I’m serious. If you use this tool…
you might as well be using your teeth.
Bad nail-cutting technique can lead to an infection…
and it WILL lead to UGLY nails.
Women really pay attention to your hands. Do you want her to fantasize about their strength and gentleness or feel grossed out by your nasty nails?
What about at work? When you shake hands with a more successful man – a man whose opinion of you matters – how do his nails look? How do you think yours look to him?
Today I’m going to share with you how to properly trim your fingernails. First, let’s talk about the tools that you’ll need.
Nail Grooming Tools
#1. Compound Lever Clippers
If you were alive in the 1880s you might have had one of these hanging on your watch chain and used it to button your GLOVES as well as to clip your nails. Today almost everyone still uses them. But they’re actually the worst tool for the job.
These clippers quickly become dull, which means they end up crushing your nails instead of cutting them. That’s no different from biting your nails.
Your standard clippers also don’t offer much control over how you clip your nails. It can be tough to get precisely the angle you want.
That said, if you don’t have anything else, or you need something small to fit in your Dopp kit, the compound lever clipper can get the job done in a pinch.
It is possible to get high-quality clippers if you look in specialty stores, but you won’t find them in your local drugstore. Make sure they’re made from high carbon stainless steel. These will keep their sharp edge a lot longer. Also, make sure you can close them without a gap.
#2. Plier Style Fingernail Clippers
These nail grooming tools might look a little intimidating at first glance, but don’t worry. You’re not going to cut your fingers off.
Mechanically, these operate like compound clippers, only they’re sharper and give a more precise cut. They’re also easier to maneuver and cut the nail at the exact angle you want.
The palm grip also makes them a great choice for guys with any pain or weakness in their hands. Go for longer handles to get the best leverage. This helps with tougher nails too.
Again, you want to make sure they’re made from high-carbon stainless steel to ensure that the blade will stay sharp. Quality plier clippers will also have a hairline gap between the blades that gradually disappears as you increase the pressure.
Though this clipper has the advantage of precision, it comes at the price of additional size and bulk.
#3. Fingernail Scissors
Like plier clippers, these offer a great deal of control when cutting. While clippers crush the nail from above and below, scissors cut INTO the nail from the side and shear along the length of the blade. This type of cutting is less traumatic to the nail. So if you’ve been suffering from cracked nails, try nail scissors.
When using scissors, focus on keeping them straight up and down. You don’t want to introduce an angle into the cut.
A couple of quick tips for buying good nail scissors:
First, check that they’re sharpened all the way to the joint. If not, they were ground after assembly. That means shortcuts have been taken.
Next, check for looseness. Hold one scissor loop so the scissors are vertical. Raise the other loop to its highest point and let it drop. Good scissors will only close to the point where the blade flats begin to touch.
#4. Nail Files
This is an important tool for smoothing out your nails once you’re done cutting them (or if you develop a snag in between trims). You want to look for a metal triple-cut file or a file made from glass. Higher-quality files will have a tip that you can use to clean underneath the fingernail as well.
Now let’s go over how to cut your nails correctly.
How To Cut Fingernails Properly
#1. Clean Your Nails
You want your nails clean before cutting them to make sure you don’t spread any bacteria into an accidental cut. Now you may be wondering, “Should I soak my nails in water to make them soft?” The answer is no. It’s better for your nails to be firm when you trim them. Soft nails are more likely to tear. A quick 20-second wash with antibacterial soap is all you need.
If you have dirt underneath your nails, clean them out. You don’t want that gunk grinding down your clippers and scissors.
You CAN just scrape them out with the end of your nail file, but if you want to kill the bacteria, you need a nail brush. You can find this in most full manicure sets or buy one separately for a few bucks.
Wet your brush with warm water, then squirt some hand soap on it and scrub under your nails. Be sure to rinse the brush after each hand.
#2. Cut Your Nails
There are two ways you can do this. I recommend this way: make one large cut horizontally across the nail, then two small angled cuts at either corner. This creates a slightly-rounded, oblong shape.
Or, you can start with two long cuts moving sharply from the middle of the nail towards the edges. Then you need one final cut to get rid of the point formed in the middle. This second technique can create a more elongated shape that you might find more elegant or a bit too feminine. Experiment and find out which technique works for you.
Be careful not to cut your nails too short. Never get close to digging into the soft bed of skin on which the nail rests. That’s one of the worst nail cutting mistakes you can make, and it HURTS.
It’s better to use a few longer cuts instead of trying to round out everything perfectly with a bunch of shorter cuts. Don’t worry if a few pointed edges remain: we’ll deal with that in the next step.
#3. File Your Nails
Now use the nail file to clean up any imperfections. Move the nail file in one direction only. Why not go back and forth? Because a nail is like a man’s hair style. Rubbing it in one direction smooths it down. Rubbing it back and forth roughs it up. And a roughed-up nail is more likely to crack and tear.
Once you’re through with all your nails, give your hands a quick rinse and you’re good to go. If your nails are prone to cracking, you may want to add a CLEAR polish hardening treatment as well.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Can I use these same techniques on my toenails?” Of course you can. However, you need a slightly more robust version of each tool made specifically for your toenails since they’re tougher. Also, you shouldn’t use the same tools on your hands and feet. Your feet are more likely to have bacterial and fungal problems and you don’t want to spread these to your hands.
Cutting your nails properly DOES require a few extra steps and tools, but if you follow these techniques, you’re going to have great-looking nails every time you cut them.
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