Samantha, cuticle remover and cuticle softener are two different products. Only use cuticle remover if your cuticle growth is excessive. As far as softener, you can use it, or just very gently push cuticles back after a shower/bath. And again, only trim if the cuticle material is split or unruly! Also, be sure to use cuticle trimmers, by Mehaz or Tweezerman, not the little v-shaped 'cutter' that you get at the drugstore!
Cuticle oil, or any moisturizer, is really about personal skin type and geography. Keeping your hands moisturized slows the aging of your hands, keeps nails from becoming terribly brittle, and can help maintain your mani for an extra day or so! Even grapeseed oil is wonderful!
The only reason for a gap between your cuticle and polish is: our skin produces oils to keep us moisturized, (in theory) :) and if you have not properly removed cuticle growth before polish application, your polish will lift and peel quickly. If you have prepped your nails properly, take your polish right up there! It looks fresher longer, and you'll be happier with the end result! Just be sure to clean up your 'messes', so your mani looks amazing from day one!
As far as my personal routine...I wear acrylics, so I use pure acetone to remove polish. I rebase ~ twice a month, unless I'm being lazy :) I change my polish/design as often as once a week to as rarely as once a month! Depends on how much I like what I put on, and how bad I mess 'em up at work or in the garden! I have VERY dry skin, and I live in Colorado...there's not enough lotion on this continent to keep me moisturized! Find what works for you, even if its a generic! And never apologize for it! :D
Yellowing of your nails is common and annoying...you can try different base coats, but some people yellow no matter what! A 5-10 minute soak in hydrogen peroxide will usually help...or if you have great nails and are in a hurry, a purple buffing block, (very fine), will take that stain right off! Some polish brands are more likely to stain than others...some pigments are more likely to stain...you just have to decide what you're willing to tolerate :)
Keep asking me questions! I will try to keep answering!
Have a great night all! Last hours of the Summer Solstice...enjoy!