What is cuticle oil and what does it do?

What is cuticle oil and what does it do?

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What is a cuticle?

The cuticle is located where the nail grows from your skin. It is clear skin that is there to protect new nails when growing out. 

Your cuticle is there to protect your nail matrix from bacteria and help prevent any infections

Where is the cuticle located
nail matrix

What does cuticle oil do and its benefits?

Cuticle oil is used to hydrate and moisturize your nails. Giving it a healthy and more natural shine, using cuticle oil after painting your nails will also allow the polish to last longer and have a nice shine to it.

Using cuticle oil on a regular basis improves blood circulation around your nails. This helps with nail growth, giving you stronger, thinker, and faster-growing nails.

How do you know when your cuticles are dry.

The cuticle will start to crack and peel from your nail. It can also start to itch and hurt if left untreated. Dry cuticles can form hangnails that a lot of people tend to pull resulting in painful tearing of the skin. You should be very careful when your cuticles are dry or damaged because they protect your nail matrix from bacteria and infections. 

Example of dried cuticles

How damaged cuticles look.

Table of Contents

How often should you use cuticle oil

Cuticle oil can be used as often as you feel is needed, but when using I recommend only 1 drop per nail, a little goes a long way. If you use cuticle oil regularly you should rather invest in an all-natural cuticle oil that doesn’t contain any sort of perfume or artificial ingredients that can irritate the skin after prolonged use.

Ingredients that you should look out for:

  • Perfume
  • Sulfates
  • Parabens

and any other harmful ingredients or allergens.

You can rather look for a cuticle oil that uses natural scents, like essential oils, or just use an unscented oil. 
how to apply cuticle oil

Can you put cuticle oil on toenails?

Yes, you can put cuticle oils on your toenails just as you would on your fingernails. 

Here are some posts I did on taking care of your feet that you can go and read here.

Does cuticle oil strengthen nails?

No, it doesn’t strengthen your nails that have already grown out, but it does hydrate them so they are a bit healthier and look a lot better. It can however help the new nails grow out stronger and faster. So in the long run it will help your nails to be stronger and more healthy overall. 

What can cause your cuticles to dry up and treatments

A multitude of factors can cause your cuticles to dry up. Some of the factors include but are not limited to :



Cleaning agents and chemicals 

Use rubber gloves when cleaning, even minor chemicals, like dishwashing liquids can dry out and damage your skin and nails.

Washing your hands or sanitizing too often

Try doing it less. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but try to avoid unnecessary washing as water is known for drying out our skin.


Seek medical attention. 

Vitamin or mineral deficiency 

You won’t be able to find out what deficiency you have (if any) from a blog post, but it can help. I recommend getting tested to see if you have any deficiencies. Here is a list of what your nails need. 


All medications tend to always have some sort of side effect. So if you use medication read up or ask your doctor about the side effects of your specific medication.

Nail picking or biting especially at your cuticle area

This is more damaging to your cuticles rather than drying them out, but it is still a problem that should be addressed. How to stop biting or picking your nails

Working with your hands

Physical labor or if you do gardening a lot. Try to use quality gloves that are designed for what you are doing.

Using nail products often

Using nail products such as nail polish remover a lot can cause your cuticles to become dry and crack. If you feel your nails are starting to dry up, rather take a break from getting your nails done. For 1-3 months 

What ingredients does cuticle oil have

There are a ton of different cuticle oils you can get. Most natural cuticle oils have similar ingredients or components that have the same healing effect on your skin.

The most common ingredients for cuticle oils are 

  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Custer oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Clove oil
  • Extra oils vitamin E
  • Essential oils for smell
  • Perfumes

Not all oils have each of these ingredients, but rather have a mixture of them.

What is a good substitute for cuticle oil?

The oils mentioned are all are good enough for a substitute. They will all give the desired result, but it won’t all have a pleasant smell or come in a convenient to apply bottle. Rather just go for an all-natural cuticle oil that will smell nice and be easy to apply.

  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Castor oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Olive oil

Overgrown cuticles? Treatments and Causes



Poor maintenance 

Soak in warm water and push back softly with a cuticle pusher. You can mix a bit of vitamin E oil to help soften the cuticle.

Thick cuticles

Same as poor maintenance. Cuticles that are neglected can become thick and overgrown. They will move further up onto your nails and will attack the nail plate. It can sometimes be a struggle to push back cuticles like that, that’s why it’s better to soak the nails in lukewarm water for a couple of minutes to soften the skin and prevent you from hurting yourself or others when pushing the cuticles back.

Overgrown cuticle

Same. You can use a bit of cuticle remover, but not very often as overuse of cuticle remover is not healthy and can have damaging effects on your cuticles over time. Also,  do not cut your cuticles, because it is there to protect your nail matrix (the root of your nail) from bacteria. cutting your cuticles can also cause an infection.

Is cuticle oil safe for skin?

Yes, it should be safe for your skin but it is always good to check the ingredients of new products before using them. If there is any redness or allergic reaction you should stop using it immediately.

Different cuticles oils you can buy

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