ESC: Bella Hadid, Caroline Herrera


Scenario: You're at a nail salon. The manicurist asks if you'd like your cuticles cut or pushed back—what do you do?

If you're indifferent or the technician automatically cuts your cuticles without asking, you may have a problem. It's not a matter of gorgeous digits—à la Bella Hadid at the Carolina Herrera show (she's wearing Zoya Rue and Pandora, by the way)—it's about overall nail health.

"Avoid cutting cuticles," said Zoya Creative Director Rebecca Isa. "They are there to protect the nail, and cutting can lead to infections."

The prospect of bacteria is real. So, here's what else you need to know about those little slivers of skin attached to the nail bed.

At the Salon: There is a difference between the cuticle (a.k.a. dead skin) and the eponychium, or the layer of skin surrounding the cuticle, which shouldn't be disturbed. Many times, even nail technicians can't tell the difference, which is why you should only opt for a snip at a quality salon you absolutely trust. Cuticle cutting can also make the skin grow back faster, which means more risk of infection, more trips to the nail salon and more money spent!

At Home: "You should only trim obvious hangnails," noted Rebecca. "The cuticle itself should be gently pushed back after it has been softened by a good cuticle cream." Need a good suggestion? "Qtica makes a wonderful gel-based oil called Solid Gold as well as an Intense Cuticle Repair Balm."

If you're in rush, try pushing your cuticles back in the shower when skin is soft.

Maintenance Required: "Remember even the best treatment does nothing in the jar," said Rebeca. Daily application and consistency is the key to improving the condition of your cuticles."

Bella-worthy nails don't just happen overnight.

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