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10 Best Cuticle Removers in 2020

The use of a cuticle remover is a controversial subject, with some claiming it opens you up to infections while others claim that it gives your nails breathing room. If you do decide that you want to remove your cuticles, it’s best to do some research first. Figure out which will be the best product for your needs. When you remove your cuticles, you are removing dead skin from your nails.

This is skin that has grown with your nail and died. If cuticles get out of hand, they can extend into the corners of your nails, crack, and sometimes bleed-accompanied by some uncomfortable pain. If you have a tough time with cuticles, remover product browsing can be stressful. That’s why we’ve done the work of rounding up the top 10 cuticle removers on the market.

View The Best Cuticle Removers Below

1. Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover

Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover


Sally Hansen is a company that has been in the beauty product business since the early 1900s. This product is a revolutionary gel that has aloe and chamomile in its formula. The addition of these ingredients allows the remover to be effective while also being gentle on the cuticles.

Cuticle removers typically take some time to work, but this formula takes just 15 seconds to break down the cuticles. Just use a thin line of Sally Hansen instant cuticle remover, wait for 15 seconds, and then, gently, use a manicure stick to push back the dead skin. Wash hands directly after. If you’re trying to remove a callus – leave on skin for 1 minute.

+Quick-acting (15 seconds)
+Gentle on cuticles
+Can remove calluses

Why We Like It – Most of the customers who use this Sally Hansen product say that they use it every night, and it does effectively soften up the dead skin to make remover much easier.

2. Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover


Deborah Lippmann is a manicurist, and celebrity who has designed polishes for stars like Lady Gaga and Julia Roberts. She came out with her first line of nail treatments, lacquers, and lipsticks in 1999-when she started her business with Jude Severin (her husband) and Mark Lippmann (her brother).

Another company that makes all of these products is Butter London. The Deborah Lippmann cuticle remover exfoliates the skin and is fast-acting. It softens and removes dry and dead skin from the area, leaving room to push the cuticles back. The product does not have parabens and is not tested on animals.

+High profile company
+Gentle on skin

Why We Like It – To attest to the “premium quality” title, customers have reported that, after using Deborah Lippmann’s cuticle removers for 20 minutes, they simply wiped off the excess skin with a paper towel, pushed their cuticles back, and didn’t need to attend to them again for a month.

3. Super Nail Cuticle Softener

Super Nail Cuticle Softener


While this cuticle remover is meant for softening your cuticles, it can be used for several other things. For example, it can help to remove hair dyes and tints, ink, carbon ribbon, and other stains. For best results with this product, you’ll want to make sure that you soak your hands in warm water for about 3 to 5 minutes before application. Apply to the cuticles with a cotton swab.

+Many longterm customers
+Fast-acting and effective

Why We Like It – Most of the reviews you’ll find on this product come from loyal customers who have been using it for 5 to 20 years. When was the last time you found a product you could stick with for that long?

4. Esteemia Cuticle Away Remover

Esteemia Cuticle Away Remover


This is one of the best cuticle removers because it works quickly and efficiently, and can remove not only the dry skin around your cuticles but other callused skin on your hands and feet. Be sure that you read the directions for use before attempting to use cuticle remover for the first time, and every time you try a new one. They all work differently. For the best cuticle removal, apply this product, without rubbing it in, and leave it to sit on the skin for 45 seconds (up to a minute for thicker or excessively dry skin).

+45 second wait time
+Easy to use
+Customer favorite

Why We Like It – Advice from consumers: Don’t attempt to remove excessive growth all at once. Only remove what is easy to wipe away. Reapply and repeat until it breaks down the growth enough to remove without pain.

5. MAVALA Cuticle Remover

MAVALA Cuticle Remover


This cuticle remover is made with a thixotropic formula. This means that it is a gel which becomes liquid when it is shaken or stirred. With just one application, you’ll be able to use the tool (provided) to remove the dry skin and roll back the cuticles to remove them.

The manicure stick that is provided is wrapped in cotton, which will catch and remove dead skin. This product does contain alkali, which is very effective at breaking down cuticles but can also be damaging if not used according to directions.

+Quickly breaks down protein in cuticles
+Tool makes removal a breeze
+Thixotropic formula

Why We Like It – Customer advice: Do not use a metal tool. This cuticle remover works much better with a wood stick or the provided manicure stick.

6. Elavae Instant Cuticle Remover Gel Cream

Elavae Instant Cuticle Remover Gel Cream


If your cuticle problem is out of hand and you don’t have luck with liquid remover, this gel may be best for you. It is vegan, moisturizing, and one bottle can last for as many as 30 treatments. Apply to cuticles, leave lay for 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the thickness of your dead skin, wipe away dead skin with a washcloth, use the included tool to push back the cuticle, and then use the sharp side to scrape away the excess skin. When you’re finished, wash your hands in warm water.

+High-quality tool included
+Lanolin-free (good for sensitive skin)
+Gentle and effective

Why We Like It – Customers love the tool that is included because the “push” end easily moves the cuticles back, and the sharp end painlessly removes the dead skin.

