How Nail Salons Properly Groom Cuticles
An at-home manicure rarely looks as good as one done by a professional nail tech in a salon. Even if you've managed to put on an even coat of polish, you probably haven't groomed your cuticles. And that small detail work is what makes a professional mani stand out from a DIY one.
Here's everything you need to know about cuticle care, including some background on the tissue that grows at the bottom of each nail.
What are cuticles, anyway?
In short, they're pieces of nonliving tissue that act as protective barriers, keeping bacteria out of the nail bed in order to prevent painful infections. They also help new keratin cells grow into long, healthy nails.
So why do nail techs remove them during manicures?
Because cuticles, especially long ones, can interfere with nail polish and enhancements such as acrylic products. Plus, the nails simply look neater when scraggly cuticles are gone.
How should they be removed?
Here's how trained techs deal with cuticles without exposing the nails to dangerous intruders:
Step 1: Remove old polish and add cuticle remover to the nails. Have nails soak in a bowl of warm water to soften the cuticles and surrounding skin. Dry the hand and nails after a few minutes.
Step 2: Use a metal cuticle pusher or orangewood stick to carefully, gently scrape away the softened cuticles. The cuticle remover should make them come off fairly easily. Techs can also forgo the remover and simply push the softened cuticles back.
Should cuticles ever be trimmed?
Probably not. Though many nail salons try to trim them during a manicure, the risk of infection—even with properly sanitized instruments—may outweigh any aesthetic benefit. Besides, cuticles will grow back no matter what, so even a temporarily neater line at the base of the nail is unlikely to last for more than a few days.
Bottom line: it's best to ask your nail technician to either use remover on your cuticles or to simply push them back.
How do you care for them between manis?
Cuticle oil! You've probably noticed the nail tech adding a drop of cuticle oil to each nail after a manicure, and that's because that oil can help protect nails with newly removed cuticles. It can also help extend the life of the nail polish by forming a protective coat.
If you keep adding oil to your nails between manicures, you can ensure your nails stay protected and you just may get another couple days out of your mani.
Our guide explains the process of getting acrylics and the pros and cons.
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Read this before you head to the nail salon.