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The condition of our nails can be easy to ignore until neglected cuticles lead to dry, peeling skin.

Ms Madeline Poole, 31, global colour ambassador of nail polish label Sally Hansen, says the most essential product is a cuticle oil with vitamin E. This will help relieve dryness and soften the cuticles.

“Applying an oil regularly will keep the cuticles from drying out and hardening.”

The manicurist and designer, who is based in New York, gives some tips on how to care for your cuticles:

Trim cuticles only occasionally

Cuticles help to protect the nails from infection so it is better not to cut them. However, an occasional trim is fine. When trimming, push your cuticles back and nip only the hangnails and pieces that seem like they might snag.

How should I push my cuticles back?

The best way to treat cuticles is by pushing them back gently. Apply some cuticle oil and use a wooden stick to ease the cuticle back. I recommend pushing your cuticles back once a week.

Wood over metal

It is possible to push too hard, which is why I recommend a wooden stick over a metal cuticle pusher. A wooden stick will not scrape the nail surface and its edge is dull so it is more gentle.

Help nails grow

Soap, detergent and water will dry out the nail, and can cause white marks, flaking and peeling. Apply some moisturiser on the nail plate to keep them hydrated. A nail growth serum and strengthener will also help.

Image: 123rf

Nail worthy products:

Shea Nail & Cuticle Nourishing Oil, $29

Available at all L’Occitane boutiques

An oil that softens the cuticles and strengthens the nails, this product comes with a brush applicator for easy, clean application.



5 Finger Nail Pack, $7, from Kocostar

Available at Sephora

A hydrating nail mask that the label says will prevent breakage, splitting and peeling.


Cuticle Eraser + Balm, $20.50, from Sally Hansen

Available at Watsons and Guardian stores

A 2-in-1 formula that the label says helps to exfoliate overgrown cuticles, leaving the skin feeling deeply moisturised.



Almond Hand & Cuticle Oil, $21.90, from The Body Shop

Available at all The Body Shop stores except IMM

With a pen applicator for easy use, the formula contains sweet almond oil, which the label says helps care for dry, brittle nails.



Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, $75, from Clinique

Available at Clinique counters

A cream gel moisturiser that is easily absorbed into the skin and can be used on the hands and nails.



Nail Gym Nail Strengthener, $26, from Ciate London

Available at Sephora

A nail treatment that brightens and strengthens the nail. This product can also be used as a protective base coat under nail polish.


Article originally published on StraitsTimes