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Cuticles.... and Nail Shaming!

Lets talk about cuticles. 

Because lately, I've seen a huge influx of discussion online, with people discussing the cutting of cuticles. 
Which confuses me to no end, because I cannot for the life of me see where you might need to cut them. 

*educator hat on*
Cuticle is the thin layer, of almost transparent dead tissue that sticks to the top of the nail, as it exits the proximal nail fold. 
When we prep our nails, we remove this using either a cuticle bit on your efile, or the sharper end of a pusher. 
All we generally need to do is gently scrape the surface of the nail, and the dead cells flake off as white dust. 
It's really important that we get it all though, because as the nails grow, the cuticle naturally exfoliates itself from the nail plate. The oils in our skin and natural motion cause it to disappear. And if we have put our product (such as acrylic or gel) on the top, then this product will naturally remove itself from the nail too! 
It's why many people have issues with lifting. 
They are leaving tiny almost invisible cuticle tissue on the nail plate. 
*educator hat off*

So after realising that removing cuticle, is basically us exfoliating the nail gently and just clearing off all the dead junk, and seeing as cuticle comes off so easily, I'm at a loss as to why we would need to cut it? 

What I do think though, is that many people are hearing about and seeing "Russian Manicures" and hearing a lot of incorrect terminology bandied about. 
Because what I think people mean is that they are wanting to cut the eponychium. 
Which is a huge no-no! 
It stems from essentially, people nail shaming others. 

Your nails are not as pretty as other people's nails because you still have your eponychium intact. 

It's no different to fat shaming... and right up there with the circumcision debate but in nail terms. And it's got to stop! 
Our nails are beautiful with the natural eponychium. 
It keeps our nails healthy and it's normal! 

*educator hat on* 
The term "russian manicure" has come about, because in Russia, there is a huge movement where they are spending a great deal of time training technicians in the activity of removing the eponychium to create what they see as a more 'beautiful' nail because they claim that the eponychium, which we all have, is ugly and unattractive.
They have shared this technique with the world, in images and now other people are wanting to recreate it, usually with little to no training and mostly online!
 
Science tells us that cutting your eponychium is bad. 
Because firstly, it's the body's natural seal between the nail plate, and the matrix. 
If you break this seal and cut it off, what is left to protect your matrix? 
Bacteria can potentially sneak up in there, have a party and destroy your nail. A bad infection could mean that a new nail will never ever grow. And a matrix cannot be fixed. 
Break it, and it's broken forever. 
That doesn't sound like fun to me....  

Secondly, when we cut that eponychium the first time, your body is going to go into a state of shock. Your fingers, will rebel against the cutting, by going all NATO on your violent intrusion of it's personal space. And it's going to grow back. 
Not only that, it's going to grow back bigger, badder and tougher than before. 
Because it's doing it's job, of protecting your matrix. And if you managed to cut it off the first time, then it thinks it definitely needs to be thicker and tougher to stop you doing it again. 
The more you cut, the more new cells will be put in their place, and the more work you will have to do.

Care not cut. 

Which leads me back to the why? 
Why would you do this, when if a client does have dry, unhealthy eponychiums, then a simple but regular routine of moisture, gentle massage and skin protection will fix the dryness, make them supple and smooth again but without you getting all samurai on them! 
Sure, much like a Pantene advert, "it won't happen overnight, but it will happen" 
But if you educate your clients as to what they need to commit to and do, they will see much better results and their nails will be protected and healthy. 
*educator hat off*

So stop nail shaming! 

Every nail tech out there needs to remember that our job is first and foremost, to do the best for our clients nail health. 
Do no harm. 
Look after your clients so they keep nails on - as if they have no nails, means they are no longer your client! 

That's a pretty sobering thought.......


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