Keeping your hands and fingernails clean and soft is important to good hygiene and proper presentation. Frequent hand washing can cause your cuticles to dry out and crack, making them painful and unsightly. A quick routine of cuticle care can ensure that your hands, fingernails and cuticles are soft, supple and pain-free.
Fill a small bowl with warm water and soak your fingers. Allow your hands to stay in the warm water for 10 to 15 minutes to be sure your cuticles are thoroughly softened.
Dry your hands gently on a soft towel. Be sure not to rub them too roughly, so that you do not cause any tears or cracks in your softened skin.
Push your cuticles back with the orange stick. An orange stick is a small wooden stick with a large flattened area on one end and a sharp point on the other. It's frequently used in manicures. Push your cuticles back far enough so that you can see the lighter colored “half-moon” shape at the base of your fingernails.
Trim any excess skin away from your cuticles or fingernail edges. Be sure to trim then gently, and only trim the skin when it is still soft from soaking, to avoid injuring yourself.
Apply a generous amount of your lotion or cuticle oil to each individual cuticle and rub it in. Massage the moisturizer thoroughly into your cuticle and fingernail to add softness and protect your skin.
Wash your hands throughout the day to avoid buildup of dirt and grime. Be sure to use a gentle moisturizing soap when you wash your hands and dry them completely every time you wash.
Reapply your cuticle oil or hand lotion at least once per day, preferably in the evening before you go to bed. Allowing the lotion or oil to soak into your skin overnight will give your skin the best chance to absorb the moisture and stay soft and silky throughout the day.
Use only good-quality soaps and lotions. Many lotions are made with drying alcohol products, and will not keep your skin in the best condition. Moisturize your hands throughout the day. A dab of lotion three or four times daily will help you avoid dry hands and cuticles.
Do not use overly hot water or harsh chemicals on your hands. Be sure to wear protective gloves when cleaning or using other chemical-based products.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.