How to Kick Cuticles the Safe Way

They might be a deterrent to a perfect-looking mani, but there are some things you should know before banishing cuticles altogether. Here are some tips for keeping them safely groomed.

Cuticles can be thought of as nail protectors – they’re thin skin, sure, but they guard the nail bed against infections from bacteria and fungus. Making them more subtle might be your goal, but make sure you do it the right way.

First up, invest in a good cuticle remover. Removers come in gel and exfoliant versions and work to break down and dissolve cuticles. Some removers promise to make future cuticles softer and even lessen overgrown cuticles if used consistently.

If cuticles remain after using a remover, never snip them, just push them back. Snipping cuticles can make them bleed, and even the tiniest of cuts can let in bacteria and fungi, leading to an infection. The best time to push them back is right after you use a cuticle remover or take a shower, when they’re at their softest. Use a cuticle pusher, which can be purchased at any beauty supply shop or drugstore.

At this point, you should be mostly cuticle-free. Keep remaining cuticles smooth and healthy by moisturizing your nails and cuticles with a rich cream or cuticle oil to keep them from drying out, cracking, peeling, or flaking. Any hand cream you typically use will work well on cuticles, too, or you can purchase a cuticle oil which will help to rehydrate and nourish cuticles.

With cuticles pushed away, your nails should be ready for a fresh coat of polish. With a few swipes of your favorite shade (try a warm red or mauve, which are expected to be trendy hues this fall), you’ll likely end up with a manicure that could rival any salon version.

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