One of the most essential steps in nail maintenance—aside from filing and polishing them to absolute perfection—is cuticle removal.
Your cuticles exist to protect your nails from bacteria and infection, experts say. Whether your local salon technician uses a cutting tool and flick of the wrist to get the job done, or you prefer the precision of tiny scissors at home, a smooth nail bed is essential for a long-lasting polish finish—but is this step in the care process actually doing more harm than good? “I know it’s really satisfying to cut your nails to see a clean look instantly, but this is a big no-no,” nail expert and beauty founder Jin Soon Choi tells BAZAAR.com.
To get down to the nitty-gritty facts of the matter, we consult Soon Choi and celebrity nail artist Stephanie Stone to get their thoughts on removing and cutting cuticles.
Why is it better to push your cuticles back instead of trimming them?
“Since cuticles are there to guard against bacteria and infection, cutting them takes away a huge defense mechanism,” Stone adds. “Plus, the more you cut them, the more your body will think they need to be produced, which leads to their growing back even thicker.” As a point of reference, she says to think of how a scab creates a protective barrier over a wound as it heals.
What are some of the long-term effects of cutting cuticles on your nails?
“If you cut your cuticles [consistently], they will peel off and start to get ragged in a few days,” Soon Choi notes. Stone explains that while she advises to avoid cutting cuticles as much as possible, she still keeps a pair of cuticle nippers in her beauty kit to cut away dead skin as needed. “If you have a hangnail or snagged skin it is always better to trim it down as short as possible to prevent it ripping on its own. But when it comes to your live skin, care is always better than cutting,” she says.
For expert-approved picks that soften and help safely remove rouge cuticles, shop some of Stone and Soon Choi’s favorite nail care products below.
From Harper’s Bazaar US