Have you ever been typing out an email, strapping your shoes on, or smoothing down your favorite dress when you suddenly look down and notice that your manicure has become haphazard? That a flap of skin has slowly crept up your nail? Maybe you’ve wondered what it is, or maybe you already know, but either way, if you are absolutely sick of your dry cuticles, then you’ve come to the right place.
The cuticle might be there to protect our nails from an infection, but the problem often seems to be that they become neglected, and when they’re neglected and dry, then chances for infection only increase. And in comes the topic of this article: cuticle oil! Softening, hydrating cuticle oil.
The product is perfect for anyone who wants to protect their nails and cuticles. So, without further ado, below is our guide to everything you need to know about cuticle oil – all the whats, whens, whys, and hows that will leave you all the more knowledgeable on that obnoxious flap of skin!
In this article:
What Is Cuticle Oil?
If you’ve never heard of cuticle oil, you are in for a treat. While it used to be one of manicurists’ best-kept secret, it’s officially been leaked, and now many are aware of the benefits of cuticle oil.
Cuticle oils are oil-based moisturizing and nourishing products for nails and cuticles. The main purpose is quite simple – to hydrate the nail beds and cuticles in order to soothe any of the rough skin. For this reason, the oils in cuticle oils are derived from plants with moisturizing benefits, such as jojoba, almond, or avocado oil. Vitamin E and citric acid are other common ingredients used.
Along with the hydrating benefit, the oil can help with everything, ranging from strength to nail growth, based on the added essential oils in the product. For instance, tea tree oil will be added to stimulate the blood flow and thus nail growth. Just don’t expect every added oil to be of benefit – brands just love the smell of vanilla!
Cuticle Oil Benefits
Cuticle oils have a long range of benefits beyond just keeping your nail beds healthy, strong, and smooth. Some people reach for cuticle oils because they tend to bite their nails, and when something is on them – specifically a strange flavor – it can help to break the habit. However, this is just one of the benefits of cuticle oil.
Manicurists often grab it after giving a manicure because keeping the cuticles well-hydrated can prevent other injuries to the nail, such as cracking and breaking. The oil can also be particularly beneficial with nail growth since the oils in the product can stimulate blood flow.
For me, at least, cuticle oil is something that I often reach for since it strengthens nails, leads to a manicure lasting longer, and prevents the dreaded hangnails.
Cuticle Oils vs. Cuticle Cream
Whereas cuticle oil is usually light, cuticle cream is often heavy, and for fear of it rubbing off, it’s best to put it on right before bed or when doing something that won’t require your hands. Besides its heaviness, cuticle cream would be what is considered an emulsifier in the cosmetic industry since it requires the blending of ingredients that don’t naturally combine easily, and because of this, they can go rancid much more easily.
Due to these two facts, busy people often reach for cuticle oil since they can continue to work while their nail beds are hydrated. In the end, though, deciding between cuticle oil and cuticle cream really comes down to what is the best option for you.
How to Use Cuticle Oil?
Depending on the bottle the cuticle oil comes in, the application may be slightly different, but with brushes, droppers, or rollers, it’s fairly self-explanatory. However, once the cuticle oil has been placed on your nail, the way to work it into your cuticles is the same. Slowly start by rubbing the oil back and forth across your nail and then work it into your cuticles. At this point, if you feel comfortable, you can push back your cuticles or wait for them to soften so that you can remove them.
When to Use Cuticle Oil?
You can apply the oil anytime that you are able to sit around for a few minutes. Just remember it’s best to apply cuticle oil three times a day – thus morning, noon, and night would be the best times. However, using it whenever you have free time is always a great choice. So, riding a taxi, watching a movie, reading a book or any other options would be perfect.
Just keep in mind that it is not advised to use cuticle oil before a manicure, as your nail polish won’t apply smoothly.
Photos via @itslinamar, @opi, Instagram