What to Look For
The cuticle is the dead skin surrounding the base of both toe and finger nails. The reasons for cutting the cuticle are purely aesthetic, such as to trim hangnails or get rid of dead skin. Cutting the cuticles can be done by a professional at a spa, or at home. The majority of cuticle nippers are the type you grip with your full hand; the other type look much like scissors. The best nippers are of stainless steel, box hinged, hand gripped, with a jaw size that fits your hands.
The most common pitfall is buying an inexpensive cuticle nipper. The higher the cost, the more likely the nipper with work well and last. Once you have the product, be sure you are diligent about disinfecting the nippers after each use.
Don't pick the wrong size. Choosing the quarter-size jaw is best for beginners. This will provide maximum control and prevents tearing of the skin.
Where to Buy
Buy your nippers at a good department store or beauty supply shop. This is not the time to cut corners.
Be sure you aren't paying for glitzy finishes (like gold plate), which will have no effect on the quality of the manicure. The more expensive nipper will allow for sharpening and can last you a lifetime. Prices range from $12 to nearly $100.
The stainless steel, box hinge nipper is best. There are two types of nippers: box hinge and lap hinge. The box hinge will outlast the lap hinge. The difference between the two is that the box hinge looks as if one part of the handle is going through the other side. On the lap hinge there will be only one curving handle.
Since you've chosen to do your own manicure, here are a few tips. After you have filed your nails, apply a cuticle remover and follow package directions on how long to keep it on. Gently push the cuticle back with an manicure stick. When you are ready, use your nippers on any hangnails or loose cuticles. Do not cut too deeply or too closely to the skin, as you may seriously damage your nails.