Beauty Debate: Should You Cut Your Cuticles or Not?

July 13, 2020
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | by L'Oréal
Beauty Debate: Should You Cut Your Cuticles or Not?

Cuticles cutters are practically my best friend. I know it’s a bad beauty practice;I’ve been told by dermatologists and manicurists alike that cutting cuticles can do way more harm than good. Regardless of what I know to be true though, I’ll always have a soft spot for an aesthetically-pleasing manicure with my cuticles trimmed to perfection. In a last ditch effort to change my ways, I decided to weigh the pros and cons of  cuticle cutting. To help me, I tapped celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann. Our thoughts on cuticle cutting, ahead. 

The Argument Against Cutting Cuticles 

While you may be tempted to cut your cuticles for aesthetic reasons, your cuticles exist for a very practical reason — to protect your nails. “Our cuticles prevent free radicals and bacteria from entering the body,” says Lippmann. “They’re meant to protect both the skin barrier and the nails themselves.” As a result, cutting your cuticles can lead to infection or irritation. While cutting your cuticles is a no-go according to Lippmann, there are still easy steps you can take to keep your nails looking clean and polished. 

“Pushing your cuticle back with a cuticle pusher and then using cuticle remover is the way to go because it will not only create more space on the nail for polish, but it will also help you remove excess skin,” says Lippmann. Once this excess skin is pushed back, you can remove that excess, dry cuticle or hanging skin with a clipper. “Place the head of your nipper at the base of the hanging skin and close and open the jaw in the same spot,” she says. “Do not pull! Resist the temptation to close the nipper and yank the skin off.” Make sure to keep your cuticles hydrated throughout the week, too. We like the Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil and the Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil.

Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil

The Argument for Cutting Cuticles

Let me first say that under no circumstances — be it in a salon or at home —will I take a cuticle cutter to my nails without first sanitizing the tool, soaking my hands in warm water, softening the surrounding area, using a cuticle oil. I like my hands to look clean, but I never go so far as to over-cut or cause pain. Also, when I let my cuticles go longer than two weeks without cutting them, I not only start to develop painful hangnails, but I also find that I’m more prone to pick at and push back my cuticles with my dirty hands. I always end up ripping off more than necessary, which causes my nail and the surrounding skin to get irritated. 

Still, I’ll be making a major effort to give the cuticles cutters a rest in hopes of preserving my nails’ health. Lippmann won this beauty debate fair and square — she is the pro, after all! 

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