Your cuticle is like a delicate flowerits like a virgin on prom night, so you want to be gentle, New York City nail pro Simcha Whitehill, who goes by Miss Pop, told me recently. You should never cut your cuticles, only push them back. Okay, but why? They always look so much nicer when theyre cut and polished-looking, right? Wrong.
The thin sliver of skin along the bottom of your nail bed (aka your cuticle) serves an important purpose, which is to protect you from infection, she explained. Otherwise its a point of entry. And when its sliced open, because you or some salon tech doesnt know what he or she is doing with the nippers, the flood gates are immediately opened for bacteria and fungus to get inside and infect you.
Whitehill added that cutting someones cuticles is not on the test in beauty school, because youre technically not supposed to do it. They taught us how to cut cuticles and gave all of the students nippers, but we all made each other bleed I mean, blood everywhere because its so easy to go too deep and accidentally cut the skin. Its just risky business."
Plus, once you get into the habit of cutting your cuticles, you always have to cut them because they grow back quickly, but not as pretty, she continued. They start to fray and look like the gill of a fish its not good.
Whitehill recommends using cuticle nippers only to hack away at hangnails. We were told in beauty school even though they taught us how to cut cuticles to only use the nippers to cut painful hangnails that occur along the sides of the nail and below the cuticle, she explained. And instead, to push back the cuticles by applying cuticle remover on each nail my favorite is Deborah Lippmanns grabbing an orange stick (which you can get at any beauty supply store), wrapping the tip in cotton, and gently pushing the cuticle back to create that perfect ridge.
A good time to tackle cuticles is right after you get out of the shower "because thats when your skin is soft and easy to push back," she said. "You can also soak your hands in warm water until your cuticles soften up that works well, too.
So the next time you do your nails at home or go to the salon, dont cut the cuticles. Theres nothing more unsightly than freshly manicured hands with a side of infection.
Heres to manis that don't resemble a crime scene.