To cut, or not to cut? That seems to be the question when it comes to our cuticles. The answer? Technically, yes, you can have your cuticles clipped during salon visits—as long as it’s done properly.
Here’s where it gets tricky: “The cuticle is misunderstood,” explains Dasha Minina, nail technician and founder of nail care line Maxus Nails. “In fact, most consumers and even some nail technicians don’t know the difference between the cuticle and the eponychium.” The true cuticle, which is the dead skin attached to the nail plate, is safe to cut. The eponychium, on the other hand, is the thick layer of living skin surrounding the cuticle, and it shouldn’t be touched.
Unfortunately, the eponychium is often mistakenly cut at salons, which can lead to some not-so-pretty, not to mention dangerous, results. “When accidents of this nature occur you will know, as any harm caused to live skin is quite painful and may even cause bleeding," says Minina. "When live skin is cut, it grows back thicker in attempts to repair the injury, so this misconception truly creates a vicious cycle. Also, if the skin is cut using tools that have not been properly disinfected, an infection can occur."
The safest way to care for your cuticles, she says, is by adding a nourishing cuticle oil to your regimen. "Oils maintain proper moisture levels and are excellent for hydrating the skin." We like Deborah Lippmann's Cuticle Oil Treatment ($20; sephora.com), which is packed with nutrients to soften and protect the skin without leaving a greasy feel.