A cuticle nipper is a small tool that is used to trim or cut back the cuticles on the fingernails or toenails. These tools are usually made from a durable metal such as stainless steel. They are designed with a two-pronged handle that fits in the palm of the hand. At the end of the cuticle nipper is a metal jaw with sharp edges intended to grasp and cut away excessive skin around the cuticle. The jaw is usually one inch (about 2.5 cm) deep or less.
It is common for nail technicians to use cuticle nippers during spa treatments for the feet and the hands. In order to maintain important hygienic standards, a cuticle nipper must be disinfected between clients. Even skilled nail technicians sometimes accidentally cut the cuticle too low and cause a small amount of bleeding around the nail bed. The risk of bleeding, even in small amounts, means that a cuticle nipper must be sterilized between clients.
Some people who prefer to enjoy manicures and pedicures at home instead of at the spa use spa-quality products at home. Cuticle nippers fall into this category. In fact, some companies that sell personal care items offer kits which include all of the tools necessary to complete at-home hand and feet treatments. It is common for such a kit to include a cuticle nipper. The prices of nippers and the sets that they are included in vary widely. The more expensive models are usually spa-quality, made of durable materials, and are less likely to break.
There is some debate as to whether or not it is good to cut the cuticles around the fingernails and toenails. Some people believe that cutting the cuticles is bad for the health of the nails. Other people believe that long cuticles look unkempt and unsightly and that cutting them back does no real harm. Luckily, there is a tool that does pretty much the same thing as a nipper without cutting away the cuticles.
For those who prefer not to cut the cuticles, a cuticle pusher may be used instead of a cuticle nipper. Instead of actually cutting back the cuticles, a pusher literally just moves the cuticle back and away from the nail. This leaves the nail bare and prepared for buffing or polish. A cuticle pusher is also more hygienic than a cuticle nipper because it is much less likely to cause bleeding around the beds of the fingernails or toenails.