How to Use a Cuticle Remover


You have probably wondered how to use a cuticle remover before. Even though the removal of cuticles is widely deemed as non-beneficial to nail health, the cosmetic value is still quite valid. Let’s proceed and make those nails beautiful using one of the best cuticle removers correctly.

In this article:

Some Notes on Cuticles

Before we talk about cuticle removers, let’s talk about cuticles themselves.

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths regarding what cuticles actually are. Between your nails and your fingers, there are three consecutive parts. These are the eponychium, the nail matrix, and the cuticle.

The nail matrix is the least visible part that is just below the skin surface and is responsible for growing your nails. Most people see the eponychium as the cuticle. It is just the skin that you can see touching your nail.

This part of your body is prone to splitting and hangnails when it gets dry. The eponychium sheds off dead skin regularly just like the other parts of your body.

But, the eponychium sheds the dead skin directly on the nail, which in turn forms a layer of dead skin between the nail plate and the eponychium. This is the cuticle; it is the dead skin layer that develops over the top of your nails.

Cuticle removers are very useful in keeping your nail in a tidy state and clean as well. They can also help to protect your nails against an infection.

Taking Care of Cuticles

Since cuticles are an essential part of the skin, you cannot take proper care of your nails without caring for your cuticles alongside. Yet, cuticles are there for a natural reason… yes, you do not just have them for nothing! They serve as protection against bacteria and other nasty substances from entering your nails.

How to Remove Cuticles

Most people find this as enough reason to keep their cuticles intact. But, you can gently slough them off or push them back into the skin folds.

When you slice them off completely, this barrier could be removed and it could provide an opportunity for bacteria and nail fungus to attack your nails. But if you leave them unattended to, they will become rough and dirty. Hence, what is the best way to care for your cuticles?

The significance of a proper hygiene cannot be emphasized. You may decide to push back your cuticles gently on a daily basis but this is unhygienic and never the best option.

Your cuticles might begin to build up for no reason and they can quickly change the appearance of your nails while leaving you to the scaly effect of flaking skin and irritation. It is therefore vital to find a way to remove them gently without causing any possible damage to your nails.

Luckily there exist effective cuticle removers to do the job, as well as cuticle creams and oils to keep your cuticles and nails in a healthy, moisturized state.

What Is a Cuticle Remover and How Does It Work?

The answer to the best way to care for your cuticles is the use of a cuticle remover. Even though the term is quite self-explanatory, let’s attach more insightful notes to what a cuticle remover is.

A cuticle remover is a high-pH (somewhere between 10 and 14) solution that dissolves and weakens the formulation of skin cells with the help of a chemical. This means cuticle removers use acidic substances to weaken your cuticles so you can easily remove them. With this knowledge, we know we have to wash our hands thoroughly after using a cuticle remover.

Some cuticle removers do not use the usual high pH base; instead, they use acids (pH of 7 or less). Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are derived from foods and they can dissolve dead skin cells easily.

If you have ever used a cuticle pusher tool or even an orange stick to poke at your cuticles, you might have discovered that those little skin layers are tougher than they look. Most cuticle removers have sodium hydroxide as the active ingredient, which has a pH level between 11 and 13.

Further, there is no specific nail cream or wash to use after utilizing a cuticle remover, so you can quickly wash it off with soap and water. Nonetheless, you have to exercise caution and read the manufacturer’s instruction on the container because most cuticle removers cannot tell the difference between live and dead skin cells.

Pros and Cons of Using Cuticle Remover

Cuticle removers are extremely important for nail care. A proper cuticle remover offers several skincare benefits but not without some associated disadvantages as well.


  • Most cuticle removers have sodium hydroxide as a part of their active ingredients. This enables you to gently remove the dead skin from your nail plate without hurting yourself in the process. It also helps to soften the cuticles before you peel them off your nail plate.
  • Cuticle removers help to give your fingernails a much prettier manicure look. Whenever you push back your cuticles, you make your nails appear longer and neater.
  • Cuticles can become damaged and are prone to infections by nail fungus. Hence, a cuticle remover gives that special care to prevent dryness and flaking.


  • When you apply the cuticle remover on a very rough cuticle, it might not yield the desired result within a short time.

How to Use a Cuticle Remover

Moving on, the journey to beautiful and clean nails begins with choosing the best cuticle remover. After that, here is a simple guide on how to safely remove your cuticles without harming your skin texture.

Step 1: Clean Your Nails

Clean your nails and use a good nail polish remover to remove any nail polish still hanging on your nails. Then, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to ensure the remover is off completely.

How to Choose a Cuticle Remover

Step 2: Applying the Cuticle Remover

Choose your preferred cuticle remover type and apply it. If you are using a cuticle gel or cream, you should apply a thin coat of the cuticle remover on your cuticles with the little brush that comes with the product.

Squeeze the bottle or tube to release the cuticle and press it gently on your cuticles. Do note that most cuticles take some time to soften. Also, ensure you read the manufacturer’s instruction before use.

You can leave it for 2 minutes before washing it off, after which you have to wash your hands clean.

Step 3: Removing the Cuticles

When the cuticle is finally soft, you can begin to remove the dead skin flaps from the nail plate. You can use an orange stick wood alongside a cuticle remover cream or gel to scrape off the dead skin from your nails.

With the help of a good cuticle remover, you can safely remove those cuticles without causing damage to your nail plate.

Photos via @tsangtastic

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