A guide for boys #TheManicure part 1

Okay, I’m going to try do a new short series and see what the response is because lately I’ve realize that  brothers, fathers, boyfriends, fiances, husbands, basically the male homo-sapiens in our lives have no clue what it actually takes to look after ourselves. I’m not talking about hectic beauty routines but things like having a manicure, a facial or face mask, doing make up and a simple skin care routine. To start off I’m going to go with something simple… Boys - Manicure P1

Okay, guys here’s the thing. Nicely painted nails don’t just happen… you work them. Growing your nails, shaping your nails, creaming your hands, using the correct products, removing polishes correctly takes time and takes a lot of work and sometimes a lot of money. Yes, it can be made simple by paying someone else to do it ala the spa manicure but the lady in your life will be impressed if you know what a product is for and you can easily then know what products to buy for presents. For starters…

Nail Shape

After reading that heading you’re probably thinking, ” are there different nails shapes, what kind of nail shapes are there, how does one make one’s nail a different shape?” Well nail shape is simply that, the shape of your nail and there are plenty of different options from the almond, square, squoval, rounded, straight, ballerina and more (for a full list and to see what’s what have a look at this handy google link) It’s true, we have to shape our nails into these -sometimes weirdly named styles, because our nails don’t just automatically shape themselves, we purchase nail files, weird looking scissors, emery boards, buffers, and more simply to get the perfect nail shape. A squoval would be my go-to look as this style looks good on everyone but a girls nail shape is personal preference and can change with fashion trends.


Picture a silhouette of a mountain; the sun is going down, the clouds rolling in, you can see each and every ridge on the horizon as the sunbeams slowly recede – well this is exactly what happens on your hails. Those ridges, bumps and as more commonly known to guys  those “lines that run horizontally down your nail” can make or break a manicure. Now if you’re hitting a spa most of them will file or buff your ridges down to ensure a smooth nail bed – Please, Please, PUH-LEASE(!!) don’t let them – while yes you are getting a smooth nail bed, quite simply you are ruining your nail by thinning your actual nail plate. Please never file or buff your ridges or the actual nail bed simply only your tips. When you allow your ridges to be filed or buffed you are thinning your nailplate which leads to breaks, nail sensitivity, tears and more! Please rather ask the salon, or apply at home a base coat with a ridge evening formula – much better!! (For a more scientific read on this topic see here)

Polishes – Base coat, Color and Top Coat

Most men don’t know (yes, a generalization – I’m sorry!) that a set of nicely painted nails is actually more than a simple coat of nail polish. A GOOD manicure consists of: Base Coat, 2 Coats of polish (depending on the polish) and Top Coat and on top of this nail polish can take up to 2 hours to completely dry – Yes, I’m sorry there is no such thing as quickly painting your nails before bed!

Why do we need so many layers? A base coat is your protective coat as well as a ‘primer‘ or sorts, this evens out your nail bed (as mentioned) as well as gives the colored polish a layer to adhere to. Have you ever seen a girls nails after wearing a black nail polish without a base coat? Think of your 15/16 year old sister who loves dark bold colors and ends up with chipped nails all the time! Well that’s two other tasks that a base coat does, it protects your nail from staining (as seen here) and it helps protect against chipping.

Your color polish should be applied in two thin layers over your base coat – now, when I say thin layers I mean thin, not non-existant(!). Picture painting nails like you would paint a wall – you dip your brush into your paint, wipe the excess paint off, while still keeping paint on the brush in order to paint the wall – this is exactly what you do when you take your brush out of the polish. Keep enough paint on the brush to evenly paint the nail – you don’t want dry spots or bumps from too little polish, and you don’t want streaks and bubbles from too much polish. So why two coats of polish, this is simply for opacity. With many shades one coat doesn’t achieve a completely opaque look – this can mean bald spots, streaking, see-through nails, visible nail lines and more! (would you like me to talk more about these another time??)

And our final layer of polish, Top Coat. Top Coat is your last protective layer which aids against chipping but also which can help your maincure dry quicker. I’ve already mentioned that a manicure can take up to 2 hours to completely dry – well you should typically leave 10-15 minutes between each coat – yip, this can be a problem as whenever you start painting you end up needing the bathroom, needing to scratch your nose and more!

Creams & Oils

Yes, there are specific creams for your hands. A hand cream is usually slightly thicker than a normal body cream, this is so that it can withstand the barrage of use that your hands get. A hand cream will soften your hands and keep them in tip-top condition but your cuticles may need a little extra care and that’s where cuticle creams and oils come in. Your cuticle is basically the skin outline before your nail starts, this skin can get very dry and depending on who does your manicure can be pushed back, trimmed or left alone – this is purely preference. The difference between a cutilce cream and a cuticle oil is more intense hydration and nourishment for your nails.

Okay, so what do you think? Should I carry on with this series? Is there anything that you would like more information on? Do you think you can show this post to the man in your life and he would understand the process more clearly?


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