September 14th 2017
In order to look like you've just had a salon manicure 24/7, healthy cuticles are an essential. If your nail beds are looking anything but soft and supple, fret not - we've rolled up our sleeves and given our cuticles some serious TLC in the name of research to find the best oils and treatments in the beauty biz so you don't have to.
Here are our honest reviews of the nail oils and treatments and whether they really work...
The promise: "Mavala Cuticle Oil maintains the suppleness of the cuticles and softens the skin around the nail enabling it to be rolled gently back."
We give it: 10/10
Review: “This product was effective, easy to use and without any post-application greasiness - I am definitely a fan. In the past, I’ve been quite reluctant to splurge on something outside of a good hand cream, but after seeing the difference in the look of my nails after using it, I have to say that I’m now convinced it’s worth the investment.
"As recommended, I brushed it onto the contours of my nails and massaged it in with a firm rotating motion towards the heart. The skin around them was left feeling well nourished, soft and supple which was a nice contrast to the rather embarrassingly peeling and flakiness that I started off with. I massaged it into my actual nails too which certainly helped them look healthier and generally more well-groomed as a result - a great way to soften up and prepare cuticles before you embark upon the process of removing them."
The promise: "Repeated use drives nutrients in deeper, creating stronger, healthier nails and hydrated cuticle area."
We give it: 9.5/10
Review: “If you’re a marzipan fan, you’ll probably want to eat this. I don’t recommend ingesting, but dry cuticles and ragged nails will drink it up in no time. It’s an award-winner and manicurist’s staple and it’s not hard to see why - it absorbs quickly and makes a noticeable difference to both the condition and appearance of nails in a flash. Jojoba, Vitamin E and sweet almond oil provide almost instant nourishment and used everyday this product would keep hands looking healthier and younger, especially throughout the winter months. The only negative is that it flooded my nails/ bedside table a bit - a pen would deliver a more precise shot of moisture.”
The promise: "A double action, vitamin rich nail reviver, it moisturises dry cuticles and adds lustre to nails."
We give it: 8/10
Review: “I have to confess cuticle oils are something that I don’t really know much about. Generally my nail care only includes a slick of polish so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. With key ingredients of jojoba oil and vitamins A and E Leighton Denny’s cuticle oil has a dual purpose - it acts to provide instant moisture to dried out nails making them look and feel softer whilst also helping wet polish dry faster. So I applied a drop to each nail and gently massaged into the nails and cuticles and then proceeded to apply a slick over fresh polish. I have to say it did exactly what it said on the tin (bottle). After a drying period of around five minutes my cuticles were instantly smoother and healthier looking and had a natural lustre to them. What’s more my nails were completely dry within about six minutes (smudge and fingerprint free) which is virtually unheard of for me and has to be the saviour to one of the biggest beauty banes of my life!
"However, I really didn’t like the smell of this oil as it had an overwhelmingly strong artificial lemon scent similar to that of a bathroom cleaner which is not something I particularly want to smell on my hands. Overall, it did have a really impressive finish on my usually unkempt fingernails and is a great product for the upcoming winter months when we are all in need of a little hydration - you just might prefer to find one that is a little fresher for your fingertips!”
The promise: "Natural oils provide nourishing moisture for smoother, softer, more supple feeling cuticles. Refreshes and revitalizes the look of your hands instantly."
We give it: 8/10
Feedback: “I’m the first in line for a mani or pedi so any new product I can add into my at-home routine is always a bonus. I’ve never thought I needed anything more for my nails other than an array of colours but this is one of those products that really makes a difference. It is highly nourishing and hydrating and quickly absorbs so as not to leave a greasy residue after massaging the oil into the cuticles. It definitely left my nails looking a lot smoother and feeling softer and healthier and is super easy to apply - being in a nail varnish bottle with a brush to sweep across the nail. As suggested by its name, it has a fruity smell to it, which is pleasant enough; it just reminded me a lot of those nail polish remover wipes which was slightly off-putting!”
We give it: 9/10
Review: “Dr LeWinn’s nail products are some of the best in my opinion - their nail strengthener is the only thing that keeps my nails from flaking so I had high hopes for the oil. Packed with nourishing olive oil, vitamin E, sweet almond oil and jojoba seed oil, this works quickly and effectively to soothe any soreness and immediately helped to soften hard skin around my nails which had reared its head in this chilly weather. It left my fingertips slightly greasy afterwards but my skin felt soft and the scent was pleasant; a slightly zingy tea tree aroma which is unsurprising given it’s one of the ingredients. Instant results and a brand I trust - I’m hooked.”
The promise: "Revitalise your nails with Red Carpet Manicure Revitalize Nourishing Cuticle Oil."
We give it: 7/10
Review: “After just a few applications of this oil I can already see the difference. My cuticles look less dry and damaged (I really don’t look after them very well) and feel much softer. Even though it’s an oil it isn’t greasy or messy to apply, and has a lovely scent so I don’t feel bad using it at my desk throughout the day.”
The promise: "Protect against breakage and transform damaged nails with the award-winning Neem Nail and Cuticle Oil from Dr Hauschka."
We give it: 6/10
Review: “My cuticles are in a bit of a state so this was perfect timing. I like Dr Hauschka as a brand but I was a little underwhelmed with this. There is no mess as the pen releases the right amount of oil so you don't have to deal with greasy mitts, and the pen tip is cleverly shaped to push your cuticles down. However it didn't really make much difference to my nails right away - I’d have to keep reapplying often for it to affect the condition of my cuticles. The pen handily comes with spare tips but I really struggled (couldn't) remove the tip to replace it which is a shame!”
