Handy Tips for Manicured Grooms


‘Fight club became the reason to cut your hair short or trim your fingernails’

–          Brad Pitt, Fight Club


We were going to sell you on the whole ‘it’s your big day, all eyes on you, photos last forever…’ gig here but whatever works.  We’re not the kind of guys to argue.  And the first rule of Fight Club?  If it’s rugged and macho enough for Tyler Durden, hell, we’re sold.

Kidding aside, your wedding day’s a big deal.  You can probably get away with letting your beauty regime slide the rest of.. well.. forever(?) but when it’s time to tie the knot, your bride won’t only want a suited and booted knight in ironed armour by her side, she’ll want him buffed to within an inch of his life, with baby soft skin to boot.  So wedding day grooming doesn’t stop at the threads.  When it’s time to exchange those rings she probably won’t thank you for turning up with talons à la Wolverine (unless of course they’re attached to Hugh Jackman, in which case sorry pal, you’re screwed).  Yes, it’s unchartered territory for most.  But making sure your hands are in decent condition for the main event is actually probably one of the easier jobs on your list.

Are we looking at manicure territory here?

No.  Well, probably not.  Realistically that depends on just how caveman like your claws are.  If you’re already well versed in all things clipped, trimmed, moisturised and covered in nail varnish, there’s every chance you’ll just need to tidy things up ready for the big day.

To be frank you probably don’t need to read the entire page if that’s the case.  So much so, we’ll sum it up for you right here:

  • wash hands in soapy water
  • cut your nails (but not too short…. or with garden shears)
  • tidy them up with a file
  • and finally slap on some moisturiser (if it’s hers, you’ll probably want to check out the smell first… rose-scented handshakes don’t generally work too well)

And it’s job done.

If however, you’ve been neglecting your manly beauty duties and there’s not a pair of garden shears in the world big enough to tackle your digits then you might well need to venture through the salon doors to the baffling world beyond.  But men’s nail care isn’t all that involved.  As renovation and manscaping goes, if you’ve got a few DIY skills about your macho self, it’s probably less than a one beer job to get your hands in tip-top condition for the big day.

(please note: we don’t advise drinking alcohol whilst undertaking any part of the men’s nail care process.  Quite frankly we don’t want terrifying other halves knocking on our door because their groom-to-be was less than precise with a sharp implement, no matter how small).

Tools of the trade

So, what do you need to get started?

  • Bowl of hot soapy water
  • Nail brush
  • Nail clippers (or proper nail scissors)
  • Nail file / emery board
  • Moisturiser

Ordinarily when it comes to hand care men can probably get away with borrowing the tools from their lovely ladies (when they’re not in the room… or the house… or the country).  But remember, this is your wedding day we’re talking about.  Your hands are going to be on display for the duration, from exchanging rings to cutting the cake, to shaking the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry (and Uncle Albert) in the room.  So if you can, it’s always worth splashing out on your own set of gadgets.  There are plenty of companies out there with products tailored specifically to the chest-beating half of mankind.  Check out The Executive Shaving Company and Aspinal of London for ideas.

Step one: keep ‘em clean

Hopefully we shouldn’t have to explain the reason for this one, but just in case…

‘Because men use their hands in a lot of places women would never go’, points out Dr Harold Lancer, Beverly Hills dermatologist to celeb-kind.

But aside from the fact that grimy nails are a breeding ground for all sort of germs, bear in mind there’s one iconic dress at stake here.  And we’re pretty sure grubby handprints won’t go down too well with the blushing bride of the hour.  So:

  • Plunge your grubby mitts into a bowl of hot soapy water
  • Leave to soak for a few minutes
  • Scrub with a nail brush, and clean underneath each nail using a nail file

Paws nicely softened, onto clipping.

Step two: cut and file them

As a general rule, the experts recommend using clippers over scissors for this.  ‘Clippers are better as they are designed for shorter nails’, says ‘Nail Master’ Leighton Denny.  And when it comes to blokes’ nails, metal nail files tend to get the thumbs up over the cardboard emery things.

  • Clip nails in stages, following the natural curve of your fingertips
  • Don’t take it too close to your skin unless you’re partial to your own blood and gore
  • If blood appears…. and we can’t stress this highly enough… DO NOT FAINT
  • Or at least don’t get it on the carpet
  • Use the nail file to smooth out any rough or sharp edges

Step three: lotions and stuff

And your final step:

  • Slap on some lotion.
  • Just nothing smelling of roses.

In fact, this is another job that’ll probably get much better results if you go out and buy some moisturiser for yourself, rather than using fair maidens’.  Men’s hands are prone to becoming calloused and dry, so you really need the manly stuff to get that silky smooth feeling you’ve always wanted.

And if all else fails….

Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to get a pre-nuptial manicure.  What’s not acceptable is to refer to it as a ‘mani’.  Ever.  Or to have one with a Cosmopolitan by your side.  In fact, recent studies have revealed a fifth of the UK’s salon clientele nowadays are blokes looking to get themselves in tip-top condition with a little help from the experts.  And if you’ve really neglected your hands in the run up to the big day, letting the pros do their stuff can be a cracking way to step back from the madness for an hour or so, and walk out with some pretty top notch results to boot.

And with men only salons like the Anesis Spa offering ‘Feet up.  Beer. GQ’ while they get your grooming under control, this one isn’t just for the ladies anymore.

Go easy on the nail varnish though, eh chaps?  You don’t want your Spurs creation clashing with your tie.

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