What Is the Best Cuticle Oil (And Do You Really Need One?)
Given the rate at which we’re washing and sanitizing our hands, we can use all of the moisture we can get these days. Hand cream is a given, but according to the pros, there’s one thing that’s missing from our daily routines: cuticle oil.
As Deborah Lippmann, a celebrity manicurist (she’s polished everyone from Meryl to Gaga) explains, “Your cuticles protect both the skin barrier and the nails themselves, so it’s important to keep them well-hydrated. Furthermore, healthy cuticles are key to healthy nail growth.”
So, if your nails are feeling brittle and dry or you’re noticing that you’re getting more hangnails than usual, a daily drop of cuticle oil can give you a helping hand.
Ready to shop some of our go-to’s?
1. Best for Ragged Cuticles: Sally Hansen Treatment Cuticle Rehab
For anyone with rough, ragged cuticles, this brush-on treatment may help. Infused with vitamin E, jasmine and rose extracts, it has a thicker, gel-like consistency that cocoons your nails and surrounding skin with moisture.
2. Best for Nail Biters: Sundays Cuticle Serum CS.01
Calling all nail biters and pickers: This antimicrobial serum uses myrrh oil, a natural sanitizing ingredient that helps to heal broken skin or small cuts. Coupled with jojoba oil and vitamins A, D, and E, it also packs a heavy dose of hydration (and has a light, earthy scent).
3. Best for Very Dry Nails: L'Occitane Nail and Cuticle Shea Oil
Fans of the brand’s cult hand cream will love this cuticle oil because it’s loaded with the same super-hydrating ingredient: shea butter. (We’re talking 30 percent shea here, guys.) Add to that some sweet almond, grape seed, castor seed and apricot oils and you’re looking at the antidote to dry cuticles. The brush applicator makes for a breezy application.
4. Best Non-Toxic Formula: Tenoverten The Rose Oil
Fun fact: The best time to apply cuticle oil is after they’ve been exposed to water. “Your nails are porous like a sponge. After you’ve washed your hands, apply cuticle oil to the entire nail,” advises Elle, a celebrity nail artist. “The oil will penetrate the nail better so it stays flexible, which extends the life of your manicure since the polish will be less likely to flake off the nail or crack,” she says.
One to try? This rose-scented oil from Tenoverten. The slim pen has a roller-ball tip that easily glides over the edges of your nail beds, covering them with moisturizing essential oils like the aforementioned rose, as well as jojoba, argan, pomegranate and hemp seed oils to strengthen and soften brittle tips.
5. Best Display: Blossom Scented Cuticle Oil in Hibiscus
This delightful bottle will look pretty sitting on any bedside table or vanity. Infused with real flowers and essential oils, it’s a perennial fav for keeping dry cuticles at bay. Choose from six different floral scents (or buy multiple as little gifts for your friends).
6. Best Scent: Deborah Lippmann Nail Cuticle Treatment
For a spa-like experience, we love this luxurious formula. It’s highly moisturizing thanks to jojoba oil and vitamin E and has the most delicious coconut scent that reminds us of simpler times. Drop a small bead onto each nail and massage it in for instant TLC.
7. Best for Damaged Nails: Barefoot Scientist Inner Strength Nail and Cuticle Renewal Drops
If you’d describe your nails as stained, peeling or rough, consider these replenishing drops that are brimming with six different oils, including tea tree oil (which helps with discoloration), and celery seed extract to tackle any damage caused by daily wear-and-tear (or, you know, picking off a gel mani). Psst...don’t forget to show some love to your toenails while you’re at it.
8. Most Portable: French Girl Organics Nail & Cuticle Oil
This palm-sized cutie features a rollerball applicator and hydrating essential oils and extracts to boost the health of your nails and surrounding skin. The subtle citrus scent is pleasant, as is the glossy sheen it leaves behind. Tip: Apply before your next #nailfie to revive a dulling manicure.
9. Pro Pick: OPI Pro Spa Nail & Cuticle Oil
Masterfully crafted with the help of Dr. Zena Gabriel, a board-certified dermatologist in Newport Beach, California, this ultra-nourishing oil utilizes the science of skincare to deliver a formula that is as cosmetically elegant as it is effective. Packed with grape seed, sesame, kukui, sunflower and cupuaçu oils, it’s a salon favorite for conditioning compromised cuticles.
10. Best Budget: Cuccio Naturalé Milk & Honey Cuticle Revitalizing Oil
With over 10,000+ reviews on Amazon, this hydrating formula clocks in at a generous 2.5 ounces and a handy dropper for easy application. Milk and honey work in tandem to moisturize and exfoliate dry skin around the cuticles. We also appreciate that the oil doesn’t leave an overly greasy film behind.
11. Best for Busy Hands: Olive & June Cuticle Serum
Hate getting oily fingerprints all over your keyboard? This lightweight serum revives dry cuticles with cactus flower, avocado and sunflower seed oils (both of which are fast-absorbing). To use, simply twist the base of the pen to dispense just the right amount onto each nail bed; the plush applicator feels like a treat against your skin.
12. Best for Thinning Nails: Isdin SI-NAILS Nourishing and Hydrating Nail Strengthener Serum
If you have paper-thin nails that seem to break every time you touch something, try this strengthening serum. Formulated with potent skincare ingredients like fatty acids and hyaluronic acid, it works to smooth roughness, while increasing the thickness and density of your nails. Tip: Gently buff your nails before applying for an even better absorption.