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We’re all guilty of using a small, curved fingernail clipper across the toes (and even the big toe). Whether it’s a routine habit of yours or a one-off solution when you couldn’t find a toenail clipper, doing this goes against all we’ve been told. You know—the whole risk of ingrown toenails that aren’t cut straight across—but it begs the question: What is the best way to cut your toenails, and what are the best toenail clippers for men and their gnarly feet? For more on both of these questions, we spoke with Marcela Correa, medical nail technician and owner of Medi Pedi NYC. Here is Correa’s advice on toenail clipping, as well as her tips for picking the best toenail clippers.
Trimming Tips From a Professional Pedicurist
It’s true what they say: You need to cut your toes straight across the top, and not too low. “Most ingrown nails occur because of mistakes when clipping,” Correa says. “When cutting your own nails I suggest leaving enough of the nail above the skin and then filing them down to your desired length.”
Here’s advice you probably haven’t heard, though: Just as you can soften your skin and whiskers before a shave, you can also do something similar with your nails. “Trimming after the shower is best as your nails will be softer and easier to manage. This prevents unwanted cracks in your nails,” Correa explains. (We’ve all had that one finger or toenail that splits and even peels away from the rest of the nail at the top. Annoying.)
Thick-nailed folks, take note: Correa advises soaking your feet with foot soap before cutting them; most people can get away with a 10-minute soak but thicker nails should aim for 20 minutes. Follow by cutting them with a trimmer known as a nipper (as opposed to a traditional clipper). “Nippers are both stronger and larger, providing more room to cut a thick nail.”
Don’t let the clipper get wet while clipping. Instead, make sure to towel dry your feet thoroughly before introducing the clipper. Afterward, you can spray some rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on the tool to sterilize them, and towel them dry. Store the clippers in a cool, dry place to prevent rust and bacterial accumulation. “Another great way to disinfect is using UV light to prevent moisture exposure on the nail clipper,” Correa adds. “Take your non-disposable tools, stick them in the light-safe bag with one sterilizer, and in 15 minutes they’re all done.” Bacteria, gone.
What to Look For in a Toenail Clipper
Above all, Correa suggests picking clippers with a comfortable hold and a wide mouth. “You should be able to grip it without too much effort. If you’re older or of low mobility, then a bigger clipper or nipper is best for more control and comfort.” Again, thick-nailed people should always prioritize a nipper. Choose a stainless steel device that won’t accumulate rust or wear over time; still, it’s your responsibility to ensure that they are cleaned, dried, and stored properly to prevent this. That “stainless” is only assumed under proper care.
Camila Solingen Heavy-Duty Toe Nail Clippers
These stainless steel toenail nippers have an ultra-sharp 20mm angled blade that will cut through the thickest and hardest of nails in a snap and promises to stay sharper for longer. They also have a polished chrome finish that prevents rust and tarnishing over time. A double-barrel spring makes these clippers ergonomically comfortable, too.
Suwada Toenail Nipper
These high-carbon Japanese steel nippers are basically a trophy for your bathroom vanity. (Though you can store them separately in their metal carrying case, to protect the valuable cargo.) The hefty, sharp-toothed tool will cut cleanly through your nails without the least bit of squeezing and resistance.
Tweezerman Precision Grip Toenail Clippers
Tweezerman is a name you can trust when it comes to all kinds of grooming tools, from tweezers to toenail clippers. These stainless steel clippers have a wide mouth and can slide into the gripped sheath for easy, slip-free use.
Norchan Large Nail Clippers Set
Within Norchan’s clipping set, you’ve got both a large toenail clipper as well as a nipper. Of course, everything is appropriately sized for men and designed to tame even the toughest nails. Everything is made of high-density steel and has razor-sharp curved blades so that you can easily trim each nail along its natural shape. On top of that, the clippers’ wide jaw opens to more than half an inch to allow you to get around ultra-thick nails.
Steinder 360-Grip Nail Clippers
When toenail clippers tout ergonomics, it’s usually because they have some slip-proof grip or comfortable design. But few will do what this clipper can: It rotates at the head so that you don’t have to twist yourself every which way while clipping—making them especially ideal for anyone with limited dexterity or flexibility. And like the rest of the best, they’re sturdy and made of stainless steel.
Kohm Easy Grip Toenail Clippers
When it comes to comfort, it’s difficult to beat Kohm’s stainless steel toenail nippers. They feature a large, easy-to-grip rubber handle. This can help weak or elderly individuals get enough power behind each clip. Sporting sharp wide jaws that open to more than 1 inch, the nippers are curved in a way that contours effortlessly around nails for simple and quick cutting. What’s more, they have sharp pointed tips that can be used to work on ingrown nails or gently remove cuticles.
Fox Medical Equipment Podiatrist’s Toenail Clippers
These toenail nippers are made especially for podiatrists, so you know they’re going to be good. Produced by Fox Medical Equipment, each pair is hand-sharpened and has scalpel-like blades that can cut through super thick and tough nails. They’re also made from medical-grade stainless steel, which is not only resistant to rust and corrosion but also promises greater longevity. Featuring extra-long handles, the ergonomic clippers are nice and easy to grip and have a great amount of leverage. This makes them perfect for the elderly or people with disabilities. Furthermore, they come with a special plastic sheath that covers the sharp pointed tip when not in use to prevent any injuries.