You may feel that you have to run to a pro every time you get some dry skin around your nails, but with the right care, your cuticles can be low-maintenance and totally hangnail-free. Read on:

1. Before caring for your cuticles, take your nail polish off so that your nails can breathe and your surrounding skin can absorb oil. It’s even better if you can start your DIY treatment right after a shower, when skin is softer.

2. Applying a cuticle remover will help break down and loosen dead skin on the nail plate, making it easier for you to gently push back with a cuticle pusher. Doing so will eliminate the need to trim and nip the cuticles off your nail plate.

3. Rinse hands well with warm, soapy water and apply cuticle oil to re-hydrate and soften cuticles. Almost any natural at home oil that you can find in your kitchen also works great for moisturizing cuticles.

4. A little warning, though: don’t even think about trimming your own cuticles. Your cuticles are there to protect you from bacteria entering into your body. If you accidentally make an improper nip or cut, you could potentially cause serious damage to the health of your nail and put yourself at risk for infection. If you can’t resist trimming, make sure you only trim dead skin away — which is what a hangnail is.

5. Keep cuticle oil or balm in your purse at all times and moisturize when your hands get dry — even lip balm works great in emergencies. And remember: Do. Not. Bite.