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By Ugochi Obiajunwa

If no matter what you do, your nails are constantly breaking, chipping, peeling, or just generally looking unattractive, it’s time to consider the state of your cuticles. The skin at the base of the nail plays a crucial role when it comes to nail health. A damaged cuticle can lead to an unhealthy matrix, which results in an unhealthy nail. Your nails will never look nice if your cuticles are in a mess. So here’s what to do to keep properly groomed nail cuticles.

nail cuticles

  1. Oil Up Regularly

Moisturizing is the No. 1 best thing one can do for the nails. While hand creams are great, cuticle oil will actually penetrate through both the skin and nail, delivering moisture to the matrix to ensure healthy nail growth. Just keep in mind that you need to be moisturizing your cuticles on the regular basis in order for it to do any good. This is not a once-and-for all type situation, rather work it into your daily routine just as the way you brush your teeth, apply some oil onto your cuticle.

  1. Cut down

Cutting the cuticles can make your manicure look pretty for the moment, but it destroys the nail in the long run. The cuticle is a protective layer that prevents water and bacteria. Cutting them or allowing them get cut can expose the nails to infection and water, damaging the nail plate and creating unsightly ridges.

  1. Damp with a towel

If cutting them is (most definitely) not an option, how do you ensure your cuticles don’t grow out and start to cover your entire nail? Push them back by using a damp towel, and this should be done on a daily basis. The best time to do this is after taking a shower as the skin is still soft and damp. You can do so with the tip of your towel, lightly rubbing the base of the nail in circular motions.

  1. Use a Cuticle Remover

If daily push backs aren’t quite doing the work, a liquid cuticle remover is another great alternative to cutting. Add a drop to each nail and let it sit for a few seconds. Then, use a clean spoolie or toothbrush to buff the cuticle area, moving in circular motion. Wipe off any residue, then buff again. This is an ingenious trick that quickly makes the entire nail look clean and neat Just remember that you should always wash your hands after using a cuticle remover, since it can potentially irritate your skin if left on for too long. Try this technique weekly, or anytime you want to make your nails look good.

  1. Scrub with a brush

If you’re pushing your cuticles back daily and using remover weekly, consider a more intensive sloughing session as a monthly or bi-monthly treatment. Using a Clarisonic brush paired with a charcoal-based soap will help completely remove any leftover dead skin, on both nails and hands.

  1. Moisturize More Overnight

Ladies generally have a set bedtime routine when it comes to addressing the issue of our complexion, one can also set out a time to treat your nails and cuticles, too. Go for more heavy-duty hydration cream to use while you snooze.

Apply a thick layer of both cuticle oil and a cream, then put on a pair of cotton gloves. Everything soaks in overnight and you wake up with a moisturized nails and cuticles.

  1. Treat Cuticles While You Do the Dishes

Wearing gloves while washing the dishes is a good way of protecting your hands and nails, but you can even take it one step further and create a quick DIY treatment. Grab any oil you have on ground in the kitchen be it olive, coconut oil and pour a little bit into a pair of latex gloves. Slip those on, top with a pair of dishwashing gloves, then get to scrubbing. The warmth from the water coupled with the double-layered gloves helps the oil penetrate, leaving your hands and nails extremely well-moisturized.

  1. Create a Protective Barrier

Any time you know your hands are going to be underwater for a long time during the day, a dip in the pool, while  washing, a long bath. Simply cover your cuticles to keep water from drying them out. Rub coconut or olive oil on your nails, then cover that with Vaseline. The oil hydrates, while the Vaseline seals it in and protects the nails and cuticles.

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