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In today's market there are multitudes of different nippers. Almost every company that manufactures grooming instruments produces at least a dozen. The differences in these tools are not just the size, but different overall shapes and blades. These design modifications allow consumers better take care of themselves, so much so, that even grooming and medical professional use these specialized tools. Below are brief descriptions of some of the main types of these tools and tips on how to best use them. On that note, let our first suggestion be: Use the proper tools for the appropriate task.

Cuticle nippers

Cuticle nippers are probably the smallest of all nippers, with the smallest and finest of jaws because when removing cuticles you should only be nipping off the actual tiny bit of dead skin that extends from the finger. You should never cut into the live skin surrounding the nail bed. Besides creating more hangnails and tears in the skin running up the finger, this damages the protective "seal" between the nail and the finger inviting dirt and infection.

To nip off the cuticle, position the nippers just above the spot where you believe the hangnail attaches to the skin and very carefully nip once. Never pull on the skin if it doesn't come off right away! Try nipping it off again. Leave just a minute piece on, it most probably is live skin.

Nail Nippers

Regular nail nippers come in variety of sizes, with smaller ones meant for the finger nails and the larger ones for tougher, thicker toenails. Since usually our nails follow the arch of the finger and are slightly have a slight curvature the nail nippers have specially angled concave jaws, which allow for clean, slightly curved cuts of your nail without breaking them. The blades are shaped so that you can easily get between the nail and the skin without causing any tears.

To cut the nails, position the open nippers on one side of the nail, with one of the blades under the nail, and one above. With the open blades find the "line" to which you'd like to trim the nail. Do not insert the nail too deeply between the jaws of the nippers, the cut should be done in two (or more) steps, so that the nail doesn't bend and break, continuing from one side to the other. If the nail doesn't get cut right away do not try to pull or bend the nail. This could damage the nails and the skin around it. The same process should be followed whether you cut nails on your finger or toes, though for larger, thick, hard toenails you may need to use a larger pair of reinforced pedicure nail nippers that have a special reinforced spring to create more pressure for a clean, sharp cut without actually needing to exert much pressure by you.

Pedicure Nippers for Ingrown Nails

Ingrown nails cause a lot of pain and discomfort. They occur on the sides of the nail where it grows more than usual and pierce the skin on the sides of the finger. If you do not know how to deal with an ingrown nail please first see a podiatrist for treatment. If you decide to cut a slight case of an ingrown nail yourself use a pair of nippers specifically designed for this. These pedicure nippers have flat jaw blades. These nippers will allow you to easily and accurately access those tricky, hard to get into corners of the toenails to get rid of the painful ingrown nails. In addition instead of a curve created by regular nail nippers this specially designed tool will create a straight shape of the nail so that in the future it doesn't grow to the sides.

To avoid a possible dangerous infection the ingrown portion of the nail needs to be carefully cut and fully removed from the affected nail bed. Until you completely cut out the nail, do not try to pull that piece out - you may damage the skin of the nail bed. The spot where the nail got embedded into the skin needs to be treated against possible infection. If the nail breaks while you're cutting it all the tiny pieces need to be carefully removed from the skin and under the nail as well.

My nippers just won't cut!

If your quality nippers no longer cut as they used to or you feel that you need to apply more and more pressure to do the job look into the following:
  • Even on great quality tools the blades eventually get dull with use and they should be sharpened. On your next visit to the salon ask the manicurists where they sharpen their tools, they will know a good local master.
  • Nippers often have a screw that holds them together and with use it loosens. Carefully try to tighten it to increase resistance.
  • Sometimes the plates that create resistance between the blades (they look like a wishbone) get bent out of shape. You can ask the same professional who sharpens your blades to bend them back into shape. You may also try bending them "out" yourself or if they are in a bad shape, get a replacement part.

Care & Cleaning:

Care and cleaning of your nippers might change depending on the material you choose, here are some basic tips that should keep most steel instrument in good shape.
  • Protect the blades of your nippers that have a lock plate by securing it whenever the nippers are not in use.
  • Don't soak your nippers in detergents or in plain water.
  • Always disinfect nippers with alcohol before and after each use.
  • Nippers are used for personal grooming and should not be used for any other purposes.
  • If you carry your nippers together with other items consider using a protective case for them, so that the nippers do not get damaged or dulled by interaction with other items and do not damage the surrounding objects.
  • Clean and disinfect whatever additional instrument is attached to your nippers so that dirt is not transferred over.