How do you remove a cuticle with safety and accuracy? The least painful way is to use cuticle remover. But what is cuticle remover in nail care? Is it a tool or something else?
- 1 Cuticle softener vs. cuticle remover vs. cuticle nippers
- 2 How do you use nail cuticle remover?
- 3 Why does cuticle remover work?
- 4 Should I soak my nails before using cuticle remover?
- 5 What about cuticle nippers?
- 6 How to use cuticle remover on toes
- 7 Is cuticle remover bad for your nails?
- 8 What’s the best tool for removing cuticles?
- 9 How can you avoid using cuticle remover?
- 10 What about homemade cuticle remover?
- 11 What about homemade cuticle oil?
Cuticle softener vs. cuticle remover vs. cuticle nippers
If you allow the dry skin to grow down over your nails, it will mess with your manicure. Nail polish won’t look right or adhere properly. Then there’s the problem of hangnails. How do you deal with this mess?
The easiest way is to use a cuticle softener. You don’t need a professional product to soften cuticles. Soaking your fingers in warm water for a few minutes will do the job. After the skin is soft, use an orange stick or cuticle pusher to nudge the skin away from the nail.
Another trick is to use cuticle remover. This is a salon product that softens the skin and makes it very easy to push the cuticles out of the way or trim them. You’ll see various examples in this article, starting with this:
Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover Gel
Call it cuticle remover gel or liquid – either way, it’s the best cuticle remover when you’re in a hurry. Instead of soaking your fingers for a few minutes, this product softens the cuticles in 15 seconds. Moreover, it also removes calluses in a minute.
Is it drying? Yes and no. It’s water-based and has chamomile and aloe to condition the skin. However, let’s look at the directions. I’m sure you’re going to want to use cuticle oil when you’re done.
There’s one other downside. The formula contains parabens. But since it’s not to be used over a large area of skin and is washed off after a few seconds, it shouldn’t be a problem.
How do you use nail cuticle remover?
Here’s how to use the cuticle remover liquid above:
- Squeeze the gel around the edges of the nail and under the tips
- After 15 seconds, start pushing the cuticles back with a manicure stick
- As soon as you’re done, wash your hands with warm, soapy water
- Apply moisturizer and/or cuticle oil if you won’t be painting your nails
If you want to use this product to remove calluses, apply it only to the dry skin and wait one minute. Immediately wash with warm, soapy water and moisturize.
Wait a minute – they don’t say how to remove the callus after using the liquid. This is when it’s handy to have a metal nail file or pumice stone because you can gently scrub to remove the dead skin. You may have to repeat the process once a day for a few days to make it all disappear.
Why does cuticle remover work?
Professional cuticle remover solutions rely on potassium hydroxide to break down the bonds between skin cells. It’s lye so it’s very alkaline. That’s why you have to be careful to follow the directions to not give yourself chemical burns.
FYI: vinegar neutralizes cuticle remover made with potassium hydroxide.
Should I soak my nails before using cuticle remover?
There’s actually a pretty intense debate over soaking nails before taking care of cuticles.
Some salons are waterless. They don’t soak fingers because they don’t want the nails to swell with water. If the nails are sealed with polish and the moisture is trapped, the polish will start to chip and peel from the nail.
On the other hand, water is a non-toxic way to soften dry skin. It makes it much easier to push back and trim cuticles.
What about cuticle nippers?
Aha, you’ve been paying attention. I talked about softener versus remover but we didn’t get to the tools.
Instead of using fingernail scissors or clippers to hack at cuticles, nippers are neater and safer. The idea is that once all that dead skin is pushed back away from the nail, it’s easy to trim.
Use the nippers to snip away the dead skin as smoothly as possible in one long go. It’s like peeling an apple with one long strip instead of removing chunks of peel. The neater your handiwork, the less likely it is that you’ll end up with hangnails.
How to use cuticle remover on toes
As long as you or a friend can reach your toenails, the method is the same. Follow the directions on the product you’re using. Just because the cuticles on your toes look thicker or drier, doesn’t mean that you should leave the cuticle remover for longer. Chemical burns are painful and take a long time to heal.
In my experience, cuticle remover cream might be more convenient and effective on toes.
Sally Hansen Problem Cuticle Remover
One review said that this product is “strong enough to make even a man’s neglected toenail cuticle soft and neat again”. What’s more, the package includes manicure sticks to push back the cuticles after applying the cream.
What’s the catch? It takes longer than the cuticle remover gel, as much as 5 minutes to soften the dry skin. However, it’s pH-balanced and fortified with aloe so it’s kinder to the skin.
You’ll still need to wash it off when you’re done, and it also contains parabens. But overall, it’s a good choice if you’re not in a rush to get your nails done.
Is cuticle remover bad for your nails?
If cuticle remover makes it that easy to get rid of dead skin, does it harm the nails? Does it dissolve them?
The good news is that it won’t make your nails disappear. There are even cuticle remover products that won’t harm your manicure.
If you use cuticle remover according to the directions, everything should be fine.
But if you have allergies to certain ingredients like aloe, parabens, or lanolin, please check the label on the product you want to use.
