Tending to your cuticles is one of the most important steps when doing your manicure whether you are applying nail polishes, acrylics, dip powder, or even press on nails.
You see by pushing back and removing any excess cuticle tissue makes your natural nails look more uniform and most importantly allows your manicure to feel smoother, look brighter, and last longer.
So in this article, we are gonna give some easy DIY homemade methods to remove your cuticles safely and pain-free.
How to Manage Cuticles without Cutting Them
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make when tending to their cuticles is that they cut and actually remove all of it.
You see your cuticles are used to seal off and protect the nail matrix, which is the part deeper into the cuticles, that is responsible for nail growth. Citation.
The key aspect when working with your cuticle is that you need to soften your cuticle first and then push it back instead of cutting it. You can scroll down to see exactly how to do it gonna leave a video for you.
And in the process of pushing the cuticle back, you remove some of the excess transparent cuticle tissue on the nail plate. By doing this makes your nails look more uniform whilst at the same time still allow them to act as a barrier to protect your inner nail matrix.
1- Use a Cuticle Remover
A cuticle remover is a specialized solution that is applied to your cuticles to make them easier to remove.
They are one of the most popular and effective ways to tend to your cuticles at home.
How Does a Cuticle Remover Work
Each brand of cuticle remover works a bit differently and uses different ingredients.
The most effective brands of cuticle removers contain either Potassium Hydroxide or Sodium Hydroxide. These chemicals work by dissolving the dead cuticle tissue on the nails. Citation.
Generally, these are harsher on your skin and nails. And because of this, I would advise using a moisturizer along with them or a brand that contains a moisturizer.
Now, they are other milder and less harsh cuticle removers that contain exfoliants similar to those used in facial and skin washes.
These work by breaking the bonds of the cuticle skin cells which makes them easier to push down and remove. They contain chemicals such as glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Most cuticle removers are safe to use since they have to be thoroughly tested before they can be sold to the public.
How to Use a Cuticle Remover
Each brand would be applied and used a bit differently. So you should follow the instructions on how to use that specific brand of cuticle remover.
But the brand that I use and recommend is Blue Cross, they are very effective and yet not overly potent to damage your nails or cuticle.
Blue Cross contains potassium hydroxide to help break down the dead cuticle skin cells making them easier to push down. Blue cross also contains lanolin oil to moisturize your skin and decrease the potency of the potassium hydroxide.
How To Apply
- Firstly apply the lotion on and around your cuticles, you can apply it by using the applicator that it comes with.
- Once you have applied the lotion you can then proceed to use a cuticle stick to push your cuticles backward.
- Finally, if you have any pieces of cuticles that are standing out you can use a cuticle clipper to remove them, these are generally dead skin cells and it won’t hurt to remove them.
- I found a really good video to guide you through step by step, you can check it out below.
Where to Get a Cuticle Remover
You can get Blue Cross Cuticle Remover on Amazon. It comes with its own applicator in the form of a nail polish bottle and brush which makes it much easier to apply. You can click here to see the current price for a bottle.
I also recommend a glass cuticle stick to push back your cuticles. These are very effective at pushing back your cuticles, they look really professional and are very hygienic since they can be washed.
You can click here to see the price on Amazon for the glass cuticle remover that I use, the flat broad end is used to scrape off and push your cuticles and the sharp pointed end is used to remove any excess skin cells.
DIY Cuticle Remover Tool
I usually use a cuticle trimmer to remove any excess pieces of cuticle that stand out.
You can click here to see the price and what it looks like on Amazon. It is a stainless steel one so it would retain its sharpness for a very long time.
2- Use Oil, Soap and Water
Now if you don’t want to use a store-bought cuticle remover you can use a combination of oil, soap, and water to soften your cuticles which makes them easier to remove.
- Firstly, wash your cuticles and nails with soap and warm water and don’t dry it instead apply some oil onto your cuticle.
