The Hangnail Handbook

Photo: MCV/Firstview.
There is nothing — and we mean nothing — that can kill a good manicure like a hangnail. What starts off as a tiny snag can turn into a horrifying, gruesome display of lacking impulse control, especially if you're prone to picking, tearing, and biting at the offensive nicks and uneven patches. We have plenty of converted hangnail pickers on staff, so we know firsthand of the hatchet-job hands that result from tearing at your fingers. Believe us, you don't want to be that person in a crowd of beauty editors. Because they will judge you.
As we've mended our ways, we've learned that the key to solving a bad habit is stopping it before it starts. So, to help you prevent the offensive issue, we'd like to call on our salvation from mangled hands, the woman who has shown us the light, celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi.
A woman who has brought many of us to The Path of Hangnail Happiness, Choi is here to save you with Five Commandments to prevent offensive picking and get your hands under control. Going through life looking like Freddy Krueger does your manicure is no way to live. Can we get an "amen"? Click through and then use these handy tips to hamper hangnails, stat.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom.
Commandment #1: Thou shalt not pick.
"Never pull hangnails out; that may cause an infection," says Choi. Picking at a hangnail, no matter how tempting, can lead to a whole host of issues, like open wounds, sores, and, you know, infection. Plus, it makes your hands look really gross.

The Solution: At the first sign of uneven texture, gently buff the area down with a nail file.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
Commandment #2: Thou shalt not over-file.
"Don't file the sides of your nail too much, since over-filing can produce hangnails." Great advice, especially for those of us who are hyper-vigilant about looking for offensive, uneven texture.

The Solution: Getting your nails polished helps with the urge to file since they're covered in nail lacquer.
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Photo: Courtesy of Sephora.
Commandment #3: Thou shalt soak and snip.
"Be sure to soak your fingers in warm water, then snip the hangnail with a cuticle nipper." Chewing your hands does not qualify as soaking and nipping, by the way.

The Solution: Before you go all medieval on your hands, take the gentle route. Soaking softens the skin, and nipping removes the problem. Done and done.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nordstrom.
Commandment #4: Thou shalt moisturize.
"Moisturize your nails with oil as often as possible in dry winter weather." Dry hands = hangnails. Just moisturize to prevent them from happening.

The Solution: Reapplying a good hand cream is key, as well as frequently applying cuticle oil. Keep this rollerball next to your bed for easy application before lights out.
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Photo: Courtesy of Shopbop.
Commandment #5: Thou shalt wear gloves.
"Make sure to wear gloves when you leave the house in the winter or anytime you do the dishes. Exposing your hands to cold temperature causes hangnails, and doing dishes without [wearing] gloves in the water can cause hangnails as well."

The Solution: Love the gloves, people, love the gloves. Also, slathering on hand cream before you put on the gloves is extra insurance against hangnails.
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