And if you want to snip off the excess, be careful not to cut living tissue. It’s better to err on the side of caution and trim less because you can always trim more later.
What’s the best tool for removing cuticles?
Back when I was younger and uninformed, I sanded them down or hacked off my cuticles with clippers or scissors. Then, someone taught me to soak my fingers first and that made it easier. Still, it’s no fun to bleed and have sore fingers, not to mention how unsightly it looked.
Once I discovered cuticle remover, I didn’t look back.
I still use manicure sticks, but the more dedicated I’ve become to taking care of my nails, the more quality tools I’ve collected to do the job quickly and properly. I wonder how many bamboo trees I’ve saved by switching to this metal cuticle pusher:
Cuticle Pusher and Nail Cleaner by Revlon
If you have long nails, you know how gross they get underneath. Maybe you think no one will notice because of the polish, but they will see it and shiver. A couple of minutes with this scoop-edged nail cleaner and the problem is solved. It’s even easier if you apply cuticle remover under the nails first.
The other end of the stick has a curved, flat edge that makes it painless to push back cuticles. What’s more, you can sanitize it with alcohol and it won’t harm the tool.
Finally, it feels nice in the hand and it’s durable. At this price, it pays for itself quickly as you won’t need to buy manicure sticks again.
Tweezerman Rockhard Stainless Steel Cuticle Nipper
When it comes to cuticle nippers, I prefer reputable manufacturers like Tweezerman or Revlon. I’ve had far too many off-brand manicure tools that rust or dull. It’s worth it to spend a little more and have a dependable pair of nippers that will last for years. Last time I checked, Tweezerman will sharpen the blades, too.
Now, there’s something crucial you need to know about cuticle nippers. They come in different sizes. This pair is a ½ jaw but there are also quarter-jaw nippers. Although this is possibly the most common size sold, the smaller nippers might be easier for beginners and people with small hands.
In either case, the nippers have sharp tips for precision cutting that won’t tear the skin. And when you’re done, you can wipe them with alcohol or sanitize them in salon disinfectant or an autoclave.
ProLinc Cuticle Eliminator
I saw a lot of people asking about Blue Cross cuticle remover but I decided not to review it. Store listings didn’t show the ingredients list and neither did the manufacturer’s website. That’s a red flag for me.
I also could’ve included boutique products like Deborah Lippman cuticle remover, but what’s the sense in paying extra when the formula is basically the same across most brands.
This salon-grade cuticle remover may be labeled for professional use only, but it’s possible to buy online from reputable sites. More importantly, it’s paraben-free.
The simple formula doesn’t include fancy ingredients like moisturizers or perfumes. Instead, it focuses on what gets results, namely potassium hydroxide.
It takes about 45 seconds to soften cuticles. Then, you’ll need to wash with soap and water once you push the cuticles back from the nail plate.
Lastly, it’s a decent size bottle that won’t expire for 36 months after opening. It’s cruelty-free and made in the USA, too.
How can you avoid using cuticle remover?
There’s a very simple way to cut down on the effort of having to soften, push back, and trim your cuticles so often.
Seriously, hand lotion doesn’t cut it. Cream doesn’t cut it. You need cuticle oil. Give in and get some. Apply it every day morning and night. Put more during the day if you’ve exposed your hands to harsh conditions (like bleach).
It doesn’t have to be messy and greasy and a big hassle. Get something simple like this little cuticle oil pen with a brush tip.
The Body Shop Almond Nail & Cuticle Oil
This is the least messy, easiest way I’ve found to care for cuticles and prevent hangnails. It’s packaged in a convenient pen shape about the size of eyeliner.
Twist the end of the pen and fill the brush with oil before painting your cuticles with it. The oil sinks in quickly, especially if you massage it. If you don’t like feeling greasy afterward, wait a couple of minutes and moisturize with lotion.
The formula features almond, olive, soy, wheat germ, and grapeseed oil with lanolin. These are potent conditioners and emollients to seal in moisture and smooth the skin.
It has a light fragrance that repeat buyers seem to love. And thankfully, this is a paraben-free product.
What about homemade cuticle remover?
I knew you were going to ask. Do you remember those dark days when salons closed and we were on our own? Well, guess what – I found out that baking soda works as DIY cuticle remover. But man, does it dry out the skin. (At least it makes it feel really soft).
If you do a teaspoon of baking soda with a half teaspoon of honey or olive oil, it’s not quite as dehydrating.
Soak your fingers for 3 minutes in warm water. Pat them dry but leave the skin damp.
Make the paste and rub it into the cuticles. Leave it there for 30 seconds to a minute. Then use a manicure tool to push the cuticles back.
Wash your hands and apply cuticle oil. Ta-da! Look at how pretty those nails are now.
What about homemade cuticle oil?
No, you don’t need to buy fancy premade cuticle oil. I won’t tell anyone if you moisturize your nails with olive oil, sesame oil, etc. What matters is consistency.
No, not the consistency of the formula, but your persistence in applying it. Take care of your cuticles every day by moisturizing them. Do it right after your shower when you’ve taken the time to push back your cuticles while the skin is damp.
I hope I’ve satisfied your curiosity about how to use cuticle remover. Feel free to drop me your other burning questions in the comments below.