Quality tools are something I will spend money on so I can do the job right and not replace them due to premature degradation. Since I do all my manicures at home (and have many years, pre-pandemic!), I’ve tried a lot of nail tools. I’ve tried various tools to work on my cuticles: slide-style cutters, jaw nippers, chemical solutions, and more. After a pair I had been getting by with broke, I did some research to buy a pair I wouldn’t need to replace for a long time.
Enter Rui Smiths Cuticle Nippers
I’ve owned my pair since January, now, and can’t recommend them enough. Their spring action is buttery-smooth and they cut cleanly and deftly. Just like a normal pair of nail clippers or scissors, a smooth, clean closure of the blades is key to ensure a tidy (and SAFE) cut.
Depending on your preferences and needs, they sell 4mm, 5mm, and 6mm jaw sizes across both single- and double- springs and in both French- and Japanese-style handles.
Rui Smiths Cuticle Nippers come in two handle styles: French and Japanese. This was a new concept to me, but the French handles have more of a rounded contour, like this:
–whereas the Japanese handles are straighter.
One isn’t superior to the other; it comes down to a matter of preference and how you hold a tool like this. I personally feel like I have more control with the French handle because of how I hold them – pick whichever looks more comfortable to you.
The Rui Smiths Cuticle Nippers also come in two spring or hinge types. Above, I’ve shown two different models that both have a double spring or hinge.
There are others, like this one, that have a single spring or hinge that you turn to open or close them. A little nub at the end rests against the arm of the non-fixed side for stability. This enables them to take up less storage space. The trade off, though, is that if you are not careful to open and position that hinge correctly, there is a small chance that you could bump that moveable hinge out of place during use if you’re clumsy like me.
I haven’t tried the single because I already knew my preference was for a double hinge due to being clumsy. The single hinges, however, are very well reviewed.
I think the 5mm, which I own, is likely a good choice for most people who want a pair of cuticle nippers. They’re a nice balance between cutting area and maneuverability. In particular, I own and use this half jaw (5mm), double-spring model.
I tried the quarter jaw (4mm) (also double spring), but they’re a little on the small side for adult manicures and pedicures for my tastes. They’d be great if you’re brand new to using cuticle nippers, if you value extremely high precision, or for really petite hands.
Though I haven’t tried them, I think the 6mm would suit people who want to get the job done faster and for professionals.
Pricing & Other Details
Overall, these generally aren’t a drugstore-priced pair, but most models (there are a couple outliers) tend to run less than (and work better than) Tweezerman.
Pricing ranges on handle, spring/hinge, jaws and material (some are unnecessarily gold plated). As of the time of writing, they range from $14-60 USD. My surgical stainless, French handle, half jaw (5mm), double-spring pair cost around $26 and I expect them to last at least five years, if not ten, with at least weekly use.
You can check out the range here.
The Bottom Line
These are by far the best cuticle nippers I’ve ever used. My previous Sally Hansen pair felt almost rusty (they weren’t actually) when closing them to cut. They wouldn’t cut cleanly, and they were only 3 years old.
I realize that $26 for a single tool is not terribly inexpensive, but:
- there are some less costly models (surgical stainless was important to me for sterilization purposes)
- drugstore models that are nowhere near as sharp or smooth in their closing action start at $10
–the jump is well worth it to me. Sliding cutters are a cheaper cuticle trimming option but are really easy to, “oops,” and hurt yourself with. For me, this is the only way to go, and only way I’d recommend from a safety perspective. Remember to work in a well-lit area if you’re removing excess cuticle, and push them back first so you can clearly see what the excess is so you don’t cut yourself.