Cuticles can be unsightly, and if they're not fully removed, they can cause polish to chip and enhancements to lift. However, improper cuticle removal can hurt clients by causing hangnails or infections, so it's crucial to learn how to deal with them safely and effectively.

To safely work with cuticles, it’s important to understand the difference between the cuticle and the proximal nail fold or eponychium. There's a common belief that cutting the cuticle is dangerous, but that's based in a common misconception about what the cuticle actually is. The cuticle is a transparent tissue that develops as a film over the nail plate. This dead tissue can safely be removed. What many people refer to as the cuticle is actually the eponychium. This living tissue forms a seal between the nail plate and the skin. On the nail, it's the visible rim between the skin of the finger and the nail plate itself. When removing the cuticles, it’s important not to push the fold of the eponychium up, causing it to separate from the nail plate. This can cause hangnails or painful, inflamed skin around the nails. Instead, only push the cuticle up to the fold of skin, but do not push against the eponychium itself.

Follow these steps to safely work with cuticles:

1. Apply a cuticle remover to the nail.

2. Use a cuticle pusher across the entire nail plate to lift the cuticle tissue.

3. Clean the perimeter of the nail with a curette, moving it in a circular motion to remove the remaining cuticle tissue. Thoroughly removing all cuticle tissue will help your clients' polish, gel-polish, or enhancements last longer.


5. Remove any remaining cuticles or hangnails with your nipper.

The small white pieces of remaining cuticle will be easy to distinguish from the undisturbed eponychium. Take your nippers and lay them against the fold of skin, then pinch the cuticle and let go. Don’t yank at the cuticle with your nipper — this may pull at the eponychium, causing hangnails or irritation. Using a sharp, high-quality nipper will make it easier to remove the cuticle tissue without pulling on it.

Following these steps will ensure that all cuticles are safely removed without damaging the natural nail. Sharp, precise cuticle nippers from Antoine de Paris are available in three jaw sizes: the quarter jaw, which is the smallest at 3 mm, the half jaw, which has a length of 5 mm, and the full jaw, which has a length of 7 mm. Which you choose is a matter of personal preference. Smaller jaw sizes give more control, while larger sizes can remove more cuticle at once. The handle length is available in a 4 inch regular size and a long handled 4.5 inch size, which may be more comfortable for those with larger hands. The nippers are available in single spring or double spring options, and box joint construction provides extra strength to the nipper joint, making sure the blades meet precisely for clean nipping.

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