Clean girl nails means clean girl cuticles... but what do clean girl cuticles really look like? Am I meant to cut? Scrape? Push? Where do I cut, scrape and/or push? Here is the 411 on what part is the cuticle.
Let's start with some of the terminology I will be using in this article, the image below will also give you a clearer understanding of these definitions.
The Matrix is made of cells that create new nail layers. It is located underneath the Eponychium and is not visible.
The Eponychium is the skin that covers and protects the nail matrix.
The Proximal Nail Fold is defined as the fold of skin at the base of the nail plate and is live skin.
The Cuticle is the dead skin that is pulled up from the underside of the Eponychium when the nail grows, and it sits on the nail plate.
So, that band of skin at the bottom of the nail plate that we always want to clip off? Well, this is actually NOT the cuticle! The correct term for this skin is the ‘Keratinized Proximal Nail Fold’ and it is a protective band of skin that prevents any germs and bacteria from entering the nail matrix.
Well then where is the cuticle? The Cuticle is the thin layer of dead tissue that sits on the nail plate.
To help you get a better understanding of what the cuticle is, let’s talk about how the cuticle is created…
- The eponychium is living skin that covers the nail matrix and acts as a seal to prevent any germs entering the matrix. At the tip of the eponychium is the proximal nail fold
- The underside of the proximal nail fold has a strange, sticky texture that is attached to the surface of the nail plate
- As new nail cells are created and the nail plate grows, the nail plate pulls the bottom layer of the proximal nail fold cells with it
- As the underside of the proximal nail fold is sticky, the skin that has been pulled, stays attached to the nail plate
- It is these cells that become the infamous ✨cuticle ✨
For some people, the proximal nail fold releases from the cuticle on its own. For others, the seal is so strong and as the nail grows it will pull and stretch the Nail Fold out thin across the nail plate.
So, how do we remove the Cuticle/Proximal Nail Fold then?
Push & Scrape! Using Cuticle Softener will help soften the skin making it easier to push the Proximal Nail Fold and scrape the Cuticle away. Both ingredients in our Cuticle Softener are extremely gentle and will keep the skin hydrated and help to maintain moisture along the way.
- PUSH the Proximal Nail Fold
It is completely safe to push back the proximal nail fold (extremely gently!). As this is still live skin, ensure you never push too harshly or too far and your tool should never go underneath the proximal nail fold.
- SCRAPE the Cuticle
Gently scrape at the base of the nail plate where the dead cuticle skin is built up. When doing this, we have found the best scraping tool is the curved side of our Pro Cuticle Pusher.
The best way to maintain healthy Cuticle Care
- Applying cuticle oil and a moisturising hand cream daily will help keep the proximal nail fold soft and tight to the nail plate
- By pushing back the proximal nail fold every 4-7 days, you will be able to maintain a tidy appearance and prevent any hangnail or desire to clip
- During your cuticle care routine, if anything hurts- Stop!
- If your entire cuticle line is red, this means your cuticle is infected and you are scraping/pushing too much at the eponychium/nail fold