Cuticle care 101
There’s absolutely no point in taking the time to paint your nails if you neglect your cuticles – hangnails and overhanging cuticles can ruin the look of even the most polished talons. From orange sticks to remover cream, read on for our tips on the easiest ways to take care of your cuticles.
If you use hand cream (and if you don’t, you should be so it’s worth investing in some!) then make sure you get a product that markets itself as a hand and nail cream.
Try The Body Shop’s Almond Hand and Nail Cream or Clarins’ Hand and Nail Treatment Cream and relax in the knowledge that you are looking after your cuticles as well as helping yourself get baby soft hands.
While a hand and nail cream is advisable to use on a daily basis, cuticle oil is a good option if you are giving yourself an at-home manicure.
Many of these oils come in a similar bottle to a nail polish, so use the inbuilt brush to apply to the cuticles. Leave for a few minutes and then rub in. It’s a good idea to do this at bedtime the night before you are planning a manicure, so it has time to sink into the skin. OPI Nail Treatments Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil is a good option, while Scholl’s Nail Care Oil contains a nourishing oil complex to moisturise and condition the cuticles and nails. Cruelty-free brand 7th Heaven has also recently launched their Spa Range, with a cuticle finger masque among their options. These masques strengthen the nails with pomegranate and macadamia oil and smell absolutely divine - what’s not to love?
Many nail technicians have contradicting ideas on what to do with cuticles past this point – whether they should be removed or just pushed back. If you prefer to cut back your cuticles, then you need to invest in a pair of cuticle cutters, rather than just using nail scissors. But if you’re nervous about cutting your cuticles, then go the traditional route by buying some orange sticks.
Once you have applied the oil onto your cuticles and left for a few minutes to absorb, use the pointed end of the orange stick to very gently push back your cuticles. This will give the effect of having longer nails as well. Orange sticks can be purchased very cheaply at your local pharmacy, so stock up on your next visit.
Picking the cuticles and skin around the nails is a common problem for people and, while there are products to help you stop biting your nails, there are fewer remedies for this particular problem. If you do find yourself gnawing away at the nails or picking like crazy, then it’s worth perhaps investing in a salon manicure – you’re less likely to pick if your nails look gorgeous. Also make sure you always have a tube of hand and nail cream in your bag. If you find yourself with the urge to pick, slather on some cream and it will be all the more difficult to do so.