When I really got into photographing and blogging about my nails, I was always searching and experimenting with new products to try and combat this problem. Ragged and cracked cuticles in up close and personal photos = no fun for anyone. It got to the point where I would cut my cuticles almost daily to keep them tamed. If you didn't know, cutting your cuticles is pretty much the worst thing I could do for my problem. It was a vicious cycle, I cut them so they would look better, they would grow back harder, uglier and more ragged, so I had to keep cutting them just to have them appear presentable. More than once I've sliced too deep and created a wound, ouch.
No amount of cuticle remover would work to totally eradicate them like cutting did. Oils, creams, and balms didn't help me. I have some OCD tendencies, and whenever I saw the slightest bit of extra cuticle or skin, I'd cut. I thought I would be doomed to be a slave to my nippers forever. Then about a month ago, I decided I was strong enough to quit my habit. Having normal, healthy cuticles was my right and I was going to have them dammit!
On the advice of some of my fellow bloggers and nailphiles, I quit cold turkey and started using a gentle cuticle remover about every other day, pushed them back often, and started using rich cuticle balm morning and night. I had just gotten a sample of Famous Names new Dadi'Oil, a cuticle oil with avocado, jojoba, vitamin E, and olive oil that is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. All the oils I'd tried in the past kept my hands yucky and greasy for hours and never came close to softening my skin. Dadi'Oil is truly a miracle worker for me and I believe is a big part of my success of not cutting for the past month. I applied it basically whenever I thought about my cuticles. Unfortunately, it is a pro-only product, so you need a license to be able to buy it. I used Blue Cross Cuticle Remover from Sally's, orangewood sticks from Walmart, Qtica cuticle balm from Qtica, and Dadi'Oil from Famous Names.
It has taken this long, about a month, for them to finally be in semi-fighting shape. The first week was brutal, but it got easier. Not that they are technically perfect or even close to, but they do look more natural and normal. And I no longer have such an intense urge to cut them, though I don't know if that will ever go away completely. I don't know if it's terribly apparent in my photos to you as a reader, but it was a huge sense of anxiety for me and now I am happier with them than I thought I could be. And it's only going to get better :D
Some of the products mentioned were provided for consideration.