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Caring for your cuticles

the arrow points to a coffee filter patch that I completely screwed up. It's not supposed to be that big. Next time I break a nail, I'll take pictures of the patching process.
My nails. In their unedited, un-polished state. Really, they are currently waaay worse. This was a good day. Constant polish wearing can do a number on natural nails. I'm also more than half certain that my beloved Seche Vite contributes to the yellowing. After wearing polish for years on end with that top coat on top, my nails look like I used turmeric in place of soap.

A good scrub with a nail brush and warm water will remove a bit of the staining, but honestly I've had great luck with regular old cuticle remover. I like to kill two birds with one stone when I can. I try to completely do my cuticles every two weeks. Every couple of days, I just push them gently back with my nail. I am FIRMLY in the "no cut" camp when it comes to cuticles. It's just asking for trouble, in my opinion.

So, after removing your nail polish, assemble your tools. You'll need some cuticle remover and a pusher of some sort. (Here is a neat set, but you can generally find both of these things at any drugstore) And you'll need some oil/balm/lotion for afterwards. It doesn't really matter what you use, but I like the vitamin E oil from Trader Joe's.

basic instructions for applying the cuticle gel. 
Apply the cuticle gel ALL OVER your nails. Cuticle can sometimes be dragged up the nail as it grows, and you'd never see it. (I am fond of this video, it gives a far better explanation than I could.) Let the gel sit for no more than 10 minutes. Seriously. That time is set in stone. This is the reason I only do one hand at a time. You could irritate your skin if you leave this stuff on too long. I generally start pushing my cuticles back at the 5 minute mark. Use the funny scoopy thingie and GENTLY push your cuticles back. I find it works best it you make little circles while you push. The key here is to be gentle. If it hurts, you're doing it wrong. Your cuticles are the first line of defense when it comes to healthy nails, so treat them right.

After each hand is finished, wash with warm soapy water. You want to make sure you get all the gel off so that you don't hurt yourself. I like to use a nail brush when I do this because it'll help remove any loose skin bits that are hanging on. Dry your hands thoroughly and apply your choice of oil, balm, or lotion.

I find that doing this will remove a lot of the surface stains. Look at my thumbs in the "after" picture. 100% less blue there! 


  1. lol...we think alike...I was gonna do this...or a video of my whole process. I do it a completely different way. No remover, just gentle but zealous pushing.

  2. I dont have time generally for soaking/pushing. Sometimes I will push them back when Im in the shower...but usually I just do it with the gel.


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