Cuticle Oil is an Important Factor of Skin and Nail Health, so Why Does No One Seem to Care About it?

As I have been trying out different product lines to determine which will best serve my salon’s target demographic, it has come to my attention that cuticle oil is an afterthought when it should be an important part of people’s daily regimen.

My clients seem to know how important it is to condition their hair and moisturize their body; they even know how important it is to drink so much water each day. So why do they forget to take care of their nails too?


What’s the Deal Here?


As Americans, our body care seems to be limited to decorating it, instead of looking at the long term care of it. We want to get skinny fast but without drooping skin that hasn’t shrunken back with it; we want certain hair colors or nail lengths that involve deeply damaging the structure of it without committing to the weeks of aftercare conditioning it back to it’s original strength.

I knew after researching about going from my red ombre to platinum hair 6 months ago that I would have to use purple colored shampoo, limit my flat ironing, deep mask my hair for over 20 minutes at a time with a keratin/conditioning complex, air dry my hair, ect to keep it’s length and structure. Unfortunately I left my hair coloring in the care of an inexperienced stylist in an expensive salon, so she over processed my hair to the point that after a few months of bleaching, my hair turned into straw.

It’s on the mend, but I had to learn the hard way that if your stylist does all that work to your hair and don’t soothe it back down with conditioning/rebuilding treatments before styling your hair, your hair will be decorated nice but lack the structure to be healthy while it’s decorated that way.

You can have the most beautifully suspended halo effect color on a set of nails, but if the skin around it is all dried/peeling/crusty and the nails themselves are no thicker than a sheet of paper, what is the point?

Fortunately there are multiple products available to help us condition our hands to have supple skin and luminous nailbeds. But which oils do what kinds of work on your nails and skin?

How Will Cuticle Oils Help you Achieve your Nail Goals?


Different oils do different things for your skin. Knowing what different types of oil do what will help you with your home regimen to hep your skin and nails get what they need externally to look and feel better over time, even if you have enhancements done to them. They shouldn’t clog up your pores or cause breakouts; they should absorb into your skin and help it naturally lubricate itself. Our naturally made oils is called sebum, and these oils are plant derived close structural matches to sebum.
I would like to note that if your nail enhancements have been applied correctly, they shouldn’t lift off of your nails from applying oils to your skin. They should be bonded to your nail plate and not be bothered by you moisturizing your skin. If it does lift, then the product was not sealed right onto your nailplate.

Also if you’re concerned about product “getting into your bloodstream” and all that garbage, take heart in knowing that unless it is a prescription level product, it will not have the ingredients capable of getting into your hypodermis layer. *lulz, thx science* Skin absorbency article from

Your nails are made up of like 50 layers of super thin stacks of hair piled on top of each other, and your skin is layers of cells piled on top of each other.

Think of a time when you’ve had to wash your hair but for whatever reason, you couldn’t condition it that day.

Remember how jacked up your hair was after that? 

So imagine that, on a microscope level on your hands. only you shampoo your hands multiple times a day, maybe even hundreds of times a day, and never condition them. That’s why they split, break, and peel; why your nail beds are dull, the skin around your fingers get hangnails, and your hands look older than the rest of you. Add things like hand sanitizers which are basically gel formed alcohols and no wonder our hands look so tore up!

It only takes a couple drops to moisturize your hands to get them conditioned enough to be supple and in good shape. Over time your hands can become less wrinkled looking and you won’t have to use so much exfoliation to make them feel soft. The oil you use shouldn’t make you feel greasy or clog up your pores. I like “less is more” type products, so two or three drops per hand is what I like to apply, instead of waiting for it to absorb in. So what kind of oil would work for you? What kinds are usually used in cuticle oils anyway?


What are Cuticle Oils made of, and Why Should I Care?

There are three parts to cuticle oils: Carrier or Base oils, then Nourishing or Exotic oils, then Essential oils can be in there too. These make up the majority of your cuticle oil mixture.


Carrier oils are oils that help other oils slide over the skins surface, like how oils or water help paint pigments glide along a paper’s surface. The cheapest one seems to be Sweet Almond Oil, and I’ve met some people that get skin irritation from it, or find it to be greasy and lays on the skin surface too much. I like jojoba oil for it’s low irritant factor, it’s a plant found in North America, it’s made from the wax of the jojoba plant seed too, so nut irritation is incredibly low occurring. Here is an article on the different types of oil used in massage to help you figure out what one will work best for you: carrier oil article.


I know “cold pressed” is a thing for oils, but having things cold pressed also increases the chances of products having insect parts or pollen in the oil, so I go for refined oils. Again, I’m not in the lifestyle circles where I’m trying to use this stuff as medicine *lulz*.

Usually these are the oils used as carrier oils in products:

  • Argan oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Apricot kernel oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Hemp seed oil


Next there are Exotic or Nourishing oils, which you use less of and they work a little bit deeper. The claims on what these oils do vary wildly, especially in the crunchy granola lifestyle circles.

I just go for ones that are not irritating to most people, don’t stink, and are easy to find online or in a store if I run out at my salon. Most people will not look too deep into it, but since I am catering to people with skin sensitivities in my salon, then there’s a good chance people will want to know more about the ingredients I use.

I have tried different ones and have narrowed it down to Sea Buckthorn Seed oil (it’s the one that DOESN’T STINK, regular Sea Buckthorn oils SMELLLLLLSSS) and Rosehip Seed Oil. The bottles run about $10 each, but one little bottle of each into a gallon of golden jojoba oil works great. I was grossed out to learn that Emu oil is from a bird that’s related to an Ostrich – no thank you!

These are typical Exotic oils you will find in a bottle of stuff:

  • Tamanu oil
  • Sea buckthorn oil
  • Rosehip seed oil
  • Carrot seed oil
  • Borage oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Neem oil
  • Emu oil
  • Vitamin E oil (usually made from Soy)


Almost every website I have looked at said they put in essential oils into their mixes too, but there are so many bad combos and so many ways skin can be irritated from them that I just omit it. I’m not doing a rain dance on people’s hands; I just want their skin to feel good even after they took a shower the next day without feeling like they sat in a tub of lard.

These are common essential oils, which even thinking about them made me want to sneeze. Definitely not for skin or scent irritated clients:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint 
  • Chamomile 
  • Rose
  • Rose geranium 
  • Palmarosa
  • Lemongrass
  • Rosemary

In my reviews of cuticle oils later on, I’ll be listing what the oils are supposed to be doing so you can make an informed choice on what oil to look for at the salon you visit, or for what line technicians would like to carry at their shop. I looked online for a while for information on cuticle oils, but didn’t see much explanations as to why and how ingredients were used for them. I don’t like things touching me unless I understand how and why they work (hey, you blow up with skin irritations to the point where your fingers turn purple after 10 minutes from a P.A. giving you shit they should not have, you start becoming a control freak with what touches you). Hopefully this post has helped you understand what you have on hand and what it does a little better. Once we get into more cuticle oils, we’ll be able to determine if we should make our own stuff or buy an existing product.

In the meantime, you can buy something like Bliss Kiss’s cuticle oil in a pen to stash in your bag. I usually apply mine at traffic lights, or if I have to wait somewhere like for a hair appointment or in line at the bank. I’m thinking I might make pens like this for my own clients when my salon opens, particularly for my nail biting clients to keep their snags at bay.