7. ProLinc Cuticle Eliminator

ProLinc Cuticle Eliminator


Even the toughest, thickest, dry, dead skin and cuticles are no match for this cuticle remover. Forget using cutters or other sharp tools that inevitably lead to pain. This cuticle remover is gentle when dissolving cuticles and hangnails, making it a breeze to push back and remove. Simply apply, leave on for 45 seconds, push the cuticles back, and wash your hands. Best yet, you can also use this cuticle remover on gel polish, gel, and acrylic nail.

+Can be used on top of nail polish
+Works on calluses

Why We Like It – Customers are pleased by how easily their hangnails and cuticles soften up and can be removed. Many say the ProLinc Cuticle Eliminator is comparable to Butter London products.

8. Pro Nail Wet & Melt Professional Strength Cuticle Remover

Pro Nail Wet & Melt Professional Strength Cuticle Remover


Formulated with aloe vera, this is one of the best cuticle removers. The aloe vera will help nourish and moisturize your cuticles and hangnails while the active ingredients do the work softening and dissolving dead cells. If you are a technician in a salon, this cuticle remover is very convenient and cost-effective. It’s also important to note that you should wear gloves at all times when handling these cuticle removers.

+Ready in 30-45 seconds
+Moisturizing aloe vera
+Trusted by nail salons

Why We Like It – The product is strong enough to dissolve cuticles and hangnails, but gentle enough to not do any damage to healthy cells. You can find other gentle formulas by Butter London.

9. Blue Cross Cuticle Remover

Blue Cross Cuticle Remover


This is one of the best cuticle removers for both manicures and pedicures. It is formulated with lanolin, which is one of the heaviest moisturizes you can get. The lanolin is going to prevent the healthy cells from drying out and improve cuticles over time, not just the first time it’s used. It does not have a strong odor, and it does not sting, though it is recommended that you do not use cuticle removers on cracks.

+1 minute wait time
+Lanolin for extra moisture
+Protects cells in future

Why We Like It – The customers that use this cuticle remover have become loyal customers that don’t even browse elsewhere. It provides more moisture than competitors.

10. California Mango Cuticle Softener

California Mango Cuticle Softener


What makes this cuticle product one of the best on the market is that it can be used for more than just a pesky cuticle. This cuticle softener can break down thick, hard patches. It’s especially effective when used with a foot file. Using the product and a foot file will effectively get rid of dead cells and make way for new, healthy ones. Included in the ingredients are aloe, acai, and mango extract.

+Tackles hard, dead cells
+Encourages new, healthy nail growth
+Vegan and gluten-free

Why We Like It – Customers with usually thick and dry cuticles and hangnails swear by this cuticle softener. They say it softens and breaks down the cells almost instantly.

Cuticle Remover Buyer’s Guide

Reasons To Remove

Beauty care. Close-up of woman hands removing cuticle.

There are many reasons one would wish to remove their excess cuticle cells. Experts who say that cuticle removers are great to use will tell you that by taking the dead cells away, you’ll be allowing your body to create fresh, healthy nail cells. There is some truth to this statement.

The trick is not to remove the cuticle altogether because then you will leave yourself open for infection. If you only remove the pieces that are excessive and need to come off because they’re not serving their purpose, that is entirely safe.

However, if you’re trying to remove more than necessary just for the cosmetics, you could be putting yourself in danger. When you remove only what is safe to remove, then you enjoy the cosmetic benefits. Without the excessive amount of dead cells on the cuticle, the nail polish will be able to be applied more evenly and neatly. If a cuticle is thick and dry, it will absorb the nail polish.

Reasons Against Removal

Yellow cuticle oil bottle and a female hands on a white wooden table background. Fingernail care concept.

A cuticle is also called the eponychium. It is formed by cornified epidermal cells, which are a result of keratinization. Keratinization refers to dead cells forming a protective layer on your nail. What does this layer protect you from, though? A cuticle’s job is to prevent bacteria that cause infection from getting through between the nail and the epidermal layer by forming a seal. The cuticle also protects the nails’ root, where new cells are made.

Removing the cuticle can leave you open for infections that can be painful and cause deformities. When you break the seal, you can get paronychia, which is an infection that causes sore, inflamed, red cells around the nail. Many experts say that if you remove your cuticles, the only benefits you can reap are purely cosmetic.

They claim that you will be doing your body more harm than good, just to have a perfect appearance. However, it is not the experts’ decision who does and does not remove a cuticle. It is up to you to make an informed decision, so do your research thoroughly before using any products.

Alternatives To Removal

Apple cider vinegar with water and honey, detox drink.

If you can’t decide whether or not to remove or care for your cuticles, there are alternatives to using softeners and dissolvers and removers. The first alternative is apple cider vinegar. To remove stubborn rough spots on your feet or hands, soak them in apple cider vinegar (mixed with some water) for up to 20 minutes. Simply rinse them off and throw on some moisturizer, and you’ll feel like you gave yourself a manicure/pedicure.

Lemon with honey is another great way to provide your cuticles some tender loving care. Use warm water to soak your hands or feet, push the dead cells back, mix up 1 tsp of honey, 2 tsp of lemon juice, and some water. Simply soak your fingernails or toenails and rinse.

Coconut oil is also great for cuticle care. Simply massage some coconut oil into your dry, dead cells regularly, and you will notice that the cracks and cuts become replaced by soft and supple cells. If you’re not used to caring for your nail cuticles, it may seem overwhelming trying to decide what regimen is best for you. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want to remove dead cells and push the cuticles back, not remove them completely.

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