- I usually recommend cuticle oil but almost any oil that is used as a moisturizer can work
- Now once you apply the oil you can use your cuticle pusher to gently push and neaten up your cuticles.
- Finally use a nail brush or a new washing sponge to scrub your nails down.
3- Lemon and Oil
Lemon contains citric acid which can be used to weaken your cuticle skin cells allowing them to be easily removed.
I recommend pushing your nails into the lemon and letting it soak for 30 seconds then apply some oil and then use a cuticle pusher to neaten up your cuticles.
4- Apple Cider Vinegar
Now if you dont have lemon juice you can use apple cider vinegar. Which contains acetic acid that also weakens the cuticle skin making them easier to remove.
I recommend soaking your cuticles in some apple cider vinegar for 30 seconds. Then apply some oil and then you can gently push and shape your cuticles.
Both lemon juice and apple cider vinegar also kill any bacteria or microbes on your cuticles which will help to prevent any infection from forming.
5- Use an Exfoliant (Face Wash)
Exfoliants are special chemicals used to remove dead skin cells. They are found in acne treatments, face washes, and other skin treatments.
An Exfoliant works by either:
- Containing an alpha hydroxy acid such as lactic acid, salicylic acid which weakens the glue binding the skin cells together making them easier to remove and push back or
- They use an abrasive material like microbeads that sands off the dead cuticle skin cells.
Now either type of exfoliant can work.
So if you have an acne face wash that contains Salicylic acid you can apply some to your cuticles and let it soak in for 30 seconds then use your hands to vigorously wash it. Finally, apply some oil and use your cuticle pusher to shape up your cuticles.
Now if you have an abrasive exfoliant you can do the same except you would have to more vigorously wash
6- Baking Soda and Honey
Baking soda is an affordable and natural exfoliant that can be used to soften your cuticles to make them easier to remove. Citation.
Now baking soda will also make your cuticles extra dry so I recommend using it in conjunction with honey which acts as a moisturizer. But baking soda can be used by itself. Citation.
Just take 1 tablespoon of baking soda and add 1 tablespoon of honey and stir into a paste. Then apply the paste on your cuticles and let it rest for 30 seconds. Then use a cuticle remover to push and shape your cuticles.
If you don’t have any honey you can make a baking soda paste with a small amount of water and I usually add a bit of oil to moisturize your cuticles.
One of the best ways to make and keep your cuticles looking strong and healthy is to keep them well-nourished and hydrated.
And one of the best ways to do so is to use a cuticle oil pen.
A cuticle oil pen contains specially formulated oil to promote both nail and cuticle health and it comes in a portable and easy to use applicator.
Benefits of Using a Cuticle Remover
1- Makes Your Manicures Look More Even and Uniform
By working and shaping your cuticles allows your nail polishes and acrylics to look more smooth and uniform.
You see each one of your cuticles grows at a different pace for each one of your nails. Some grow out more whilst some are pointed and even shaped differently. Now by making them all even gives you a neater appearance.
Additionally, if you apply your polishes over the thin transparent part of the cuticle found on your nails, it would give your polish a slight bumpy look and feel.
2- Allows your Nail Polish to Look Brighter
The thin transparent cuticle tissue on your nails can actually absorb the dyes in your nail polish. And by absorbing the dyes dims the color of your polish making it lighter than it is supposed to be.
3- Makes Your Nail Polish Last Longer
That thin layer of cuticle on your nails also hinders your nail polish from bonding and adhering to your nail plate. This makes your nail polish more susceptible to peeling and reduces the overall lifespan of your nail polish.
Drawbacks Of Cuticle Removers
The main drawback that cuticle removers have is that most brands and even some DIY methods are harsh on your nails and thus can weaken them over time.
To counter this I recommend using one with some form of moisturizer built-in or you can apply cuticle oil after removing your cuticles.
Another potential drawback is that if you don’t tend to your cuticles properly and you end up removing too much of it can actually lead to exposing your inner nail matrix which can lead to an infection.
Citation and References