The cuticle is the small piece of translucent skin at the base of each nail, and its function is to protect the nail from bacteria while it is growing. The skin usually grows flat over the nail, but proper maintenance involves pushing it back towards the skin of your finger. Pushing back the cuticle gives the nail a longer appearance, prepares it for polishing, and keeps the cuticles healthy.
That said, when performing cuticle care, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Below are the many dos and don'ts of how to use a cuticle pusher.
Do Wash Your Hands
Before you can begin pushing back your cuticles, you must take the time to wash your hands thoroughly. Wash your hands with soap in warm water for at least 20 seconds.
This step will help to remove bacteria from your hands that could potentially get underneath the cuticle. There is also a risk of causing a cut or pushing back too far on the cuticle, which could create an entryway for pathogens to enter your body. So let’s make sure not to skip this step, gals!
Do Soften the Cuticles Beforehand
Cuticles are softer than most skin but are still tough and could be damaged if you try to push them back without softening them first. By softening the skin, the cuticles become pliable and prevented from any damage. There are a few ways to soften the cuticles, including soaking in warm water and using cuticle oil. Each one has its own benefits to consider.
Soak in Water
Soaking your nails in warm water is an effective way to soften the cuticles and nails. Place your hands into a bowl of warm water for about five minutes to prepare the cuticles for pushing. This is a great option because you do not have to purchase any additional products. Plus, it’ll make the nails easier to cut.
Use Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil is another option. Cuticle oils are typically made from beeswax, jojoba oil, flaxseed oil, vitamin E oil, coconut oil, and almond oil. Petroleum jelly can also be used as an affordable alternative.
These oils moisturize the skin of the cuticle and the skin around it. This increased moisture contributes to the overall health of your nails. When applying the oils follow the instructions on the bottle. Typically you will massage the oils into each cuticle for a few seconds.
Do Use the Round Part to Push Back the Cuticle
A cuticle pusher often has two sides. One side is shaped like a rounded spoon or spatula, and the other side is a pointy part. The pointy end is used for tucking in the corners of the cuticle and cleaning underneath the nail. The round part is what you should use to push back the cuticle.
Place the round edge curve side down and angled at about 30 degrees. Gently push the round part of the pusher until slight resistance is met and the cuticle no longer covers the face of the nail.
Do Use The Right Cuticle Pusher For You
There are a variety of materials to choose from when it comes to cuticle pushers. Each one has its own pros and cons. The three main materials are metal, wood, and silicone, depending on your needs and preferences.
Metal is a popular choice as it is reliable, durable, and can be thoroughly cleaned. However, metal is typically harsher than other materials and is less gentle on the nails. Wood and silicone are gentler on the cuticles, but are less durable materials. Wood pushers tend to crack if not cared for carefully, and the silicone tips can easily fall off. It all depends on the kind of nails that you have.
Do Push them Back Regularly
Pushing back your cuticles should not only be done when you go once a month or every few weeks to get your nails done. It should be part of your regular self-care.
That said, pushing back your cuticles should be done every 4 to 7 days because you can overdo it, too. You do not want to do this too often as it may decrease the integrity of the cuticle and prevent it from being able to grow. It is a good idea to choose one day a week that you have some extra time to devote to doing some cuticle care.
Don’t Trim the Excess Cuticle
Avoid trimming the excess cuticle that you push back. Trimming the cuticle increases your risk for infection because you are using another instrument. In addition, there is a risk of cutting your skin around the nail. Not only is a cut in this fragile skin painful and uncomfortable, but it also creates an additional place that pathogens can enter the body.
You may see a nail technician cutting the cuticles when you’re getting a manicure, as this is a common practice in salons. However, the best advice is to ask the nail technician to avoid cutting your cuticles as it is not a necessary procedure and carries many risks.
Don’t Pick at Your Cuticles
You should never use your other fingernails to push back your cuticles. Your fingernails harbour bacteria underneath them, which is another potential infection risk. Also, when you pick at your cuticles with your finger nails the chances are you have not taken the time to pretreat with an oil or warm water; therefore, you could damage the cuticle.
There is also the potential to scratch yourself or even break the fingernail that you are using. To avoid these complications, it is best to use a tool specifically designed for cuticle pushing.
Don’t Forget to Wash the Tool
The cuticle pusher is getting very close and personal with the cuticle and area underneath it. These areas should be kept clean and are close to a portal of entry into your body. Because it is such an important location to keep clean, it is important that you keep your utensil clean as well.
Before and after using the cuticle pusher, you should wash it in warm to hot water with mild soap to remove bacteria that could be growing on its surface. Then, leave it to air dry or dry with a clean towel before use.
Don’t Bite Your Nails
Biting your nails can be a detriment to your overall health and well being. Biting your nails can easily become a habit, but there are some consequences that come along with the mindless behavior. First of all, your nails will not look their best. Biting your nails can make them become brittle and even stunt the growth of your nails, causing them to look short, stubby, and fragile.
In addition to harming your nail health, it can also impact your whole body’s health. Every time you place your fingers in your mouth, you are introducing germs into your body. Especially in 2020, it is important to keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth, and nose to prevent infection.
Don’t Forget to Finish the Manicure
Taking the time to do self-care, like pushing back your cuticles, is an extra step in your daily care routine that most do not do. Since you are already taking care of yourself, you might as well go the extra mile and finish your manicure. This may be as little as cutting and filing your fingernails or as involved as polishing your nails or applying false nails.
Clutch Nails press on nails are easy to apply and leave you feeling put together. The only steps you need are to file or cut the nail to your liking and apply it to your nail with the provided glue. You will not have to worry about making the polish perfect or it chipping away slowly. After you’re done taking care of your cuticles, take the extra step and apply some press on nails.
The Wrap Up
Pushing back your cuticles doesn’t have to be difficult. By taking your time with preparing your cuticles by softening them, washing your hands, and preparing the proper tools, you will increase your chances of a successful process.
Carefully follow these cuticle pushing dos and don’ts to guide you in creating the ultimate cuticle care routine. Your work and determination will pay off in the health and appearance of your nails and cuticles, and who doesn’t want that? Also, do not forget to complete the self-care cycle and give yourself a complete manicure with press on nails and all.