The question of how to remove cuticles is one that has plagued me for years. My cuticles are always quite gnarly-looking—it doesn’t matter how much I push them back with an orange stick or will them to disappear with my mind, they are always there taunting me. I am quite obsessed with the appearance of my cuticles, and I notice other people’s, and what’s frustrating is that few people have worse cuticles than me. And I’m a beauty editor (the shame!).
It was only this year that I realised not all cuticles are born equal. In fact, just as with hair and skin, there are different types of cuticles. “There are three cuticle types: low-to-no cuticle maintenance (believe it or not, there are some people without dry cuticles or hangnails); self-maintaining cuticles, where you can easily push back cuticles after a shower and trim the few hangnails that pop up weekly; and uncontrollable cuticles, which should be left for the professionals,” explains Michelle Saunders, Essie Celebrity Manicurist. I, unfortunately, sit in the latter camp. “A weekly or every-two-week manicure is needed to soak, trim, and keep those cuticles at bay,” recommends Saunders.
Now, with “uncontrollable cuticles” the cost of those manicures is going to rack up, so I called on Vanessa Williams-Carty, head trainer at Nails Inc., to reveal how to remove your cuticles at home.
“Cuticles are composed of skin cells, and when your cuticles grow quickly it’s because you produce more skin cells than usual, which causes them to grow up the nail plate much faster,” explains Williams-Carty. “Whereas hangnails are usually caused by dry skin. You are more prone to dry skin and hangnails if your hands are in water or harsh chemicals regularly, during the cold seasons, or if cuticles have been cut wrong or you tend to bite your nails.”
Both Williams-Carty and Saunders recommend using a cuticle oil daily to keep your nails looking healthy. “Use a deep nourishing oil twice a day, day and night, before going to bed,” advises Williams-Carty.
You can also help to nourish your nails from the inside out. Food and supplements that are great for nails include rosehip oil, which helps “restore nail health” says Williams-Carty, and kale, “which contains iron and calcium.” Additionally, aloe vera hydrates, zinc boosts nail growth, and omega-3 strengthens the nails.
Keep reading for Williams-Carty’s step by step guide to removing your cuticles at home.
Your 5-Step Guide to Removing Your Cuticles:
- Remove any polish from the nail plate.
- Apply oil to your cuticles.
- Soak your hands in warm water; this will help to soften your cuticles.
- After 3–5 minutes, remove your hands from the water. Gently push your cuticles back with a hoof or orange stick. Make sure the stick is held flat down onto the nail bed while you’re gently pushing the cuticles back. Don't cut your cuticles with cutters unless you are trained in doing so.
- Wash hands under running water and apply a hand cream.
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