We may spend most of our time talking about designer garms and fresh kicks, but we know there’s a whole lot more to looking good than what you’re packing in your closet. Groom Service is your no-BS guide in how to look, smell, and feel better. This week, we’re talking male manicures and pedicures.

You’ve clipped those finger and toenails your whole life, and in your own humble opinion, it’s going pretty good. Sure, maybe they’re a little crooked, or perhaps they’re cut too short, but what’s it matter? Maybe you've never even considered a manicure or pedicure, since it’s just forcing someone else to do the labor for you, or since “mani-pedis” are so obviously for women.

First of all, check your pride, hombre. Secondly, manicures and pedicures aren’t just for getting your nails (real or fake) painted. There is so much more to the process: if you’re someone who experiences dry skin, callused feet, hangnails, and ingrowns, then you’re a prime candidate for an appointment at your local nail studio.

We spoke with Laquerus Nail Studio co-founder Jennifer Lane and her nail-artist colleague Gena McDonald (both of Madison, WI) about the benefits of this self-care session. Here is what Lane and McDonald had to say.

Manicures and pedicures are more than just vanity

Forget polished nails: the number one reason anyone — man or woman — should buff their nails is health. “Our hands and feet are among our most used body parts, yet they're often the least taken care of,” Lane says. “Proper cleansing and trimming of the nails is essential to nail health, and the exfoliation and moisturizing that occurs during a mani or pedi service will rejuvenate the skin, leading to anti-aging effects and healthy-looking skin.”

They shed your dead weight

As mentioned, manicures and pedicures are both effective exfoliating methods (the purpose of which is to remove dead, dry skin and reveal the healthy surface cells beneath). However, pedicures in particular are beneficial for removing dead skin — in the form of deep calluses caused by excessive activity.

“If you play sports or lead a particularly active lifestyle, your feet naturally grow calluses to protect themselves,” says McDonald. “These calluses should occasionally be smoothed, and you need someone else to do it since they have a vantage on your feet that you do not. You don't need an extreme pedicure with all the bells and whistles — like nail polish and tiny fish — to take care of your biggest issues. Just a basic one will have you feeling brand new.”

You can avoid the painful consequences of self-maintenance

Improper clipping can lead to painful hangnails or ingrown toenails. The slightest misstep can yield extreme pain, and even an outpatient hospital visit if your nail starts growing inward. “Proper filing, shaping, and moisturizing of the nails will help prevent or treat these painful conditions,” McDonald says.

They’re cuticle killers

No matter the fingernail or toenail, a cuticle is unwanted and pesky. It’s that excess skin that grows up over the base of your nail, and needs to be maintained as frequently as your nails. But they’re stubborn to lift and trim, since you aren’t likely ambidextrous, and since you haven’t been thoroughly trained in the artful removal of said skin. (The result is often little snips into the skin nearby, something leading to a hangnail. Great.)

A manicure or pedicure is the best ways to keep that unsightly, purposeless skin at bay. They’ll also throw in some treatment oil to keep fingertips and toes healthy. “At Laquerus, we use cuticle oil (like NCLA’s matte finish oil),” says Lane. “The Vitamin E extract paired with sunflower seed oil nourishes your nails and locks in moisture

Next up; here's a beginner's guide to makeup for men.

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