There’s more to gorgeous nails than just pretty polishes and a perfectly buffed surface. To get perfect nails, you’ll need to care for them properly and that includes incorporating the best cuticle oil into your nail care routine.
“The cuticle is a delicate layer of skin at the edges of the fingernails and is easily susceptible to dryness and cracking,” says Erin Gilbert M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Gilbert Dermatology in New York City. “Its function is to protect new nails from bacterial infection and cuticle oils work to protect and condition both your nails and cuticles, preventing dryness and cracking that can result in pain or infection.”
There are also various everyday factors that can negatively affect the cuticles. “The cuticle can be prone to splitting, especially with increased handwashing and dry, winter weather,” says Jeaneen Chappel M.D., a board-certified dermatologist located in Carrolton, Texas.
That’s why experts encourage the use of cuticles oils early on in life. “It’s never too early or too late to start using cuticle oils. Long-term use will result in healthier, stronger, more supple cuticles,” says Dr. Gilbert.
When searching for the best cuticle oils, the main thing to look at is the ingredient list. “Look for sunflower, grapeseed, jojoba, or apricot oil. If you have experienced redness or inflammation in the past following a manicure or a hangnail, you might want to consider looking for a product that contains tea tree oil, which has anti-bacterial properties,” advises Dr. Gilbert.
For the best application, apply a small amount of oil at the base of the nail and along the sides, gently rubbing it in. Dr. Gilbert suggests avoiding over-trimming and pushing the cuticles back if you’ve experienced nail infections before or have sensitive cuticles.
Here, find the best cuticles oils recommended by dermatologists and shoppers to soften and nourish dry skin, plus promote healthier nails!
“This is made from high-quality natural cold-pressed oils and it’s paraben and cruelty-free. It also contains milk, which is a natural humectant (think Cleopatra), and it smells amazing!” says Dr. Gilbert.
Michelle Farber, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Philadelphia, recommends this pick because it contains both vitamin E and jojoba oil to hydrate the cuticle and nail bed. “This bottle lasted a bit more than a month religiously applying it two to three times a day,” one reviewer wrote.
Hydrate and repair dry, damaged nails with this all-natural formula. Filled with dried, natural flowers, this blend of nurturing oils softens and conditions your cuticles and restores your nails back to their natural healthy state. Choose one or grab all five of the lovely flower-inspired scents.
“This cuticle oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and soothing properties owing to the tea tree oil. It’s an excellent choice for treating painful hangnails or inflamed cuticles,” says Dr. Gilbert.
If your nails could use some extra TLC due to frequent hand washing and sanitizing, this is the pick for you. It has an ultra-nourishing and fast-absorbing formula filled with good-for-you skincare ingredients like grape seed, sesame, and sunflower oil.
“This contains a variety of ingredients with specific cuticle and nail benefits, and it comes in a handy travel size,” says Dr. Gilbert. “Argan oil is highly moisturizing, essential fatty acids provide long-lasting moisturization without a greasy feel, vitamins A and E provide antioxidant benefits, and apricot and camelia oil provide a wonderful scent.”
Crafted with pure ingredients like tea tree, castor, olive, and avocado oil, this cuticle oil will work to smooth and strengthen your nails. It also has a lovely scent thanks to its lavender and lemon essential oil ingredients. “I’m impressed with the improvement in my nails and cuticles since using this product,” wrote one happy customer.
“It contains cottonseed and soybean oils, which deeply and quickly penetrate the skin. It also contains vitamins A, E, and hydrolyzed collagen, which has anti-oxidant properties, and the collagen strengthens nails over time,” explains Dr. Gilbert.
There’s no point in having freshly polished nails if you haven’t cared for your dry and damaged cuticles. This easy-to-use pick comes with a rollerball tip that you can use to apply the product all over your skin and nails. The formula includes argan, tamanu, and hemp oil which helps to soothe and maintain the health of the cuticles.
This affordable pick offers nourishing vitamin E, botanical oils, and healing aloe to soften and moisturize cuticles while stimulating nail growth. “Do not hesitate and don’t let the price fool you,” one reviewer wrote. “It is nothing short of miraculous and I couldn’t be happier, my nails are back and beautiful!”
“The soft foam tip pen format is easy to use while on-the-go and is mess-free. It’s also comprised of multiple nourishing oils—avocado, apricot kernel, jojoba, sunflower seed oil, and peppermint leaf extract. It’s an excellent choice if you have sensitive skin, since it is fragrance-free,” says Dr. Gilbert.
This cuticle oil is so good, it earned a spot in our 2020 Healthy Beauty Awards. “The Celery Oil is the foundation for healthy cuticles and strong nails,” says Jessica Morse, founder of Bare Beauty and non-toxic nail salon The Water Room in Charleston, SC, and Atlanta. “I love the ballpoint applicator, which keeps things from getting messy.” It’s packed with tons of oils—including sunflower, meadowfoam, castor seed, rosehip—and celery seed extract to heal, hydrate, and protect.
Formulated with coconut oil, vitamin E, and jojoba seed oil, this hydrating cuticle oil will keep your nails and skin looking polished and healthy after each use. The formula absorbs quickly and dries down without leaving behind any greasy residue. We also love how yummy it smells, thanks to its sweet coconut scent.
“I love this product because it’s super hydrating and easy to use—just glide on, rub in and enjoy,” wrote one satisfied Amazon customer. “It made my cuticles so supple and prolonged several manicures.” Plus, its formula includes a high concentration of shea and apricot oil, known to nourish and soften the nails and skin.
Soothe and care for your nails and cuticles with this handy 2-in-1 pen. Its formulated with almond oil and vitamin E, to help nourish and promote healthy nail growth. “I’ve been buying this stuff for, it’s my favorite cuticle oil in the land. It keeps my nails shiny and they break way less often when I use it regularly,” wrote one reviewer.
For just $7, you can treat your nails and skin to a moisturizing cuticle treatment. It comes in various delicious scents, including milk and honey, pomegranate, and tea tree lavender. Along with softening and healing dry or cracked cuticles with vitamin E, this oil can also help protect nails from future damage by strengthening the cuticles from the inside and out.
Packed with almond and jojoba oils, vitamin E, and keratin, this oil offers the hydration dry nails and cuticles need. The non-greasy formula sinks right in, applies easily with a brush, and goes a long way with little product. “This stuff is amazing! I like that I can brush it on which allows a little more precise application and when it soaks in it's completely gone and my cuticles look great!” a happy tester wrote. “Never tried anything that works so fast.”
This vegan, cruelty-free oil will save your weak, thin, and peeling nails with a pro blend of safflower oil and vitamin E. If you prefer a non-toxic product, this one is 7-free, meaning it’s made without Toluene, DBP, Formaldehyde, camphor, xylene, TPHP, and formaldehyde resin.