The Modern Man's Guide to
Hand and Feet Maintenance
They're the parts of your body you use most, but oftentimes they're the parts most neglected. Of course, proper maintenance requires a certain balance—you don't want to look like you ignore these important appendages, but you don't want to look like you spend too much time fussing over them either. Herewith, a simple guide to hand and feet care.
Long nails make you look at best, lazy or at worst, a recluse who rarely leaves the house. Jagged, chewed-up nails make you look like an animal. In the shower, push back your cuticles (the skin-like tissue covering the base of the nail) using the back of your thumbnail. After your shower, while the nails are still soft, trim them with a pair of quality clippers (right). The white tip of the nail should be no longer than the width of a dime. Any shorter and you won't be able to pick up a dime. Filing down the corners of the nails isn't necessary but offers a nice, professional finish.
- Think of hangnails like a loose thread—trim them, don't pull them. Pulling (or biting) will rip your hand's living tissue.
Tweezerman makes a fine stainless steel set for $10 that comes with free sharpening for life. The toe clipper makes straight cuts, while the smaller version for hands makes slightly rounded cuts.
Klhip, $70, is a new ergonomic style of clippers, made in America from surgical-grade steel that cuts nails quickly and smoothly. It will cost you $70, but comes with a lifetime warranty.
Zwilling makes a handy and durable ceramic nail file, $10, that retains its grit nicely and folds up like a pocket knife.
No one will notice your nails if your hands are red, cracked and dry. A daily application of an emollient hand cream is the easiest way to keep hands healthy and smooth. There are great men's creams out there: Jack Black's Hand Healer and Ahava's ginger-infused hand cream are two hard working options, but the best product we've found isn't a hand lotion at all. It's Aveeno's Excema Therapy cream made for infants. The fragrance-free lotion is long-lasting, affordable and isn't sticky or greasy. Just keep it out of sight.
Feet are often forgotten when it comes to grooming. And really, you shouldn't spend too much time worrying about them. But you don't want to frighten people when your shoes come off—whether at the beach or in bed. After a shower, sand off any rough patches of skin or calluses with a pumice stone, which you can get at any drugstore. Cut nails straight across. To prevent swampy, smelly feet, roll on some extra-strength antiperspirant like Certain Dri, which is often recommended by podiatrists.
- Ingrown toenails occur when the nail is cut too short and grows into the skin around the nail bed. If the toenail pierces the flesh, it can easily become infected. For relief, soak in warm water and pull the skin back.
Amenity's Foot Spray, $32, is a popular one-stop product that minimizes odor and sweat, exfoliates and moisturizes cracked skin, and softens calluses. Plus, the locking spray cap is great for a gym bag.
Fingernails grow about 0.1 millimeter a day, which means that it takes about five months to fully regenerate.