When I was in school to become a manicurist (nearly 20 years ago), it was not very common to have male clients. I was one of the few who had a gentleman come in once a week to have his nails trimmed, filed, and buffed. Now, he was not there because he had feminine tendencies, he just wanted to look the best that he could, from head to toe, and he kept himself up well. This included his hands and nails.
Today, things are much different. Although I am not in the business anymore, I tend to notice the professional products that are selling well and new lines that are out. I also notice the manicurists when I enter a salon where they are visible. It used to amaze me when I would see a man at a manicure station, but I see it so often now that it is no longer a shock. Male grooming has been on the rise for several years and the products offered in your local discount store prove it. Even without major marketing campaigns, the male lines are selling like crazy. This interest in male grooming includes better hand and nail care for many men.
Ten years ago, when I was still doing manicures as a service offered through my cosmetology, I was charging $15 per manicure. This was just a simple manicure, which takes much less time than a ladies manicure as there is no polishing and drying involved although I did apply a clear, matte finish to some nails on men. The main salon I visit now is charging $25 to $30 for a mans manicure, depending on the effort and time involved.
The matte finish clear polish was what I now see as the beginning of the progression of products designed for male manicures. Actually, the company who made it promoted it (to manicurists and cosmetologists, not the general public) as a polish for men. Today, I often see this matte finish polish on manicure stations when they have a male client.
You can achieve the same effect at home without spending as much as you would for one manicure in the salon I use. The money you initially spend will cover future manicures as well with replacement of certain implements on occasion. While you can purchase full kits for as much as $60, there is absolutely no need for that.
To perform an at home manicure, you will need: a 4 way buffer, a pair of nail clippers (I recommend toenail clippers because of the width of the nail), a soft toothbrush, a hand towel or washcloth, and a bowl filled with warm water and a mild, antibacterial soap. If you like, you may want to get a bottle of cuticle oil, but many men opt to avoid this step. Even if you have just washed you hands, you need to use the antibacterial soap in your water; if you should happen to cut yourself, you do not want bacteria to enter the wound.
Dip one hand in the warm water for about five minutes. Take it out, brush the tops of the nails and under the free edge (white tip), and dry with your hand towel (or washcloth). To dry the nails, rub the towel up your nail, pushing against the cuticle. If you always dry your hands this way (after hand washing, showering, etc), your cuticles will naturally become exfoliated and look neater. I do not recommend using cuticle nippers or scissors because they will cause your cuticle to become thicker in time.
Trim your nails using the nail clippers. This should not go into the corners of the nail as it can cause a variety of conditions (especially on toes when you cut the corners too deep). On your 4 way buffer, you can feel the different grits by feeling how rough each section is. Use the roughest section and file the free-edge, rounding the corners (you do not want to scratch anyone).
Using the surface that is the slightly smoother, go back along the edges, removing the filings that you can see. Rub your finger across each edge, smoothing rough places with this same section of the file.
Now, using the smoothest surface (aside from the grey, rubber section), lightly buff the tops of your nails to remove light ridges. Deep ridges cannot be removed because you file too much nail away trying to get rid of them.
Finally, buff the nail with the rubber section of your 4 way buffer. If you opted to use cuticle oil (I recommend it when you have dry, splitting cuticles), apply a tiny amount to each cuticle and massage into the nail and cuticle.
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