Saturday, February 25, 2017

Skincare Beyond the Face: Cuticle Care Guide

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Skincare beyond facial care is a topic I get asked about all the time. Seriously- the majority of the emails sent to me or PM's hurled my way are about body skincare in one fashion or another. Unfortunately... I really haven't been answering these questions on the blog. Bad blogger -llama face slap-. So I finally figure it's time I start sharing my favorite products as well as tutorials on caring for our oft-neglected odds and ends.

To me, it feels like a special kind of luxurious to gingerly care for yourself outside of washing your face and slapping on a cream. It takes so much more concentrated effort. And it makes you feel like you really care about yourself. After a week of hellish midterms, taking time out for myself is so necessary.

To begin, these are all the tools you'll need:
     -Emory board; fine grit (optional)
     -Little cuppy for your liquids
     -Cuticle remover (I like Blue Cross)
     -Acetone/Nail Polish remover (optional)
     -Oil (I chose Argan)
     -Nail Polish (Optional- for after)
     -Scrubby Brush
     -Clippers (optional)

Before you get started, you'll want to clean up your nails. Clip excess nail (if that's yo' thang) or shape and file with an emory board (swipe one way else you rip up your nails and need a whole new tutorial to save them). Remove all excess old nail polish with acetone and clip away any straggling hangnails if you have them. Make sure your hands/nails are clean and dry.

Next, fill up your wee dish with cuticle remover. You don't have to use a separate dish... but don't come crying to me if your massive cuticle remover bottle gets contaminated or you spill it everywhere (...not that I've done either).

Dip a q-tip into the dish and begin running cuticle remover along the length of your cuticle and eponychium. You'll notice bits starting to ball up as you gently (yet firmly) run the q-tip over and over along the cuticle. This is good- what you're balling up is excess cuticle and dead skin on the nail. These are the bits that make nail polish look bumpy and horrible as well as the bits that crack and snag (and bleed and become infected!) when your hands and nails dry out from lack of care. Follow your bottle's instructions for length of application. I usually apply cuticle remover for about 30 seconds - a minute per finger.

Once you've gone over all of your nails on each hand, remove the liquid (and balled up cuticle) with a scrubby brush, cool water, and whatever soap you have on hand. Don't be too concerned with the time it takes for you to finish. Cuticle remover is meant to go on the nail. However, if you feel pain or your nail begins to ache, wash off the cuticle remover before you've finished all your nails. Also, DO NOT APPLY CUTICLE REMOVER TO BROKEN SKIN OR OLD/NEW WOUNDS. Cuticle remover does its work by essentially chemically eating away at your dead flesh. So if you put it on tender, delicate skin, you'll end up with some pretty serious damage.

To impart some moisture back into your nails, grab your oil of choice. You can honestly use any oil (...except maybe motor oil). I used argan oil for this tutorial because I had it on hand (heh), but seriously any oil will do.

Each nail gets their own nourishing drop...

Rub in the oil and gently massage your new bebe cuticles. You're all done! Wasn't that so super easy? And look at your fingernails shine like justice!

When it comes to upkeep, the most important part of this routine is the regular use of moisture on your cuticles/hands. Every time I slack on moisture, my cuticles become ragged and my eponychium splits, bleeds, cracks and becomes a general mess. Keeping a hand cream on you to apply after washing your hands is one way I try to keep my nails in tip top condition. My favorite hand cream at the moment is by A'pieu. It smells like delicious honeydew. If you're not about that purse/backpack life, you can keep small tins of a butter (like shea) or a tin of vaseline/nivea easily in your pockets.

Do you have your own cuticle routine? Is there anything you use on your nails/hands you just cannot live without? Lets chat about it in the doobly-doo!


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