Human grooming by Daniel Laberge
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Superficial grooming

Superficial grooming only concerns
the top of the epidermis,
where the cells are dead.

Superficial grooming examples 

The auto-renewing epidermis

Every day, millions of new skin cells are produced, through mitosis or cell division, at the bottom of your epidermis.
These cells get flattened and hardened as they are pushed up the epidermis by new ones.
The process takes close to a month.
When they reach the corneal layer, the top of your skin, the cells are dead.

Desquamation functioning erratically

At that point, the dead skin scales are supposed to detach themselves, cell by cell, flake by flake.

Epidermis renewal, when it works.

Regrettably, the process gives imperfect results and dead skin cells pile up and harden.
Your skin thickens and ages, your folds deepen.

Superficial grooming
completes the desquamation

The top of the corneal layer of the epidermis (the one that you see) has to be removed using superficial grooming techniques.

The layers of the epidermis

Dead cells to be groomed away
from the top of the corneal layer

Scraping your skin with your nails, with light to moderate pressure, rakes off the dead cells from the surface.
The cells that you remove are those that show your age and make you less attractive.


How to groom superficially

Grooming the epidermis

Your skin is your body's largest organ.
Grooming the whole surface with your nails may be challenging and time consuming.
You will find that you get faster results when you group up to four fingers together.


superficial grooming strokes

Aligned fingers

Aligning your fingers

• Align your nails, except the thumb, so that their extremities line up and that they put relatively equal pressure on the skin.

Four nail rake

The nail rake

• Rake your skin with a back and forth motion.

Four finger superficial grooming strokes 

• Apply only a gentle to moderate pressure on your epidermis, mostly during the pulling phase of your gesture. Vary the pressure depending on the type of skin you meet.

Inward and outward phases of a four finger superficial grooming stroke
Inward pulling phase:
Put more pressure
  Outward return phase:
Put less pressure

• Only pass a few times over a given sector of skin.
• Move your grooming hand so that you continuously work on a different area.

Don't confuse with scratching

Though this stroke resembles scratching, it is much slower and you apply more pressure on your skin.


Speed Pressure



superficial grooming strokes

Single finger grooming

Use any finger you want

• Some parts of your body are too uneven, small or hard to reach to permit four-finger grooming; so use only one.
• Single-finger grooming is more reliable and safe, mostly when working on delicate or damaged skin.
• Use the finger you feel the most comfortable with, but another finger may be stronger or better angled to do the job.

Single-finger superficial grooming strokes 

• Rake the skin with your nail, while moving your hand to cover all the area you want to groom.
• Put very little pressure on your nail, its passage on the skin is enough to dislodge dead skin cells.
• Though it makes sense to stay longer in problematic places, you might damage the skin if you groom the same sector for too long.
• Groom every inch of your body.
• The skin under your feet is very sensitive and ticklish. You may prefer using pressure grooming techniques in that area.


superficial grooming strokes

Two-handed superficial grooming strokes.
Some are symmetrical, some are not,
but all are synchronized.

You can double the speed of your grooming by using both hands.
• Any area large enough to fit two grooming hands side-by-side is a good candidate.
• Most of the time, the hands are held close together and go back and forth as a synchronized pair.


The vertical center fold

Your body is symmetrical.
The center fold divides it into two halves.

Symmetrical two-handed grooming

Since your body is symmetrical, it makes sense to groom similar locations on both sides at the same time.

Hand on each side

• Symmetry occurs when you groom the same places on each side of your body simultaneously.
• Groom your left side with your left hand, while grooming your right side with your right hand, except for your arms.
• Resort to symmetrical two-handed grooming as much as you can, because it is very effective and easy to execute.


 Extended  strokes in unconfined areas

In large, open expanses of skin, where your nails can glide unhindered, you can lengthen your superficial grooming strokes.
• Instead of using a short back and forth motion, extend the distance your nails travel by several inches.

