While you may think the nail color is the most important part of a perfect manicure, we’re here to fill you in on a little known secret: It’s all about the the cuticles. Giving your cuticles the proper TLC — whether in the salon or at home – is critical to keeping your nails and the surrounding skin healthy and looking, well, polished.
The cuticle is the layer of skin at the bottom of your nails and its “primary purpose is to protect the nail,” explains Jin Soon Choi, expert manicurist and founer of JINsoon. It’s important to keep the cuticle healthy and intact, which can mean removing the excess build-up of skin that occurs. Enter cuticle removers. “These products remove that thin layer of dead skin by dissolving it or physically getting rid of it,” Choi says.
Are cuticle removers safe?
Cuticle removers can be very effective, but be mindful of how long you leave on a gel or liquid cuticle remover, as “it can dry up, which could make it harder to remove the cuticle and increase the risk of potentially damaging nails or irritating the skin,” Choi explains.
What’s the best way to remove cuticles?
Lucky for us, there are a variety of different products and tools out there to remove cuticles. Here are your options, according to Choi:
Cuticle pusher, oil, and trimming. This is the combination that nail salons typically use.
Cuticle removers. These are products that typically sit on the skin to slough off dead skin without needing the help of manual tools or trimming.
DIY it. If you want to go the natural route, Choi suggests soaking hands in warm milk to help soften the cuticle before pushing back with the proper tool.
While the jury is still out on whether whether dissolving, trimming, or cutting cuticles is best, Choi recommends pushing them back after using a cuticle oil to hydrate them. “When you push back cuticles thoroughly, there is no need to cut them … and you are still able to maintain the nail’s integrity,” she says. Check out our picks below for the best cuticle removers you can buy, including gels, pushers, trimmers, formulas that work for feet, and more, according to nail experts and shoppers.
Just like the skin on your face and body, your cuticles need exfoliation, too. This powerful CND cuticle remover usesalpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which Choi says are the best ingredients to look for in a cuticle remover, to slough off the dead skin. Plus, it helps to prevent hangnails — win, win. One Ulta reviewer called this product “a game changer” and said “I’m really bad about leaving reviews, but this product is so amazing, I had to.”
Boasting over 9,000 ratings on Amazon, this Blue Cross cuticle remover is a top seller for good reason. “This product does exactly what it’s supposed to and I was able to remove dead skin around the cuticle area and under the toenail using a cuticle pusher with such ease,”a reviewer shared. “I highly recommend it.” You only need to use a tiny bit at time, making this bargain bottle last a very long time.