DIY Cuticle Remover – Cuticle Care Guide

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When you visit your favorite nail salon, the technician always starts the process by cleaning up your nails before applying any tips, forms, acrylics, gels, or polish.

Clean nails that are free from hanging dead skin or rough edges are the foundation that will eventually make your nails look Insta-worthy.

And pushing back your cuticles from the nail bed will be part of this cleaning-up process. This is something that you can — and should — do for yourself at home, especially if you don’t have the time to head to the nail salon every week.

Read on to discover some DIY cuticle remover techniques…


What Are Cuticles, Exactly?

Cuticles are basically ‘dead’ flakey skin tissue that has the job of forming a seal between the nail bed and surrounding skin, which is known as the eponychium.

They are a very important part of the nail.

If they didn’t serve a purpose, they simply wouldn’t exist!

Cuticles protect new nail growth from attracting any dirt, bacteria or fungus as the nail grows out from the nail bed.

This means taking care of your cuticles is an important part of your overall nail health.

Overgrown cuticles can cause problems. If they’re left to overgrow, they can become dry and split.

This would allow dirt to get in and have the potential of causing infection and damage to the eponychium and the nail itself.

Most cuticle damage, however, happens because they become dry.

So if your body is dehydrated from lack of water, you wash your hands frequently with soaps that are too harsh for your skin, or you live somewhere with extremes in cold weather, then your cuticles will probably also be dry and flaky.

Why Remove The Cuticles?

Red and black art design on nails. Isolated.

This is where it gets controversial.

Many nail technicians don’t know that the cutting of cuticles is illegal in some states, including New York, where it is considered a surgical procedure.

Cuticle cutting is also not advised by dermatologists

If you cut your cuticles, then over time this can make the eponychium grow back much thicker and faster, as it works to defend the nail bed from attack.

This will eventually create more scar tissue, as anyone who is a persistent nail-biter can attest to.

The eponychium is more prominent on damaged nails, and so to make them more aesthetically pleasing, many nail technicians will quite often remove the thickened skin. 

And if the tools that are used to do the cutting aren’t properly sanitized, which happens more often than you’d like to believe, then this can be a source of infection and cause even more damage to the skin and nail bed. 

So basically, just because it might look good, removal of the cuticles is purely an esthetic procedure that isn’t worth sacrificing your nail health for.

Removing the cuticles is not necessary and can even be dangerous. 

Removing the cuticles is not necessary and can even be dangerous. 

Also, the main ingredients contained in most cuticle removers on the market are potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide. These are strong alkaline chemicals that cause corrosion and will basically irritate, burn and eventually injure the surrounding skin tissue.

Potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide also damage nail keratin, the natural protein that gives them strength, so if your nails are already weak, then using these chemicals to remove your cuticles isn’t a wise idea.

However, there is nothing wrong with softening and pushing back cuticles, which is what you need to do to keep them as healthy as possible.

You don’t want to remove your cuticles. Instead, you want to care for them properly.

So read on to find out how to do this safely.

Tender Loving Cuticle

Cuticle Pusher

Of course, no one likes the look of flaky skin and hangnails, which can also cause further splitting, tearing and pain if left untreated.

When you carefully push back your cuticles on a regular basis, this helps to stop hangnails and flaky skin from developing. But to push them back properly, your cuticles will need to be moisturized.

As part of your normal daily shower routine, you can begin rubbing your cuticles in a circular motion with your towel as you dry your hands to help with blood flow.

Then to finish, make sure you moisturize your hands, along with the nails and cuticles with a homemade cuticle oil (read on a bit further to find out how to make your own) or by using a product like Cuccio's Naturalé Milk and Honey Cuticle Oil .

This lightweight cuticle oil contains nourishing natural high-quality cold-pressed oils and vitamins, including vitamin E, which provide protection to dry and cracked cuticles, as well as the surrounding skin tissue and nails.

Its paraben-free, deep moisturizing formula also includes honey, which is a natural humectant that will keep the area drenched in moisture. 

Naturalé Milk and Honey Cuticle Oil can also be used on the body, and is cruelty-free. 

Cuccio Naturale Revitalizing- Hydrating Oil For Repaired Cuticles Overnight - Remedy For Damaged Skin And Thin Nails - Paraben /Cruelty-Free Formula - Milk And Honey - 2.5 Oz
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DIY Cuticle Removers and Managers

Cuticle Pusher

Making your own cuticle oil to help push back your cuticles is easier than you might think. The following is a recipe that you can make at home to keep your cuticles and nails moisturized and happy.

Combine the following ingredients in a glass jar and use as you would any cuticle oil to keep them healthy:

  • 2 ml sweet almond oil
  • 2 ml coconut or olive oil
  • 2 drops of vitamin E oil
  • 2 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops of tea tree essential oil

Another kitchen staple for many, apple cider vinegar, can also help you to take better care of your cuticles and nails in general. Try soaking your fingers in a bowl of apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes to help to loosen your cuticles so that they can be more easily pushed back.

To help push back your now softened cuticles, the IVON Cuticle Trimmer with Pusher  has rubber tips that are really gentle to the nail bed and don’t cause cuticle damage.

As a bonus, apple cider vinegar also helps to strengthen your nails, so using this kitchen cupboard DIY cuticle remover is a win-win.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).