Your cuticles are dry, your nails are brittle, and you’re prone to hangnails. Moisturizer just isn’t enough. But don’t despair because there’s a simple solution. Here’s what you should know about nail slugging.
The Remedy for Dry Cuticles and Nails
Nail slugging fixes dehydration overnight. It forms a barrier that seals in moisture so that you wake up with soft, smooth skin and shiny nails.
You might already know that it involves coating the fingertips with petroleum jelly. But there’s more to it if you want to do it right. We’ll explain the steps in a moment.
Why Healthy Cuticles Are Crucial
Cuticles are the grout around your nail beds. They are surprisingly delicate and sensitive to dehydration and infection.
Polish remover is infamous for drying out cuticles. So is dish soap. But even just exposure to water alone can dehydrate the skin. (It’s weird, we know!)
Once your cuticles are compromised, you may find yourself with hangnails, sore spots, and infections. Moreover, dehydrated cuticles grow down over the nail and are hard to manage. They get in the way of putting on polish and having a tidy manicure.
All in all, it’s better to have healthy, hydrated cuticles.
How to Do Nail Slugging the Right Way
How do you do slugging? Here are the supplies you need.
Supplies Needed for Slugging Nails
- Moisturizing soap.
- Cuticle pusher.
- Your favorite hand cream with humectants.
- Cuticle oil.
- Vaseline, Aquaphor, Bag Balm, or another type of heavy-duty ointment.
- A pair of cotton gloves or socks.
- Exfoliant like a sugar scrub or a cuticle remover (see below).
Blue Cross Cuticle Remover
Just like you would for dry skin on your face or body, you need to exfoliate before moisturizing. This cuticle remover cream dissolves dead, dry skin and makes it much easier to push back cuticles. It features lanolin, oil, and carrageenan to avoid dehydrating the nails and skin.
5 Steps for Nail Slugging
Are you ready to enjoy healthy, soft cuticles? Then follow these steps at bedtime. The whole process takes ten minutes or less.
- First, wash your hands with moisturizing soap and rinse well with warm water.
- Second, exfoliate with cuticle remover or sugar scrub. Be gentle and don’t worry if all the dead skin doesn’t come off the first time. While the skin is soft, push it back with a cuticle pusher. Then rinse well and pat your hands dry. It’s okay if they are a little damp.
- Apply hand cream and massage it into the cuticles and nails for 30 seconds.
- Put on cuticle oil and repeat the massage. (Note that this step is optional but helpful.)
- Now apply the petroleum jelly or other occlusive ointment. Rub it in well. It’s fine if it doesn’t absorb completely – it will overnight.
- Slip on the gloves or socks and rest well.
In the morning, you’ll be shocked at how soft, smooth, and hydrated your skin and nails are!
What Does Petroleum Jelly Do to Nails?
Can you leave Vaseline on your nails overnight? You betcha! It’s an occlusive, a barrier that locks in moisture. It will give your nails a chance to rehydrate.
Maybe you’re worried that will it mess with your manicure. If you’re wearing nail lacquer, it might. But it shouldn’t cause damage to gels or acrylics.
How Often Should You Do Slugging?
How often should you do this deep conditioning treatment on your nails? Experts say once a week. However, if your cuticles are often dry or you use your hands a lot for gardening, dishwashing, etc., there’s nothing wrong with doing it every day. Just skip the exfoliating part.
Instead, your daily nail slugging routine could look like washing your hands, applying moisturizer, rubbing in ointment, and wearing gloves to bed. We have to admit it's addictive to see our cuticles and nails in such good shape!
Should You Trim Cuticles?
Let’s be honest, pushing back cuticles doesn’t always solve the problem. Sometimes there’s so much dead skin that it piles up. The American Academy of Dermatology says to avoid cutting cuticles to prevent infections. We imagine they’ve never had to deal with some of the messes we’ve seen!
If you’re going to trim your cuticles, sanitize your nippers first. Push back the skin and only clip off the excess parts and hangnails. (Don’t be too thorough because sometimes cuticles grow back harder.) Then slug your nails.
How Often Should You Use a Cuticle Pusher?
It can be such a drag to have to deal with overgrown cuticles every time you want to change your nail polish. Instead, push your cuticles back in the shower. Just use your thumbnail and nudge them into place.
Even though you probably only need to do it once a week, feel free to use a cuticle pusher or orange stick as often as you like. Do it when your skin is damp after washing or soft from applying cuticle oil or moisturizer. Be gentle because you don’t want to push the cuticles completely off the nail plate.
The best cuticle pusher we’ve found is made of stainless steel so it’s durable and can be sanitized. It has two ends and one is spoon-shaped to get the right contour around the nail. Hold it at a 45° angle and it works like a dream.
Is Cuticle Oil Necessary?
Think of cuticle oil as nail slugging lite. If you apply it daily to your nails and skin, it will keep your cuticles healthy and easier to manage. Keep bottles near where you wash your hands and on your bedside table. On the nights you don’t do nail slugging, use the oil instead.
24k Gold Nail & Cuticle Oil
This delicious blend features essential oils and hyaluronic acid with a touch of gold. It’s a professional formula that strengthens nails and cuticles. Not only does it sink in fast, but it will beautify your hands in a heartbeat.
It comes in a range of attractive scents like honeysuckle, orange, jasmine, and rose.
We hope these tips help you have healthier nails and cuticles and a more beautiful manicure. Check out our new arrivals page to see what you need for the latest nail trends, too.