Next Time You Paint Your Nails, Use a Mascara Brush

It will get rid of scraggly cuticles and dry skin.
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It will get rid of scraggly cuticles and dry skin.
Photo: Screengrab from @paintboxnails Instagram

Photo: Screengrab from @paintboxnails Instagram

Everyone loves a creative hack. In the beauty world, there are tons of time-saving, money-saving ways to re-purpose products, plus techniques you can try  that don't require you to have the makeup brush prowess of Pat McGrath. For this weekly feature, we will pick the brains of beauty's best and brightest to try to make your life easier.

When I get a manicure at my local nail salon, generally the technician will use a harsh cuticle remover solution, followed by a marathon session attacking my newly-ragged cuticles with cuticle clippers. At a recent manicure appointment, however, I learned a kinder, gentler way to tame your cuticles. 

Photo: MakeUp ForEver

Photo: MakeUp ForEver

Paintbox Nail Studio, a newly-opened nail salon in Soho owned by former beauty editor Eleanor Langston, specializes in sophisticated (no, really) nail art and perfect manicures with tons of high-end polishes on offer. I went there for a mani and to check out the new studio, and during the part where I was expecting the tech to pull out the dreaded nippers, instead she whipped out a...mascara brush?

The tech informed me it was a signature part of the Paintbox manicure. After using Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Remover, instead of going for the evil nippers, she gently rubbed a clean mascara brush (like this one) across my nail beds and along the edges. It gently exfoliates to give you the smoothest surface possible before you apply polish, gets bits of cuticle off without trauma, and decreases the need for the clippers. The next time your mascara runs out, uses some shampoo to clean the brush thoroughly, then add it to your nail tools collection. The cuticle compliments will then start rolling in. 

Last week: How sucking an ice cube can improve your complexion