All About the Handshake
A man reveals a great deal about himself through a handshake – confidence, poise, intentions, manners. Similarly, he reveals just as much through his appearance, the pride he takes in that appearance and his level of grooming. Where these two intersect is in the “grooming” of a man’s hands, and how well (or how little) he manicures those hands.
Now this may seem strange to some, you may think that a manicure is something reserved for women alone, that a man would never be so vain, but this has nothing to do with vanity. This is about a certain level of pride that we gentleman must take in our appearancein order to convey a reliable composure (that we should all strive for) in both our business and personal lives.
Salon Fear… No Problem
If you are hesitant to darken the doorway of an actual salon, not to worry, many of us share your sentiment. If you have the self-assurance (and the money) to frequent a professional salon for a weekly manicure than go for it! Otherwise we have an agreeable compromise for those of us who take pride in our appearance but want to save face (and money) by avoiding a salon – do it ourselves!
It is actually not that difficult to give yourself a proper manicure, you just need a few tools and a little know how. There are countless videos and Do-It-Yourself articles out there to show you how to administer a suitable manicurebut you can’t get started without the proper equipment. So, we put together a list of the Five Best Manicure Sets… FOR MEN!
Before we reveal our list let’s go over the basics of a manicure, because contrary to popular belief, it is so much more than simply trimming your nails.
- Wash your hands: soak your hands in warm water, scrubbing them clean and pat them dry
- Clip your nails: trim up with a pair of nail clippers
- Cuticle care: push back and trim away your cuticles
- File and shape: after you have clipped your nails and trimmed your cuticles shape and file your nails with an emery board
- Buff your nails: smooth and buff the flat surface of your nails
- Moisturize: perhaps the most important step, this not only seals in the work you have just put in but also prevents dryness and cracking – a hands worst enemies
For a more detailed look at the ins and outs of a manly manicure take a look at the Do-It-Yourself guide, but right now, we are here to focus on the tools of the trade!
The Five Best Manicure Sets for Men
Surprisingly, there are more manicure sets for guys out there than you may have thought. We waded through the masses of nail clippers and files and cuticle pushers and found the best of the best for your digits.
Leather Manicure Set by Royce
Our first recommendation on the ticket is one of the more basic manicure sets we found, but often less is more, and Royce did a bang up job with this set. There are only six pieces but like we said Royce chose well and picked quality over quantity. The travel set comes with scissors, tweezers, fingernail clippers, covered nail file, cuticle trimmer and a knife – all well-made, stainless steel tools that will last. One of our favorite features of this set is the hard leather case – a super durable leather shell case with a snap-close latch – this is perfect for travel and also looks great open on your bathroom counter.
Men’s 7-Piece Manicure Set by Kenneth Cole
A clever bit of marketing here by Mr. Cole – this is actually a 6-piece set (we suppose they counted the case as the seventh piece) – but nonetheless, still a great manicure set by a great company. The kit includes cuticle nipper, grooming scissors, small nail clipper, nail file, tweezers and large toe-nail clippers all made from quality stainless steel, so they will not rust in the bathroom! Sleek design, and a compact case make this set perfect for travel as well as home use. Slightly more expensive than the set by Royce (only slightly), but you are paying for the brand here as well – another great 6-piece (you can’t trick us Kenneth!) manicure set.
Takumi No Waza 9-Piece Grooming Kit by Seki Edge, Green Bell of Japan
Leave it to the Japanese in Seki to come up with a quality, precision cutting tool (they did a fine job with the samurai sword and now this!). The Seki Edge set is one of our favorite manicure kits we stumbled across, the tools are very durable, very sharp and include everything you could possible need when giving yourself a proper manicure. The kit comes with steel fingernail clipper, nail nipper, cuticle nipper, nail file, cuticle remover, cuticle pusher, nail and cuticle cleaner, nostril scissor and extra grip slant tweezer – wow! Although this is one of the more expensive manicure sets we found it is well worth the extra cash as this set will last you longer than most others.
Exclusive 10-Piece Manicure Set by Three Swords
By and large the most economical choice on our illustrious list, this set is around the same price as our 5-piece picks but with five extra tools for your grooming pleasure! And despite the price this is still a quality set made from stainless steel and nickel plated (some sets we found have the nickel plating and some don’t, so just be vigilant in your search). Three Swords is a German company that has been manufacturing quality product for almost 100 years, so they have things figured out by now. This men’s manicure set comes with cuticle scissors, nail scissors, cuticle nipper, nail nipper, tweezers, sapphire nail file, nail cleaner, cuticle remover, finger nail clipper and toe nail clipper – what more could you need!
5-Piece Manicure Station by Zwilling Pour Homme
Most of the manicure sets out there (especially for men) are travel-kit-style manicure sets, but we are not ALWAYS on the go – enter the Zwilling Manicure Station. We wanted to include something more stationary that would look great sitting on your bathroom counter at home. This “station” is made from a luxury ash wood block and includes five manicure tools – combination nail scissors for nail and cuticle trimming, twin S-Nail clippers, sapphire finish nail file, nail cleaner, and cuticle pusher.This manicure station is very stylish and includes everything you will need to give yourself a quality manicure from the comfort of your own bathroom. Zwilling is a popular brand, and they manufacture quality products so the price of this set is a bit steeper than some of the other kits (especially the other 5-piece sets) but well worth it in our humble opinion.
Hand and Nail Care Tips
Aside from keeping your hands looking their best, they will also feel much better. Regular use of lotion (suggested lotions for men), for example, can help prevent painful cracking and bleeding, particularly during the winter months when the air is dry.
The Bare Minimum
If you’re at a loss for time, or simply don’t want to “waste” time on your hands, at least make the effort to regularly (i.e., daily) take care of your nails. Keep them short and clean underneath the tips. You can purchase a nailbrush for minimal cost at any drug store. Simply brush the tips of your fingers to remove dirt from under the nail. Also, brush across the tops of your nails.
The skin on your hands can become dry and rough very easily. Those who use their hands a lot may also develop tough calluses. To remove calluses, use a pumice stone or other tool designed for callus removal. Be careful not to remove too much skin, as this can be painful, but do try to remove as much of the buildup as possible. Follow this with a quality moisturizer. Some are specifically designed for men or for dryer skin, if this is a problem.
Once a week, exfoliate the skin on your hands. There are products available for this purpose, or you can use a simple home remedy. Combine white sugar granules to a moisturizer and gently rub your hands together for a minute or so, then wash your hands and re-moisturize. This will remove dead skin cells that make your skin appear dull.
Extra Additional Care
Another option to consider is cuticle care. While maintaining your cuticles may seem girly, it can help prevent painful tears. Use a product designed to remove or soften cuticles. These are applied to the cuticle and then the skin is pushed back using a small stick designed for this purpose. It only takes a few minutes, and the difference in your hands’ appearance can be striking.
Finally, consider lightly buffing your nails to give them a slight shine. The look isn’t as noticeable as a clear nail polish, but the added shine gives a polished look to your hands. Look for a nail buffer in the nail care section of the drug store. This tool is used to rub lightly the top of the nail, which creates a shine. It’s very easy to do.
If you’re in the mood for an indulging treat, consider a professional manicure. Not only will your hands look great, but it feels great as well. Manicures come complete with hand massage and full nail care, and more and more men are taking advantage of this simple luxury.