When having a manicure, why is the cuticle cut off?

A well-groomed set of nails is often considered a reflection of good personal hygiene and aesthetic preference. During a manicure, the cuticles often receive attention, and one common question arises: why do nail technicians sometimes cut the cuticles? In this article, we'll explore the practice of cutting cuticles during a manicure and the alternatives for maintaining healthy, beautiful gel nails.

The Role of Cuticles

The cuticle is a thin, protective layer of skin that surrounds the base of the nail. Its primary purpose is to shield the nail matrix, where new nail cells are formed. The cuticle acts as a barrier, preventing bacteria, fungi, and other harmful substances from entering the nail bed. Additionally, it helps in maintaining the nail's health and strength.

Traditional Cuticle Cutting

Historically, cutting the cuticles during a manicure was a common practice. It involved trimming the excess or overgrown cuticle to create a neat and clean nail appearance. However, this practice has been questioned due to potential risks and alternatives available today.

Potential Risks of Cuticle Cutting

  1. Infection Risk: Cutting the cuticle can create small cuts or nicks, making the nail bed vulnerable to infection. Bacteria or fungi can easily enter these openings and cause various nail problems.
  2. Skin Damage: Aggressive cutting or cutting too close to the nail can damage the delicate skin around the nail, leading to pain, redness, and potential scarring.
  3. Rebound Growth: Aggressive cuticle cutting can stimulate faster and thicker regrowth of the cuticle, making it a never-ending cycle of trimming and potential damage.

Alternatives for Cuticle Care

Instead of cutting the cuticles, many nail technicians and individuals opt for gentler approaches to cuticle care:

  1. Pushing Back the Cuticles: Softening the cuticles with warm water and gently pushing them back with a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick is a common and safer practice. This helps maintain a clean nail appearance without cutting.
  2. Cuticle Oil Application: Regularly applying cuticle oil can keep the cuticles moisturized and soft. Well-hydrated cuticles are less likely to become overgrown or dry, reducing the need for cutting.
  3. Hydration and Massage: Massaging the cuticles with cuticle oil or moisturizing cream during a manicure helps improve blood circulation and keeps the cuticles healthy.


The decision to cut cuticles during a manicure is a personal choice influenced by various factors, including preferences, nail health, and potential risks. It's important to weigh the pros and cons and choose a method that best suits your nail care routine. Maintaining a healthy nail care regimen, including using cuticle oil and gentle techniques, can contribute to beautiful gel nails without resorting to aggressive cuticle cutting.

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