The promise: "This fast penetrative formula adds flexibility to nails which are prone to breaks and stimulates healthy nail growth."
We give it: 5/10
Review: “As a bit of a nail polish addict I'm a big fan of Rococo as a brand - its colours are always interesting, they stay chip-free for a decent amount of time and they come in really pretty, gift-like packaging. This cuticle oil came in the same beautiful box but sadly it was all style and no substance for me. The brush seemed quite hard compared to other oils I've used (which is odd given it's sitting in oil!) and so applying it is less enjoyable than it should be; my cuticles are already a mess, I don't want to scratch them too. The oil did work to soften the dry skin around my nail bed and the cuticle area but I didn't feel like it really sank in, so I had to reapply quite often especially as I was wearing nail polish. This doesn't bother me, but the overwhelming marzipan-like smell did - great if you love the stuff but for me it's an instant turn off. That said, it stopped me biting my nails… maybe that's the beauty of it.”
The promise: "An easy-to-use pen filled with a kukui oil-based formula designed to nourish the nails and soften the cuticles."
We give it: 8/10
Review: "A cuticle oil is not something I would ever purchase, although the skin around my nails would tell you that it very much is something I should be investing in. Luckily for those ten little pinkies, I have spent the last week painting my cuticles with Kiko’s super easy to use oil pen and they have never looked better.
"The oil doesn’t feel like is it the most premium on the market, but that doesn’t really matter as it certainly does the job and not only is it so appealingly easy to use (I can paint my nails anywhere, any time without a fuss) the oil doesn’t run or leave any mess around the finger tips.
"If you are lazy with your cuticle care and don’t want a make a fuss, then this is a neat little gem to keep at your desk and apply during those moments of ‘strategic’ reflection."
The promise: “Containing sweet almond oil. This two-in-one pen softens cuticles, while treating dry, brittle nails.”
We give it: 8/10
Review: “I have never bothered with a cuticle oil. Mainly because they are a pain to remember and just another layer to add when doing your nails. I'm also pretty impatient at waiting for things to dry because I often end up rushing around with no time! I was in fact pleasantly surprised with this Almond Nail and Cuticle Oil from The Body Shop, mainly because it was incredibly easy to use as it's designed to be a pen so a simple click and sweep across the cuticles and you are done. It also includes a rubber tip on the lid to gently push your cuticles back too. The texture is quite thick, but distributes well and takes minutes to dry - so perfect for a speedy nourish. I have it on my desk at the moment so I've been using it a few times a week. Containing sweet almond oil as well as organic olive oil and vitamin E, it’s very soothing and helps to moisturise and smooth out those rough and dry areas. I'm not sure how much it's really improved the quality of my cuticles but they definitely feel more moisturised and softened.”
The promise: “Nourish and hydrate cuticles and nails with this rich blend of argan oil, jojoba oil and vitamin E.”
We give it: 7/10
Review: “A blob of this on a grey day and you’re transported to the Amalfi coast; close your eyes and this stuff could be limoncello. The fragrance is a nice change from the usual marzipan aroma associated with cuticle oils, and it’s a great mid-afternoon refresher at your desk. The drops themselves are dispensed via a neat, petite pipette, so for an oil there’s not too much mess on application. The texture of the drops is thinner than I’d expect for a cuticle oil, and didn’t feel quite as nourishing as my usual go-to, but on the plus side it absorbs very quickly and doesn’t leave a trail over your keyboard/ phone/ lover. If you like something lighter than the average oil that allows you can get on with your day, this will likely be right up your street, but if you crave something thick and luxe, it might be a bit tad lightweight.”
The promise: "A nourishing dry oil for stronger nails and softer cuticles."
We give it: 9/10
Review: "A cuticle oil is not really on my list of priorities. When there’s spot cream, eye cream, self tan, moisturiser and makeup to apply, I can’t really bear the thought of having to add some other unction to my beauty to-do list. However, I might just have to make time in my life for this. Containing 30% shea oil, this lovely product comes in a little tube with a swishy brush on the end, allowing you to paint the oil onto your cuticles in an easy and satisfying way. A few minutes after just one application, the skin around my nails went from looking dull and craggy to soft and smooth with no greasy residue. I haven’t used it for long enough to say whether it is strengthening my nails, but the way it sinks straight in makes me think my nails are happy at long last have some nourishment in their life."
The promise: "A delicately scented oil that softens skin without leaving a greasy residue."
We give it: 10/10
Review: “As something of a nail polish addict, I know cuticle oil is important - especially as I suffer with dry, sensitive skin in the winter - but as with most things that are good for me, I’m terrible at keeping up the good habit and tend to use it as a cure for sore skin rather than a preventative treatment as it’s intended. However, I think part of the lack of habit is that they’re not always that pleasant; I’ve had some that stink of aniseed and others that leave my hands covered in grease, but this Cowshed version is a far more chic alternative. A delicious apricot-based oil, it smells sweet and luxurious without being overpowering (and I had no issues with my sensitive skin, either). I instantly noticed a difference in how my nails looked - with the colder weather and lazy maintenance my cuticles were dry and flaky but this soothed them back into better condition and made my nail bed look neat and tidy as if I’d just had a professional mani, with no grease in sight. What more could you want?”
September 14th 2017