Nail cosmetics represent a form of self-adornment allowing personal expression dictated by current fashion trends. Their popularity is greatest among females; however, the market for male manicures is rapidly growing. Forms of adornment for the fingernails and the toenails include nail polish, artificial nails, nail elongators, and nail treatment products. The goal of this article is to discuss the basic formulation and the use of these cosmetics in a medical framework.Current fashion dictates that the nails should be trimmed to a delicate arc at the middle of the fingertip and filed to remove any corners at the medial and lateral parts of the nail. Although this shape is esthetically pleasing and serves to create the illusion of long, slender fingers, it predisposes to nail plate fracture, hang nails, and ingrown nails. Ideally, the nail should be trimmed with as slight a curve as possible and the corners of the nail left untouched.
This technique is particularly important when trimming the toenails because they frequently ingrow because of pressure from ill-fitting shoes or from trauma encountered during exercise. Recurrent ingrown toenails are best prevented by leaving the nail corners longer than the center of the toenail to create a concave shape.