Do You Really Need To Be Using Cuticle Oil Every Day? TBH, Probably

Unless you do your own manicures regularly (congratulations, by the way, not many people can commit to doing that), you probably don't pay much attention to nail care. And cuticle care? Much less so. If you're like most people, you tend to delegate anything talon-related to the nail tech you congregate with on a biweekly basis, which is fine for the most part, because nails are low maintenance, anyway.


But just like the rest of your body, nails need plenty of TLC too. Your cuticles, especially, demand extra attention, since they're responsible for protecting new nails and making sure that they don't incur infection. "Together they form the barrier that stops bacteria entering the body and causing infection, so properly cared for cuticles are essential for good nail health," U.K.-based manicurist Alyx Lippiatt explained to The Zoe Report. And because cuticles are composed of a thin layer of dead skin, they're more fragile, and therefore extra susceptible to dryness, or worse, damage.

The good news is they're rather easy to care for. All you need, really, is cuticle oil. While there are cuticle oil alternatives available out there, the ones specially formulated for your cuticles are ideal for keeping them soft and hydrated. And yes, before you even ask, cuticle oil needs to be applied daily, just as you also put moisturizer on your face day in and day out.


When it comes to cuticle oil, more is more

Cuticle oil is the magical elixir that is crucial to maintaining nail health. Seasoned nail designer Lidia Badiu shared with 21Ninety that cuticle oil is a concoction made of "essential oils, vitamins, and minerals that nourish and moisturize the cuticle area." And apparently, there's virtually no saturation point for it, according to Paintbox Nail Studios Chief Educator Evelyn Lim. Twice a day is ideal, but you are also encouraged to reapply as much as you wish. Lim told Good Housekeeping, "Some of cuticle oil's benefits include building strong and flexible nails, promoting nail growth, and helping with the longevity of a manicure."


Celebrity manicurist Michelle Saunders confirmed this, telling Byrdie that cuticle oil is best applied after you clean your hands to ensure that there are no bacteria lurking around your cuticle area. "It's ideally applied to each cuticle on each finger and rubbed in, and is recommended after each hand washing but could also be applied as often as you like," she said. Just be sure not to wash or sanitize your hands immediately afterward as it takes some time for your cuticles to absorb the product.

A note on cuticle care

Yup, you've guessed it. Cuticle care doesn't begin and end in cuticle oil application, of course. You also have to a) quit picking at it, and b) stop asking your manicurist to remove it.

"Removing the living cuticle will cause it to grow back thicker and harder, as our bodies naturally replace cut skin with callus-like skin to heal," expert nail artist Jin Soon Choi explained to InStyle, adding that if you really think that it's a nuisance, there's another way to "clean" them. "Push back the cuticle thoroughly and just snip the noticeable hanging or dead skin only — not the cuticle itself," she suggested. "If you do a good job of pushing the cuticle back thoroughly, you shouldn't have to cut the cuticle very much at all."


Oh, and don't forget your hands when you're applying sunscreen all over your body. Celebrity Elle Gerstein noted to Prevention that eponychium, the layer of skin at the base of your nails that produces your cuticles, is just as vulnerable to a bad sunburn as any other part of your body. So in cuticle care, remember to moisturize, push back, protect, and repeat — ad infinitum.