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Cuticle Care for Nails

Soak and Soften

Before doing any manipulation of your cuticles, give them a good soak. This will help soften them up so there's less risk of damage. Fill a bowl with warm water and a dollop of facial cleanser or gentle soap. Rub a small amount of cuticle oil or cream on the cuticles of each finger, one hand at a time, then relax as you let them soak in the water. After two to three minutes (or when the warmth begins to fade from your finger soak) your cuticles should be softened and ready for your attentions.

Push Back

After taking your digits out of the water, get pushy with any overgrown cuticle. Using either a cuticle pusher or a cotton-wrapped orange stick (you can get one from your local beauty supply or drugstore), push any stray cuticle gently back. If it hurts or your fingers feel sore after, you're being a little too rough on yourself and can injure your cuticles. Only do this when they become visible, and never attempt to do so when they are dry.

Trim With Caution

Cuticle clipping is tricky business, and should be done cautiously or not at all. Your cuticles are the protectors of your nails as they grow from the root, so the last thing you want is to cut them away. Not only are you at risk of damaging the way they grow, but you might end up with an unpleasant infection by allowing bacteria to pass the barrier that your cuticles create. Save trimming for hangnails, and stick to pushing them back.


Moisturizing is a good thing for most areas of your body, and it's no different when it comes to your nails. After you've soaked, pushed and trimmed, give your nails a bit of love by massaging in a moisturizing cream, vitamin E oil or cuticle oil. This will keep your nails from drying out, and when you use a moisturizer with SPF during the day, you're also protecting your cuticles from the sun. Before bed, get into the habit of giving your hands and cuticles a little extra TLC in the form of a cuticle cream or oil rub-down as added protection against dryness.

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