Most nail professionals will agree that nail oil is the unsung hero of at home manicures and healthy nails. But which oil is the best oil for nail and cuticles has not such a straightforward answer: in fact the best oil for nails debate is quite strong. The truth is, there is no universal “best” cuticle oil, it really depends on what your requirements are. But whichever oil you choose, the most important thing is to apply nail oil regularly and correctly, in order for your nails to enjoy all its benefits. Here is my personal list of the best oil for nails with different needs.
Best Oil For Nails: Growth
Provided your nails get the right nutrients from your nails, nail growth is difficult to speed up. However, massaging a nail oil several times a day can help your cuticles and increase blood flow to your nail plate. This can speed nail growth a bit. In this sense, nails behave pretty much like hair, your genetics and diet do much more for nail growth speed than any oil or cream will do. Fingernails grow at about one-tenth of an inch per month, so if you were to lose a nail you’ll need about half a year to get it back to the free edge of your fingertip.
HOWEVER, the most important thing for nail grow is actually keeping that growth and avoiding splitting and breakage. And that is where the best oil for nails and cuticles can help significantly. Brittle, dry nails break too quickly to make that tenth of an inch per month noticeable.
Luckily, the the best oil for nails growth is easy to find, probably in your own kitchen.
- Olive oil is highly moisturising and is very rich in vitamin E which encourages strong nails. It also helps nails to grow faster, softens the cuticles and hydrates your nails making them more flexible and less likely to break.
- Sweet almond oil is very rich in natural antioxidans and Omega 6 and 9 fatty acids, vital for nail and skin health. Like olive oil, it’s also rich in vitamin E, A, B1, B2 and B6 which prevents nails peeling and cracking.
- A few drops of myrrh essential oil mixed with any of the above will help your cuticles healthy. Myrrh oil for nails also increases nail flexibility, which reduces the change of breakage.
Best Oil For Nails After Gel
Your nails may not be feeling their best after removing gel nails. In fact, if you have been picking or removed them incorrectly they can get pretty damaged and even painful due to over-filing. Even with the best care in the world, a measure of thinning and dryness is to be expected after removing gel or acrylic nails, particular if you have frequent back to back manicures.
The same can be expected after acrylic nail removal, which can be ever harsher. So the best oil for nails after acrylics would be the same as the best oil for nails after gel.
- Olive oil is again great to repair the damage from gel and acrylic nails. However, instead of just massaging it in you’ll need to give your nails the spa treatment. Heat up a bowl with olive oil very gently, until it’s just slightly warmer than your fingers. Then dip your fingertips on it for about 10 or 15 minutes, repeating once a day or as often as possible. This will also help the skin around your nails which is probably dry from the acetone.
- Peppermint oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, and will help your cuticles heal faster. It also smells great! Mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil for best results.
- Tea tree oil helps with irritated cuticles that seem inflamed and discolouration and damage caused by fungus or minor skin infections. A few drops massaged in every week will keep your nails healthy and growing fast.
- Carrot essential oil is strengthening and rich in beta carotene, vitamins A and E and pro-vitamin A. It will help restore moisture on dry, damaged nails.
However, if your nails have been ravaged after a gel manicure disaster, you may want to use a commercial oil mix with extra vitamins and minerals. While you can DIY almost anything, getting the right balance of 10 or 20 different oils and essential oils is usually not cost effective. Look for products with omega oils and Vitamin E and consider taking a biotin supplement to help your nails grow out the damage.
Best Oil for Dry Nails
Dry nails are often a genetic trait that leads to splitting nails, peeling and breakage. However, this is the kind of nail issue cuticle oils are best at fixing as the best oil for nails and cuticles are always very moisturising. In this particular case, the best oil for dry nails is jojoba oil used as a carrier, mixed with other nourishing essential oils such as apricot and carrot.
- Jojoba oil is light but deeply penetrating, which means it makes other essential oils more effective. It’s also rich in proteins and fatty acids, which improve the natural skin barrier and help your nails retail moisture better. It’s also rich in minerals and vitamins which means your nails will get all the nutrients they need.
- Frankincense Essential Oil has been used in skincare since ancient times, and besides encouraging nail growth it protects the cuticles from infection and dryness. If your nails are dry, a few drops of this oil mixed on a jojoba oil base applied several times a day will soon make a difference.
- Geranium Essential Oil is well known for its moisturising properties and can help fight off infections and prevent cuticle damage.
How To Apply DIY Nail And Cuticle Oils
Even the best oil for nails won’t have any effect unless you take applying it seriously and make it a part of your routine. Very much like hand cream, you should be applying cuticle oil little but often, particularly after getting your hands wet. But that means making it easy to apply is key.
If you are into DIY nail oils you should find suitable bottles to keep your mix from oxidising or going rancid in contact with air. Ideally you should prepare a small amount, enough to get through in a week, and store it in an opaque or dark glass bottle. But that makes applying a few drops or carrying it with you really annoying! I heard you. That’s why it’s worth investing in a couple of refillable nail pens.
Refillable nail pens allow you to apply oil to your nails and cuticles without making a mess, and they are small enough to keep on your bag and your office desk (or both). However, in order to avoid oily mishaps make sure to read reviews. You want to invest a bit extra on a pen that won’t leak and won’t break after refilling it a couple of times.
If you like bottles, there are also refillable nail polish bottles available with a brush that allows you to apply oil to your nails much like nail polish. While I don’t rate those for travelling (I fear for my bag if the bottle wasn’t closed properly) they are great to keep near the TV or even in your bathroom, so you remember to apply your oil often.
If your nails are very damaged and you want to give your nails and hands the hot oil treatment, invest in a bowl. It can be metal or plastic, but plastic can go into the microwave whereas metal can’t. Choose a bowl that is shallow and with a good base to avoid having to be careful with balancing it when your hands are oily, and keep it next to a towel you can use to clean your hands afterwards. Getting oil stains out of a sofa is no fun, so it pays to be a bit careful.
Which Is The Best Oil For Nails And Cuticles You Can Buy?
If you are not feeling like blending your own cuticle oil, there are many available options on the market. We rate the following as the best ones for overall nail health and growth.
CND Essentials Nail & Cuticle Oil, Solaroil
This oil uses Jojoba oil as a base, with Vitamin E, Rice bran oil and sweet almond oil doing the hard work of strengthening your nails while being quickly absorbed. It has a handy applicator cap, similar to your regular nail polish, so it’s easy to apply while you’re catching up on Netflix. And if the brand sounds familiar, is because CND is the brand that brought us Shellac, so they know what they are doing when talking about nail care!
This oil also uses jojoba but in wax ester form. It also blends olive oil, grape seed oil, vitamins A & E, and fragrance oils designed to hydrate and penetrate your cuticles, nails, and skin. While it does have a scent, it’s actually pretty pleasant and helps get that lovely nail spa feeling. But if you have sensitive skin that reacts badly to aromatic essential oils it’s better to choose a different one.
One of the reasons I really like this one (besides the price) is that it comes in pen form. This means you can carry it with you without fear of your bag becoming an oily mess, and that makes regular application easier. This oil is magic if you suffer from dry cuticles and hangouts, as it helps keep the skin around your nails healthy.
Regularly applying the best oil for nails and cuticles has plenty of benefits: it will help your nails grow faster and stronger, and keep them flexible so your manicure lasts longer. It’s also a great habit to get into to keep the skin around your nails from cracking and itching. No more hangouts or split nails for example. Even if it’s just a few drops of olive oil after washing your hands, it’s a habit worth keeping.