I'm going to preface this post with some definitions:
In the past couple of posts and in some of my comments I've been discussing the difference between the eponychium and the cuticle. These two terms are used interchangeably but they are totally different. For a long time I thought I knew what my cuticle was, but I was totally wrong. Your eponychium is the living skin that is around the nail plate that helps protect and connect the nail to your finger. Often people believe that this is their cuticle. The cuticle is dead skin that is often in the same approximate area as the eponychium but it is only found on the nail plate itself, it doesn't connect anything to anything else. Here is a photograph of Ron's nails. Circled in red are cuticles and circled in black is the eponychium. Have you mistaken your eponychium for your cuticle too? (Enlarging the picture by clicking on it helps to see the difference)
School was not particularly productive on Friday, but it was an excellent day. I performed 2 manicures and 1 pedicure. I got 100% on two exams. But most of the excitement happened after I got home from school. I went out for drinks with a friend after school and when I arrived home I decided that I was going to figure out how to take care of a clients cuticles when performing a manicure.
I've been struggling a lot with how to do a good manicure. In New York state (as with most states) it is illegal for a nail technician to cut any living skin and therefore when removing cuticles or hangnails you have to be incredibly careful. When I was giving a manicure to another student, I noticed that their nails still looked ragged and didn't look nice and neat like after a professional manicure. I figured that the issue was that all the students had already received several manicures this week and all the extra attention was drying out their nail plates. Boy was I wrong.
It turns out that when I was doing a manicure (and I assume this might have been the case for some other students in the class as well, since my nails were in similar condition to theirs) I wasn't actually removing the cuticle or hangnails because I was so concerned about cutting or pushing the eponychium. So last night, when I got home I got out my manicuring tools and started clipping and pushing back my cuticles and other dead skin. I had no idea that nails were as resilient as it turns out they are and you can really make a ragged nail look incredible!
Later today I am going to be giving Ron a manicure and I plan to take photographs, and possibly video, to show everyone what cuticle removal should look like and how much better your nails can look by following a few simple steps.