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What are Cuticle Scissors?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Cuticle scissors are small scissors used for trimming the dead skin around the base of the nail bed, the cuticle. They are necessary for proper skin care and to prevent infection if a hangnail develops. A hangnail is a torn strip of skin near the nail that can be very painful and can easily become infected.

Cuticle scissors, also known as cuticle trimmers, have extra sharp, curved blades to better fit the area around the nail. They are often used during manicures or pedicures once the cuticle has been gently pushed back with a cuticle stick, also called an orange stick. Some beauty experts say that you should cut your cuticles for a "perfect" manicure, while others say the cuticle should not be cut because it provides a barrier against infections. Ultimately, it remains your choice whether you trim your cuticles or not.

One suggested method is to spend a few weeks gently pushing back the cuticles with the cuticle stick. After a few weeks, you will see dried, dead skin pushed up around the nail bed, which most experts agree is safe to trim. In this way, you have less risk of cutting yourself and opening the skin to potential infections.

You should always sterilize cuticle scissors before using them. If you get manicures at a salon, be sure to check and verify that the cuticle scissors have been sterilized. A manicurist at a salon should never cut your cuticles enough to bleed, nor should you if you are giving yourself a manicure at home. If you do cut yourself, clean the cut thoroughly and apply antibiotic cream under a bandage.

If you want to give yourself a manicure at home, there are some general tips to follow. First, clean your hands thoroughly. Then file your nails in one direction only, without a back-and-forth motion. This prevents damage and cracking of the nail. You can then soak your nails in warm water or simply apply a cuticle cream to soften the cuticles and make them easier to push back and trim with cuticle scissors. Once this step is completed, you can apply your favorite color of nail polish. After the polish is dry, applying hand cream will soften the skin and keep hands looking nice.

Use your cuticle scissors only for your cuticles, so that they remain sharp. Use separate nail clippers and a nail file to trim your nails. Dull cuticle scissors can pull on the skin and cause damage; sharp scissors will clip the skin away neatly.

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Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On May 20, 2012
Cuticle scissors aren't just good for cutting cuticles and hangnails -- I also use it to trim eyebrows and cut split ends if I spot them!

Cuticle scissors are the perfect scissors for trimming eyebrows, I think. It's short, small and precise and you can't poke yourself in the eye with it. Hair scissors are too large and remove too much hair. Cuticle scissors works perfect!

I also use it to trim a few strands of hair when I spot split ends.

By fify — On May 20, 2012

@simrin-- Yea, you can get it at the pharmacy or the beauty section of major stores. I'd recommend any of the major brands, Tweezerman works well, Dovo and Revlon cuticle scissors is good too. It's pretty affordable and very easy to use. If you can use a nail cutter, I'm sure you'll have no problems with a cuticle scissors. Just make sure to wash and dry it in between uses to prevent infection.

What I do with hangnails and cuticles is I first soak my hands to soften it. Then I get as close to the root as possible with the cuticle scissors and cut it. Afterward, I apply some topical antibiotic cream to prevent any infections.

It's a really good idea to do your own manicures with a cuticle scissors at home. Even when I go to nails salons, I don't let them use a cuticle scissors on me because I don't know if they washed it. When you use it at home and don't share it with anyone else, it's hygienic and safe.

By SteamLouis — On May 19, 2012

I think it's high time I get a pair of cuticle scissors. Will I be able to find them just about anywhere?

I've never used one before because I didn't even know it existed! I've been cutting cuticles and hangnails with a nail cutter. Horrible, I know! And a nail cutter really doesn't work for hangnails because it can't get deep enough.

I have a major problem with hangnails, I get them all the time. I get a lot of dead skin around my nails and I play with them without realizing. I even tore a hangnail several times, it bled and hurt for days!

My sister said I should get a cuticle scissors because apparently, it's really good at cutting out hangnails like the article said. I hope I will be able to use it properly. I guess it shouldn't be too hard, but I am right handed. So I'm not sure how it will be to trim hangnails using my left hand. Any tips on how to use cuticle scissors?

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