Hi dear reader!
Today I wanted to talk about cuticles, a very important part of basic nail care. Taking care of your cuticles leads to stronger, healthier nails and you’ll stay far away from awful nails problems such as infections. I’ve been reading tons of articles about cuticle care and I’ve found tons of tips and tricks – some better than the other – so here’s my part of sharing the best with you.
Your nails (2) are made of keratin, that is a hard type of protein and they serve as a protector for your fingertips. The cuticle (4) is a piece of skin that overlaps the hard nail and touches the ‘white moon’ (3) of your nail. The role of the cuticle is basically protecting the new, soft keratin – created in the root of the nail (5) – as it emerges onto the nail. I can hear you thinking – soft keratin? My nails are hard! That’s right, if the protein ages, it hardens. Feel your free tip (1): It’s hard!
Cutting the Cuticles
I admit, I have used the cuticle clipper. I bet a lot of people did! To be honest, it’s not that strange when professional manicurists work with them or when you can find them in your manicure kit. And it’s so tempting to use them when your cuticles look dry and ragged! Health experts have one thing to say about this: do not cut your cuticles.
If you do cut your cuticles in the wrong way the protective barrier can break and provide an entrance for germs like fungus and bacteria. Once these germs enter it is very likely you’ll walk around with a cuticle infection pretty soon and that’s something you definitely want to avoid. There are other ways to make them happy!
Now, getting yourself some happy cuticles isn’t that hard. It doesn’t take much time and it’s definitely worth it: a pretty manicure looks darn crappy with ragged cuticles. There’s one tip that comes back every time: soaking your hands once a week in a bowl of water and olive oil. Now, I’ve tried that. I took a regular sized bowl and put a few drops of olive oil in it. The warm water came from the tap and there I sat, 15 minutes waiting time (tip: put on a tv-show, I bored myself out). After 15 minutes I took them out and used my cuticle pusher to gently push them back. Dried my hands and kapow! Gorgeous, soft cuticles and hands. Even my nails looked healthier and were rosy pink – and still are.
The next best thing is cuticle remover. I own two: Nfu.Oh’s Cuticle Remover and Avoplex Cuticle Exfoliating Cuticle Treatment. Nfu.Oh wins this battle so easily because it works quicker and it removes more dead tissue, though Avoplex has the best smell ever. But that’s a different story. The point of cuticle remover is loosen up those cuticles and removing the dead and hard skin.
You apply the remover to your cuticles, wait a little and then use the cuticle pusher. Take the blunt end and push the cuticles in a circular motion so the dead skin comes off. You don’t have to buy a cuticle exfoliater, you can always create one yourself: mix oil and sugar into a small bowl of water. Massage the scrub into the cuticles for 30 seconds using a circular motion.
Cuticle Creams & Oils
The skin on the cuticles is delicate and needs some more care than your regular hand cream can provide: it really needs some heavier moisturizer for clearing that job. The ones that I prefer contain glycerin, shea butter or sunflower oil. These moisturizers do wonders! You can also use cuticle oil, this gives an intense hydration but I’ve read that this shouldn’t be used to often because the cuticle can get used to this deep hydration and it’ll make it almost impossible hydrating with something else in the future. I don’t know if this is true – but if you want to prevent this there are plenty of amazing cuticle creams available. Recs: Lush Lemony Flutter, P2 Apricot Cuticle Cream and Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. If you have an amazing product yourself, please share!
Now that the cuticles look great you want them to stay that way, so keep moisturizing your babies. Use hand cream daily, after your hands have come into contact with water or just when you feel like.
If you feel like your hands could use some more moisturizing, you can always apply a thick layer of hand cream before you sleep and use cotton gloves so the cream won’t dry out during the night. Also good for preventing nasty stains on the bed! ;) My favourite hand creams are P2’s Ultra Intense Hand Butter and Nivea’s Intensief Voedende Crème (intensive moisturizer) but there are plenty more that moisturize good.
Finding one you like is testing, testing, testing. Man, I think I’ve tried 15 before one finally met my standards!
Hopefully you’ve learned a little more or found out things you didn’t know. If you have any tips or recommendations I (and probably lots of others) would like to know, so please share!
Have a great day!