You can extend your strokes
on long body parts



Grooming your  whole body  superficially

Grooming superficially from head to toes is a challenging endeavor.
You can spend several hours doing it if you have enough free time, but for most of us living a regular life, the task has to be done quickly.
Some will prefer grooming their body section by section, when they feel the need to do so. In the end though, some areas may be practically forgotten and left ungroomed.
My recommendation is that you carry out speedy whole-body superficial grooming sessions at least once a day.
In order to cover such a large surface, you will have to use broad covering techniques, such as four-finger and two-handed grooming.
Afterwards, you will feel your skin tingle with pleasure for several minutes.

A step-by-step whole body
superficial grooming session
 in 10 to 15 minutes 

• In order to groom your skin, you have to remove your clothes. I suggest that you undress completely before you start.
• Find a low sitting place where you can reach your feet easily, like the side of your bed.
• To accomplish this task, you will be using mostly four-finger strokes (except around your mouth, nose, eyes and ears) and grooming with both hands.


1 • Place both of your hands on one of your feet and start grooming the surface. Sitting Whole body superficial grooming: Foot
2 • Move up to your ankle and leg. Make sure that you groom the front, sides and back. Sitting Whole body superficial grooming: Ankle and leg
3 • Go up to your knee. Sitting Whole body superficial grooming: Knee
4 • Start over with your other foot and leg. Sitting Whole body superficial grooming: Other leg
5 • Stand up and groom one thigh, then the other. Standing Whole body superficial grooming: Thigh
6 • Groom your genitals and buttocks. Standing Whole body superficial grooming: Genitals and buttocks
7 • Groom the front of your torso; from your belly to your shoulders. Sitting,
or lying
Whole body superficial grooming: Torso
8 • Groom your lower back. Go as high as you can. Sitting,
or lying
Whole body superficial grooming: Lower back
9 • Pass your arms over your shoulders and groom your upper back. Sitting,
or lying
Whole body superficial grooming: Upper back
10 • Cross your arms and groom them all you can, then finish off each arm separately. Sitting,
or lying
Whole body superficial grooming: Arms
11 • Groom your hands one after the other. Try to go all around the fingers. Sitting,
or lying
Whole body superficial grooming: Hands
12 • Groom your neck, front and back. Sitting
Whole body superficial grooming: Neck
13 • Give your entire scalp a good scrub. Sitting
Whole body superficial grooming: Scalp
14 • Groom the flat surfaces of your face using four-finger strokes. Sitting
Whole body superficial grooming: Face
15 • Use single-finger strokes to groom around your mouth, nose, ears and eyes. Sitting



Superficial grooming;
a  daily skin treatment 

You will immediately feel the benefits of your superficial grooming:
• Your skin will tingle with an increase in blood circulation,
• Grooming your articulations will liberate your movements,
• Your skin tone will change to a more uniform and healthy shade and texture,
• Your beauty and attractiveness will be enhanced,
• ...

Grooming your skin superficially should become an activity that you perform every day.
Reducing the thickness of your corneal layer is a long-term undertaking and it needs to be continuously redone.

Since this work is time consuming, try to;
• Groom while doing something else,
• Find specific times in your daily schedule,
• Use two-handed and extended strokes.

Grooming  someone else  superficially

I advise against grooming another person using pressure grooming techniques, but superficial work is OK.
Some portions of the body allow for simultaneous grooming by both performers, but many areas will demand that you take turns.
Make sure the grooming time remains equal for both participants.

 Cleaning  your nails

While grooming superficially, you rake up dead cells from the top of your epidermis and it only takes a few minutes before the space between your nails and fingertips fills up with the skin you've removed.
This unsightly goo will bear the same color as your tan.
It accumulates and, at some point, it starts hindering the effectiveness of your grooming.
Even if your nails look disgusting, I have not encountered any hygienic or health problem linked to this condition.
The only solution is to periodically visit the nearest sink to wash off the grub.

 Searching  for pressure grooming candidates

As you pass your nails over every part of your body while grooming superficially, you will encounter cutaneous problems in many areas.
You may find bumps, holes, folds and all kinds of skin deformations.
In some places, you will discover pain.
You can switch to pressure grooming and take care of them right away or you can make a mental note of those areas so that you can attend to them later.


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