Cuticle biting may be one of your bad beauty habits, and I have to admit I have a sick fascination with cuticle remover. After running out of my supply recently, I tried using a body oil to push away my overgrown cuticles, but it just wasn't cutting it. I needed the good stuff. This got me to thinking about how my "fix" works.

Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide are two common ingredients contained in many cuticle removers. With a pH of over 12, these substances work to soften and break down dead skin around the nail bed. Since these exfoliating ingredients are so aggressive, it's essential to wash thoroughly after use. If you're looking for a less harsh approach, try Cuccio Natural Apple Cuticle Remover, ($8) which uses fruit alpha hydroxy acids to gently break down skin around the nails. Happy nipping.