Why You Should Be Using Cuticle Oil, According to Nail ExpertsJune 23, 2023
A solid stockpile of nail products isn’t something you just acquire immediately. If you love giving yourself a DIY mani, your collection of must-have nail polishes naturally grows over time, along with your array of nail art necessities (i.e. all the rhinestone adhesives) and manicure tools. But then there are the practical nail-care products that you might need a little more convincing to add to your nail collection, such as cuticle oil.
For some, cuticle oil may seem like something you’d probably be just fine without. But for others, like celebrity nail artists, cuticle oil is an essential step in a manicure that you shouldn’t skip out on. If you’re looking to build an at-home nail setup to rival what you would find at a salon, cuticle oil is a must. To learn more about why you need cuticle oil in your stash, we turned to Tina Wang, nail artist and owner of Lunula Salon in Brooklyn, and celebrity nail artist Mazz Hanna.
What Is Cuticle Oil?
If you’ve ever gotten a manicure at a nail salon before, chances are they used cuticle oil during the process. “Cuticle oil is essentially any oil treatment used to restore the natural moisture of your cuticles and to keep the skin around your nails hydrated,” explains Wang. “Cuticle oil often has vitamin E and other antioxidants that will help nourish nails.” It’s basically a moisturizer for your nails and the skin around them and is an important part of a well-rounded nail-care routine.
What Does Cuticle Oil Do?
As Wang mentioned, the main purpose cuticle oil serves is hydration. “Cuticle oil is a product used to keep nails and cuticles hydrated, as is especially important during cold and dry winter months,” says Hanna. “By keeping your cuticles hydrated, it creates a healthy environment for nail growth and can also strengthen your nails.
Wang echoes the importance of cuticle oil to overall nail health. Hydrated cuticles “create the best foundation for strong and healthy nails,” she says. “Many don't realize that hydrated cuticles will help to minimize hangnails and nail breakage.”
Cuticle oil is also beneficial from an aesthetic standpoint, since it helps make your nails into a solid canvas for your nail polish or nail art. “Strong and healthy nails help ensure a long polish duration, as the polish adheres to a more smooth surface area with less breakage and chipping,” notes Wang. In other words, no matter how skilled you are with a nail polish brush, you’re not maximizing the full flawless potential of your mani if you’re not incorporating a cuticle oil.
How to Use Cuticle Oil
The good news is that applying cuticle oil is a breeze and you can likely find it at any drugstore. It’s just about remembering to use it. “It's important to apply cuticle oil as a daily self-care step and to create a routine that you can stick to,” says Wang. “The best way to integrate cuticle oil care is with other self-care steps you are already doing.”
For example, Hanna recommends applying cuticle oil before bed. Massage your formula into your cuticles and the surrounding area. This gives the product time to sink in and work its magic overnight. Wang, meanwhile, likes to reach for cuticle oil in the morning. “We recommend applying cuticle oil right after you shower and wash your face in the morning, as your skin is softened with water exposure and more likely to absorb the vitamins and antioxidants from your cuticle oil,” she says. “Rubbing the cuticle oil in small circles around your cuticles is a great way to help with product absorption so you can reap the full benefits of the cuticle oil.”
Regardless of when you choose to incorporate cuticle oil into your skincare routine, your nails will thank you — and your manicures will look better than ever. To ensure your cuticles are fully hydrated and healthy, you can apply cuticle oil after washing your hands throughout the day, too. You can even keep a small bottle in your purse for on-the-go application anytime you’re feeling a little dry.
Editor-Approved Cuticle Oils
The reviews of this great-smelling cuticle oil are right on the money — it’s a must-have, especially for all you DIY manicure and pedicure addicts out there. Between the smell and the quick-absorbing formula, it’s a customer favorite for a reason. Simply apply it onto your nails and cuticles about two times a day to hydrate and revitalize.
Take your cuticle care on the go with the Essie On a Roll Apricot Cuticle Oil. Inspired by the original Apricot Nail & Cuticle Oil, it comes in a tube with a rollerball applicator for application that is mess-free and easier than ever. The rollerball helps you thoroughly massage the oil into your cuticles and nails, and the formula dries quickly so you don’t have to worry about getting oil everywhere after applying it. This is also a travel-friendly option as it’s less likely to spill in your bag than a bottle.
“My certified-organic cuticle oil was formulated with four simple cuticle-loving ingredients: hemp oil, jojoba oil, and therapeutic-grade lavender and geranium essential oils,” Hanna explains. “The amethyst roller ball is custom-cut from Brazilian amethyst, which is among the best in the world.” Fun fact: According to the Mazz Hanna website, amethyst is the stone of breaking bad habits. If you tend to bite or pick at your nails, this may be the cuticle oil for you.
We’re big fans of Deborah Lippmann’s stunning and unique nail polish shades, but the brand also has a great cuticle oil. Formulated with coconut oil and vitamin-E-packed jojoba seed oil, this nourishing treatment heals dry, cracked cuticles. It absorbs quickly without leaving behind greasy residue, which is one of our biggest cuticle oil pet peeves. The best part? The subtly sweet coconut scent is perfect for summer.
Save your cuticles with the help of this oil from Dr. Hauschka. Besides hydrating your cuticles, this formula will soothe damaged or irritated skin that comes with harsh climates, acrylics or gel. We love how this pen makes precise application easy and comes with three extra applicator tips, so you can really make the oil last.
Manicure lovers swear by the French Girl Nail & Cuticle Oil formula for strengthening dry, brittle nails and for helping to prevent chipping and breaking. It’s a plant-based formula made from botanical extracts and essential oils. For the best results, simply glide on the conditioner and rub it in so it penetrates into the skin around your nails.
With the Olive & June Cuticle Serum Duo, you can keep one serum on your vanity and one in your purse or car. Lightweight and never greasy, this serum hydrates and soothes dry cuticles. Apply it with the soft foam applicator tip whenever your nails need a boost of hydration throughout the day.