Cuticle Oil

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Cuticle oil is an oil product that is used to moisturize the strengthen the nails and the cuticles ( the small region of thickened skin at the base of a nail ). Cuticle oils are oil based formulations which are used at the end of a manicure session. However, one can easily make a variety of nail oils at home by combing natural ingredients like common oils, essential oils and butters. They help to deal with numerous common nail problems like cracked nails, excess cuticle, dryness, fungal infections and even ingrown nail.



What is Cuticle Oil ?

Although this oil is named cuticle oil, it is helpful for overall nail care. The main task of a cuticle oil is to moisturize the nail and keep it soft. Many times we find that our nails become hard, brittle and unmanageable. In that case, it is not easy to cut them, or apply nail polish. Brittle and weak nails may also pose problems like working and even lead to scratches on skin just simply by touching. Cuticle oil is made from select natural oils which are powerful emollients ( moisturizers ). Since there are lot of such oils, one can use them in various combinations for different purposes.

How to make cuticle oil at home ?

One can quickly formulate a cuticle oil recipe at home with these ingredients. These are some oils that have therapeutic effects on the skin and have certain health benefits for the nails.

  • Sesame Oil – It is a wonderful moistruizer for the nails and the nail bed.
  • Lemon juice – It makes the nail bed soft and thus helps alleviate ingrown toenail.
  • Avocado oil – Light oil which does not make the nails and cuticle too oily.
  • Cocoa butter or Shea Butter – excellent moisturizers. They soothe irritated and inflamed skin. If your skin around the nails has cracked, or there is some pain, these butters are quite soothing.
  • Aloe Vera gel – it relieves inflammation brilliantly. Great to reduce swelling and reddish, inflamed skin around the nails.
  • Wheat germ oil – High in Vitamin E. This oil protects the delicate skin around the nails from free radical damage.
  • Olive oil, Coconut oil or Beeswax – Excellent base for a cuticle oil.
  • Jojoba oil – preferred for a less oily cuticle oil.
  • Tea tree oil – a few drops prevent fungal infections, like toenail fungus and even cure it.

Besides these common oils, essential oils provide even more support to the nails. They are only needed in very small amounts. The above oils act as carrier oil to provide the nutrients from essential oils to the skin. These are the essential oils which are good for the nails.



  • Lemon essential oil
  • Myrrh essential oil
  • Frankincense essential oil
  • Balsam fir oil
  • Wintergreen essential oil

The procedure to make a cuticle oil is simple. Just add small amounts of the base oils, like avocado oil, or olive oil in a small bottle. Add about 1 – 2 drops of essential oils of choice to about 5 ml of base oil. So, if you have base oil volume about 100 ml, then you can 20 drops of each essential oil.

Cuticle Oil
Cuticle Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

How to apply cuticle oil ?

The procedure to apply cuticle oil is simple. First make the nails ready for the application by soaking them in warm water for about 5 minutes. One can add a bit of lemon juice if the nail have become brittle.

  • Take cuticle oil on a cotton ball. Apply it on the nails, around the nail skin and near the cuticles. Gently massage the oil into the nail for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  • Wait for about 5 – 10 minutes for the oil nutrients to percolate into the skin.
  • Wipe off the nail with a cotton ball again. Try to remove excess cuticle skin using just the cotton ball.
cuticle oil in a cream base
cuticle oil in a cream base ( Photo credit : thecampbells )

If the excess cuticle skin is not getting removed by the cotton ball, you may need a cuticle pusher. Do not cut off the cuticle completely. This piece of skin is very important as it prevents the nail bed from infections.

Specific applications of Cuticle Oil

Besides improving the appearance of nails, cuticle oil is used for complete nail care.

  • Nail psoriasis – If there is psoriasis on the nail, prepare cuticle oil with coconut oil and aloe vera in it. At the end of the process, use witch hazel to cleanse the nails.
  • Weak nails – Use sulphur rich horsetail root to strengthen weak nails.
  • Painful nails – Use wintergreen essential oil or clove essential oil in a base oil to numb the pain.
  • Swollen nail and inflamed skin around the nails – Use aloe vera gel in a base of beeswax and olive oil.
  • Ridges and splitting – These common nail conditions disappear in a few days by regular treatment with a cuticle oil. If it doesn’t, then it may be a sign of vitamin deficiency or some internal condition.

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