The cuticle has a big job: This sliver of skin acts as a protective barrier, preventing bacteria from sneaking into the nail bed and causing infection. Keep your cuticles healthy with the few simple steps demonstrated in this video.

By Real Simple
Updated September 23, 2016
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The cuticle has a big job: This sliver of skin acts as a protective barrier, preventing bacteria from sneaking into the nail bed and causing infection. Keep your cuticles healthy with the few simple steps demonstrated in this video.

What You Need

  • nail-polish remover, hair conditioner, bowl of warm water, towel, soft cloth

Follow These Steps

  1. Remove your old polish
    Use nail-polish remover—preferably one without acetone, which is harsh and drying to nails and skin—to eliminate all traces of old polish.
  2. Moisturize your nails
    Work a drop or two of hair conditioner into your cuticles to make them supple.
  3. Soak your hand in warm water
    Let your hand sit in warm water for a few minutes to soften the skin.

    Tip: Work olive oil into your nail beds for a quick cuticle-moisture fix after a shower.
  4. Push back cuticles
    Remove your hand from the water, dry it, then use a soft cloth to gently push back your cuticles. Don’t cut them — cut cuticles make you prone to infection.