asap rocky manicure
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CUTTING YOUR nails once a week – preferably after a bath or shower, to soften them and make them easier to trim – is basic. But looking after that rough, flaky skin around the nail bed? That’s where it’s worth calling in the professionals. And by that we mean taking the time for a manicure and/or pedicure.

Manicures and pedicures for men are about taking care of the entire hand and foot, not just the nails, and can help improve the look of them exponentially. Getting regular manicures and pedicures——and even wearing clear polish to protect your nails——isn’t just about how your hands and feet look, though. They can also help keep them healthy.

But don’t take it from us, nail care for men has been on the rise over the last few years (quite possibly thanks to the hand washing and sanitising bonanza we experienced during the pandemic). Seen decorating the fingertips of Harry Styles, Machine Gun Kelly, Drake and every man in Fitzroy; the man-icure has shifted from a boundary-pushing, (painted) middle finger to traditional masculine dress, to a relatively destigmatised part of a man’s grooming routine.

Sure, you don’t have to sport eye-popping nail art like A$AP Rocky, but looking after your hands and feet should become part of your regular grooming routine. And if you have no idea where to start, you’ve luckily come to the right place.

Here, everything you need to know.

Why do I need to look after my nails?

Keeping your nails in check isn’t just for aesthetic reasons. Getting or giving yourself regular manicures helps them stay strong and keeps the delicate skin around them—called the cuticle—healthy. This will prevent painful hangnails that can let in bacteria and fungus.

If you do think you have a fungal infection around your nails (they are quite common), you should be treated by a dermatologist, but the best thing to do is prevent them in first place by keeping your cuticles hydrated and hangnail free.

Another reason to keep your nails in check is to keep them strong. Without regular upkeep, nails can become weak, giving them a dull, powdery white or yellow appearance. Naturally, weak nails tend to break more easily, which can be painful especially if they break or tear far enough to expose the nail bed.

Why should men get pedicures?

Regular foot care is important for your overall health. Why? Because a lot of diseases actually manifest themselves in the feet like fungal infections, ingrown toenails and athlete’s foot. Some people can even develop dangerous skin cancers like melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (which can be deadly if left untreated), too.

Pedicures can also help prevent and control foot-related health issues and keep your feet looking sandal-ready in the process.

What should I look out for when choosing a salon?

When going to a nail salon to get a professional job, make sure they open a new pack of tools in front of you and the license of the person working on you is clearly displayed. Even semi-regular professional manicures can make a huge difference in the health of your hands and nails.

What kind of manicure should a man get?

At its most basic level, a manicure for men entails softening the skin on the hands, filing down the nails, and shaping the cuticles. You can go as simple as a ‘clean-up with no polish’ or you can go all out with some nail art. (More on that below).

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How to do a basic manicure at home

If you can’t make it to a professional, aren’t comfortable or just want upkeep between visits, manicures are also easy to do yourself in the comfort of your own home. Here’s how:

  1. Clip your nails with a nail clipper, starting with the sides of the nail, to your desired length.
  2. Use a nail file to smooth out the cut edge of the nail. Always move the file in one direction otherwise the nail will peel.
  3. Apply cuticle remover to the edges of your nail where it touches skin. Then use a cuticle pusher to gently push back the cuticle from the surface of the nail. “
  4. Use a tiny bit of cuticle oil to moisturise the cuticle. If your hands look dry or ashy, use a hand scrub to remove the dead skin from all over your hands.
  5. Apply a moisturising hand cream. Make sure to massage it into the cuticles around your nails and between your fingers.
  6. If you want, use a buffer to buff your nails till they shine (how much shine is up to you). For even more shine, and added protection if you have weak nails, this is where you would apply clear polish (or coloured polish if that’s your vibe).

How to do a basic pedicure at home

If you can’t find an hour out of your schedule to get a professional pedicure, you’re missing out. But you can do it yourself if you’re so inclined. Here’s how:

  1. Soak your feet for at least 10 minutes in warm water and Epsom salts. This will help soften and hydrate dead skin and dry patches for easier removal.
  2. Remove any rough, dry calluses with a pumice stone to exfoliate the feet.
  3. Clip your toenails straight across using a straight-edge toenail clipper. Never cut too deep into the corners, since that could potentially cause an ingrown situation leading to infection. Always cut them straight across and not too short.
  4. File the freshly-clipped nails using an emory board to smooth away any rough edges.
  5. Put on some foot cream and rub it in well.

What if I want a colour?

The key is to give zero fucks. Own that fact that by painting your nails, it’s just another style choice like option for boots instead of brogues.

In terms of colour choice, pick a dark, neutral colour that would go with most of the clothes you wear. Navy, grey, black…you know, classic suit colours. They won’t clash with most clothes and are subtle enough that some people may not even notice at first. Harry Styles’ blue/pink combos and Bad Bunny’s neon yellow are advanced swerves, but nothing’s stopping you there either—you just have to be ready for a few more people to notice.

What are the nail trends for men in 2024?

The clean, minimal look is always in style for men’s nails, but if you’re looking for something a little more fun, here are 5 to consider:

Neutral Polish: A neutral colour like beige, taupe or light grey gives suit most skin tones and add subtle sophistication. Matte top coats work well with neutral shades, adding a subtle textured finish.

Metallic: Think gunmetal, bronze and copper metallic shades. These shades reflect light subtly and complement most skin tones. Apply two thin coats of medium to dark metallic polish for the best colour payoff.

Geometric Shapes: Simple geometric shapes like thin parallel lines, triangles and chevrons in black or white polish are a really cool way to do something different that’s still masculine. Use painter’s tape to create neat lines and sharp angles.

Nail Stickers: For the easiest form of nail art, try some cool stickers. You can get a bunch of simple geometric or minimalist shapes in white or metallic shades that complement short nails. Apply the stickers and seal with a top coat for durability.

Negative Space: The negative space nail design leaves some of the bare nail showing for a modern, minimalist look. Apply thin stripes or shapes of contrasting polish, leaving spaces in between. Works well with dark neutrals and black polish on short nails.


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