Essential Cuticle Care
If your cuticles and nail beds are dry and under-nourished, it’s like trying to grow a garden from a parched cracked bed of soil. Ain’t going to happen! Skin, cuticles, and nails need nutrients along with proper hydration to grow and glow. Anyone who has experienced hangnails or ragged cuticles knows that repairing the damage can be a lot of work. But the good news is once you get cuticles back in shape, keeping them healthy is super easy. Here are some hand-y tips I’ve learned as a hand model:
- Moisturize and massage. My number one tip of all time is to moisturize those mitts! Essentiel is the perfect blend of essential oils and other essential nutrients to infuse the most beneficial moisture into parched cuticles and dying nail beds. The key is to use your lotion regularly to keep cuticles in prime condition. Be sure to hydrate your hands at least a few times a day, especially after sanitizing. Before bed is the best time rub some lotion love on your hands and show extra attention to your cuticles. Give them a little massage to work it in which increases the circulation and allows for maximum absorption.
- A little oil goes a long way. Especially in winter months, it’s beneficial to use an oil which you can either add to your moisturizer or apply on its own. I like to use oils I eat. My favorites are almond, olive and coconut. MCT oil is another great ‘carrier oil’ to add a few drops of essential oils and enjoy the calming aromatherapy and many health benefits. Organic Castor oil is a great treatment for cuticles at night – apply a few drops to fingertips and watch your nails grow quicker and thicker (this works on eyelashes as well!). Remember dry nails become brittle and break, whereas cuticles that are well nourished with oils and other emollients grow long, strong nails!
- Resist the urge to trim. It may seem tempting to cut your cuticles, but this is normally a no-no. A hangnail is of course an exception, but even when I get my nails done at a salon, I ask them not to trim my cuticles. Cutting just causes them to regrow often times thicker and can also risk cuts and infection. I’ve been lucky to work with the best manicurists in the business, so if I really trust someone I may agree to a little cuticle grooming…but most top manicurists prefer to push cuticles rather than cut. And if you keep cuticles healthy, you won’t need to trim them at all!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I know I say this all the time, but it’s truly the best tip for healthy skin — from head to toes — to cuticles! Drinking lots of water will prevent them from getting dry, cracking and turning into hangnails. Hydration works from the inside out. Infuse your water with lemon, electrolytes or liquid minerals to help increase absorption. The daily recommendation is 6-8 cups per day, so drink up.
- Avoid harsh chemicals. Since the goal is to keep our cuticles cared for and hydrated, we should avoid anything that will dry them out. Be mindful of what soaps, detergent and cleaning products you come into contact with. Similarly, acetone-based nail polish remover can do a doozy on both nails and cuticles, so use a gentle remover whenever possible — here’s one I use and love. Wearing gloves when cleaning with harsh products can also protect your hands from chemicals that wreak havoc on your skin.
Cuticles are a part of our skin and need the same TLC we give to the rest of us. They are there to protect and help grow fingernails. And in the age of hyper-hygiene, hands that are properly hydrated are better protected and sealed from external pathogens – cuticles that are cracked make the body more susceptible to invasion and infection.
So for healthier, happier hands and nails, it pays to pay attention to our (often neglected) cuticles. It can take some time to see the benefits, but with daily care — you will definitely see a difference that’s worth it!