail without any additional product. It takes longer than the
Buffer and cream method, but has the benefit that it can be used anywhere. Done properly, both the buffer and cream and the buffer stick will
give the nails a high glossy finish that will last a long time.
Clear Nail Polish (basecoats, topcoats), Colored Nail Polishes: These are nail enamels that
are designed to give shine to the nails, or add a fashionable color.