Cuticle oil is a moisturizing product used in nail care. Made from various types of oils, it is designed to be applied with a brush, cotton ball or pen on the cuticles, the small, slightly hardened strip of skin at the base of the fingernails and toenails. People use it as part of their daily beauty regimen or during a manicure to prevent the skin from losing moisture. Although it can be expensive, it can reduce pain and boost confidence. It is available in both department stores and pharmacies, as well as online.
Ingredients and Their Purpose
Cuticle oil is a fairly simple product. Manufacturers usually make it with oils such as avocado, jojobo, tea tree or almond oil. Other moisturizing ingredients such as shea or cocoa butter might be included, as well. Makers sometimes add Vitamin E.
The oil-based ingredients serve as emollients. They do not add water to the skin and therefore are not hydrating, but they form a protective barrier that prevents moisture loss — this is why cuticle oil is known as a moisturizer. This keeps cuticles soft, preventing cracking and tears. Certain oils also have antifungal properties, so they potentially can prevent nail infections. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that, when included, fights the free radicals that damage skin cells.
A person can use a specialized brush to apply cuticle oil. The brush typically comes in the bottle with purchase. If the oil doesn’t come with a brush, or if the brush is lost, it’s also fine to apply the oil with a small sponge or cotton ball. A “pen” is available that allows greater precision during application.
Regardless of which application method a person selects, a little bit of oil goes a long way. It’s best to allow it to dry for a few minutes before touching anything. Placing a towel under the hands or feet can eliminate a mess.
Nail care professionals typically apply cuticle oil as the final step of a standard manicure or pedicure. They put a small amount of oil on the cuticle or, in some cases, the entire nail. The idea is to seal in the moisture gained from soaking the nails and cuticles in water prior to working on them.
Individuals also can apply this product as part of their everyday nail care routine. For most people, a standard moisturizing cream is all that’s needed to maintain general cuticle health. Only individuals who are prone to very dry nails, hangnails, splitting or cracking really need to use it on a daily basis. Those who do opt to use it can apply it before bed or as needed during the day.
Effect on Nail and Hand/Foot Appearance
Cuticle oil keeps the skin around nails soft and supple, preventing unsightly rips and infections. The nails look smooth and well-groomed as a result, which can make the entire hand or foot look as though it is well cared for. This can be important when individuals rely on their appearance as part of their work or want to make a good impression.
When a person uses cuticle oil, the retention of moisture and subsequent improvement in cuticle health can result in a reduction of nail pain. This can make it easier to complete basic tasks during the day. The product also can prevent nails from becoming overly brittle and breaking, allowing them to grow out. The improved appearance of the cuticles also can make a person feel more confident.
This substance is relatively expensive compared to other moisturizing products. It usually lasts a long time, however, because not very much is required each time a person puts some on. Many individuals who use it consider the product well worth any extra cost.
Where to Buy
Cuticle oil is available for purchase in the nail care aisles of most department stores. The majority of pharmacies also carry it. When one of these stores does not have the type or brand of oil desired, shopping online is always an option.