Nails. You trim em, buff em, and try to keep them clean. Simple, right? Not really. There's a reason why manicurists are in high demand. Here are a few answers for the great cuticle confusion.
To trim or not to trim?
After scrubbing your hands and feet, moisturising the nails, you'll notice the manicurist reaching for a scary-looking pair of clippers and going for your cuticles like her life depends on it. Should you egg her on, or run screaming? Yes, everyone's cuticles get a little ragged looking from time to time, particularly if you work a lot with your hands, and it's tempting to give them a little snippetty snip to make everything look neat, but in general, doctors advise against trimming cuticles. Cut too short or lifted away from the nail (and even experts can let this happen on their watch), it allows bacteria, yeast and fungus to infect the nail bed. So the next time you see those clippers in the hands of someone holding yours, politely withdraw your digits from her clutch and ask her to refrain from trimming.
Push it, push it some more
One thing you can do to get your nails looking spa-ready is to ask the salon girl to push the cuticles back. If you're doing this at home, spend a full minute or two rubbing lotion or cuticle oil into your nails, and then use a cuticle pusher (available as part of most manicure kits) to push down the cuticles. A well oiled nail will make it easy for you to push out any dead skin. So now you've got well groomed nails without hurting them.
Hang on for a minute
So what is the point of those clippers, you ask? Well, those are for hangnails. These are formed when a nick in the delicate skin in the immediate vicinity of your cuticle dries out to form a tough protrusion, which gets caught on stuff and hurts like an unmentionable. The best way to prevent this is to keep your hands moisturised, but even that isn't a foolproof guarantee. And that's where your cuticle trimmer comes in handy. When dealing with one, remember to snip as close to the base as possible, and never to pull at it. Follow up with some hand cream, going along the grain.