Human grooming by Daniel Laberge
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with both hands

I use my two hands most of the time

Here are a few techniques I employ:

Ambidextrous grooming   Two-handed pressure grooming
• Ambidextrous
  • Two-handed
Helping hands   Underpinning
• Helping hands   • Underpinning


Ambidextrous grooming


What hand would do a better job?

Most places on your body are reachable with both hands.
It makes lots of sense to be competent with each of them.

Left and right hand

Have you tried grooming one location with different fingers?

When grooming, you naturally tend to use the index finger on your writing hand.
This finger (called «grooming finger» or «groomer») is generally the most sensitive and agile, but not the strongest.
There are five main qualities that determine which finger is best suited for the job:
• Sensitivity
• Orientation
• Strength
• Agility
• Fatigue

Finger sensitivity

Each finger feels differently.
Your grooming finger should be your most responsive; your other fingers being less sensitive, in varying amounts.

Finger sensitivity map

Your fingers are not equally sensitive

When you groom, try to vary your habits and alternate the fingers you use.
You generally want to work with your most sensitive digit, but for orientation, strength and fatigue reasons, you may get better results by using another one.
Even if there can be a great difference in the ability and sensibility of your non-writing hand, your efforts to overcome these deficiencies will be well rewarded.

Finger angle

Your choice of hand depends on what finger has the best angle to reach a given location.


When grooming the center line of your body, both hands have equal access.
But, when you groom an area on your right or your left side; the fingers on one hand will be straight, those on the other will be curved.
When the fingers are straight, you have to push to apply pressure.
When they are curved, you pull.

One finger pushing, one finger pulling

To reach this point on the right side of my thigh,
my right finger is straight and pushing,
while the one on the left is curved and pulling.

Pulling is much easier and you can put more force.
Both angles have their advantages and inconveniences.
Often, using one hand to groom a specific location will result in an uneasy or uncomfortable position. Try your other hand.

Finger strength

Some fingers are stronger than others.
Your thumb has the most power, followed by your middle finger.
Each person is different, but here is a simple chart.

Finger strength chart

Each finger has its specific force

Your thumb may not be very agile nor sensitive, but it is the strength champion.
When you need power to groom hardened locations, use your strongest fingers.

Hands taking turns

Grooming is a physical effort.
It takes its toll on the limbs that perform this task.
The pressure you put, the repetitive movements and the awkward positions all contribute to your discomfort over time.
Using only one hand, your forces would weaken after a while.
Simply alternate your work in two different areas, each accessible with the other hand.


Two-handed grooming

Two-handed grooming has been covered on the superficial and pressure grooming pages.
Please follow these links:

Two-handed superficial grooming   Two-handed pressure grooming
superficial grooming
pressure grooming

Grooming with both hands at the same time is an extension of ambidexterity.
This time, both hands work simultaneously.
Most of the time, one hand mirrors the actions of the other (symmetrical), but sometimes, each hand can act independently.

Comparing sides

One interesting aspect of symmetrical two-handed grooming is that you can feel the differences in skin condition between your left and right sides.
• Place one finger from each hand at corresponding locations on the right and left side of your body.
• Groom synchronously.

Hands comparing sides

You can spot problems this way.
If a crossing or fold has grown abnormally, the same location on the opposite side may not present a similar transformation.


Helping hands

Use your other hand to assist and help your grooming hand

The idea is to use your non-grooming hand in support of the on-going action.
The helping hand can contribute in two manners:
• Holding and positioning a limb or an area,
• Stretching the skin.

Laying out the workspace

The area you want to groom may not be immediately accessible.
Some body part may need to be raised, turned, held in place, ...
Use your other hand to bring forward and hold the limb you are working on.
For example, when grooming your foot; one hand should hold it up into position so that the other can operate freely.
You may have to raise the whole leg.
Your helping hand should open up hard to reach places like between your toes, the base of your nose, the back of your ears, ...

Stabilizing the skin

You can groom some areas easily because your skin is already held tight to whatever is beneath it.
However, when you try to groom regions where the skin is loose or where it covers a thick layer of fat; you will find that the skin’s flexibility prevents proper grooming.
Your nail caves into the skin as it moves along with it.
Whenever this is the case, use your other hand to pull the skin tight.

Stretching the skin
with one finger

• Place the nail of your helping hand's finger close to the grooming location.
• Apply some pressure, then slide your nail back so that it pulls on the skin and stretches it.
• You can now groom the stabilized skin with your other hand.

One grooming hand, one stretching hand

The left finger stretches the skin,
while the right one grooms it

You can change your pulling angle continuously in your quest to keep the skin from moving.

Stretching the skin
with two or more fingers

Each finger on the helping hand can have its own action
Some may just hold the skin in place, while others may be pulling on it.

Stretching en both sides

The two fingers on the right stretch the skin
so that the one on the left can groom it

If you use two fingers to pull in opposite directions, you can stretch the skin on both sides of your grooming finger.



Place your underpinning finger at some distance
from your grooming nail in order to create a flab of flesh

How underpinning works

You use underpinning in your everyday life when you put something hard beneath a material you want to work on.
This is necessary because it lacks the rigidity needed to resist your moves.
Putting a mass behind it makes working on it possible.
You resort to underpinning when the skin has no rigidity, because of its location or body fat.

How to perform underpinning

• Place the finger you want to use for underpinning a quarter-inch to an inch below the location you wish to groom.
• Press it into the skin, with a slightly upwards motion, so that it produces a solid workplace.
• Put a finger from your other hand where you want to groom.
• A piece of skin is trapped between the fingers of each hand.
• Your grooming hand can now put pressure and work.

One grooming hand, one underpinning hand

A band of skin is captured.
Use it as a work table.


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