Photography by Joshua Scott
Picture this: You're sitting at a bar when suddenly a stranger offers you a drink. Cute face, nice smile... but as he raises his glass, you get a glimpse of some mangy, unruly mess that could very well be mistaken for a bird's claw. Instant dealbreaker. It may sound fussy, but soft hands and clean nails are tenets of personal hygiene--and not having them can kill your chances of acing a job interview or getting laid. Here, Leticia Chazari of Truman's Gentlemen's Groomers, in Manhattan, offers pointers for at-home maintenance.
"Men should keep their nails short. Cut your nails after showering, because the warm water will soften them. Wrapping a hot towel around your hands before you start will also do the trick. Use clippers to give the nails a round or square shape, depending on their original form. Men have thicker nails, so it's fine to use large clippers. File around the edges and smooth with the softest side of a buffer."
"Apply a smidge of cuticle oil at the base of your nail to soften the skin, then lightly push the cuticles back toward the base with a pusher stick. Snip off unsightly bits of skin with a small nipper to leave an even surface."
"Polish your nails with a buffer to restore their natural gloss and stimulate the secretion of oils. Most buffers have two sides--polish with the black side for a low-glow finish, but if you like your nails to be super-shiny, follow up with the white side."
"After brushing off the dust, apply a drop of cuticle oil to the base of your nails and around your fingertips to add nutriment. Use the file on your fingertips to remove dead skin. Finish by massaging in your favorite hand cream to lock in moisture."
Pictured above: Taylor of Old Bond Street 5-Piece Manicure Set, $100 at MiN New York, MiNNewYork.com
Upgrade your grooming routine to keep your hands smooth year-round.
Burt's Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Creme
This extra-rich moisturizer can double up as a soft-hold grooming cream for your hair. $9, BurtsBees.com
Sephora Brush-On Nourishing Cuticle Oil
A regular application of oil at the base of your nails will keep your cuticles neat in the long run. $12, Sephora.com
Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment
Use this fast-absorbing lotion with honey and sandalwood extract to revive dehydrated hands. $20, MalinandGoetz.com
Redecker Travel Nail Brush
This pocket-sized brush with natural bristles will help you get rid of dirt on the go. $8, FSCBarber.com