No matter the season, it feels like my hands are always chapped. Despite slathering them in lotions, butters, and balms, if the air starts to dry out even a little, my hands take a beating—especially my nails. That’s why I always have a list of the best essential oils for nails at the ready.
This DIY cuticle oil blend works wonders on dry skin of all types, but it’s especially effective when it comes to soothing cracked, peeling cuticles and other sensitive spots. Store it in a refillable cosmetic pen or glass roller bottle so you can easily stash it in your purse, bedside table, or kitchen cabinet, and apply on the go.
Or if you’d like to whip up your own concoction, keep reading for a list of the best essential oils for nails and cuticles.
The Best Oils for Nails and Cuticles
Both carrier and essential oils are great for strengthening nails and healing cracked cuticles. Carrier oils like grape seed and carrot seed are hydrating, while vitamin E oil is strengthening and jojoba is nourishing. As for essential oils, things like tea tree and cypress are antibacterial while lavender and chamomile is soothing.
Remember, essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin. They are best when diluted into a carrier oil, making up a small proportion of the total application.
Best Carrier Oils for Nails
Vitamin E oil has long been used to help strengthen brittle nails and hydrate chapped skin. It has been shown to improve the tissues involved in blood circulation with its anti-inflammatory effects [source], which could be important also for nail growth and healing.
I once heard that jojoba oil is, when compared to other carrier oils, the most similar to our skin’s natural sebum. Whether or not that’s true, jojoba oil does contain a plethora of long-chain alcohols and fatty acids that have been shown to nourish skin. In addition, jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties that may help improve a variety of skin conditions, such as infections, premature aging and wound healing [source].
Carrot Seed Oil
Carrot seed oil is one of my favorite oils, not just for nails but for skin, in general. It’s rich in beta carotene and fatty acids [source], vitamins A and E, and pro-vitamin A. It’s great at restoring moisture that dry, cracked skin so desperately needs.
Grapeseed is another one of my favorite oils for nails. It’s rich in vitamins C, D, and E, and it contains a plethora of fatty acids and polyphenols [source], which may help reduce the appearance of aging. Plus, it’s inexpensive and odorless, making it the perfect carrier oil.
So now, let’s go over the particular essential oils that just happen to be our favorites for nails and cuticles.
Best Essential Oils for Nails
Lemon oil has antioxidant properties [source] that are beneficial for supporting skin and nail health.
Thanks to its antibacterial and healing properties, lavender oil makes for one of the best essential oils for nails and cuticles. In one study done on rats, applying lavender essential oil to wounds encouraged wound healing by accelerating tissue formation and boosting collagen production [source].
Cypress oil helps to prevent some bacterial infections [source] and is believed to help soothe inflammation. By keeping bacteria at bay, applying it directly to cracked cuticles will likely help them heal more quickly.
Myrrh has long been used to heal skin ailments such as sores, acne, and rashes. Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties [source], myrrh is great for dry, chapped, or injured skin [source].
Frankincense has a long of history of topical use thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties [source]. When shopping for frankincense oil, make sure to get the highest quality you can afford in order to reap the most skin-healing benefits.
Thanks to its regenerative and antioxidant properties [source], Helichrysum has a number of beneficial uses, including the treatment of burns, cuts, acne, wounds and bruises. Not only does it boast anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties [source], but it’s also considered beneficial for scars.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties [source]. This makes it a valuable addition to homemade salves, ointments and lotions for healing cuts and scrapes.
DIY Cuticle Oil Blend
A cuticle oil is simply a mixture of oils specifically chosen to hydrate and heal the skin around the nails as well as the nail bed itself.
A good cuticle oil blend should contain a healthy mix of different essential oils so you can reap all the benefits they have to offer. While you don’t have to use all of the same oils I do (two or three should work just fine), a well-rounded mix helps to cover all your bases and heal your cuticles as quickly as possible.
Don’t be afraid to mix up the oils in the recipe to suit your needs. If it’s easier, feel free to use just a carrier oil or a carrier oil mixed with one or two essential oils. Our recipe doesn’t use all of the essential oils for nails I mentioned above because you don’t need that many oils in order to see results. But you’re welcome to choose from any of the aforementioned oils to make your own cuticle oil blend.
For safety, just make sure to use the same ratio of essential oil to carrier oil (ie. 15 drops of essential oil per 1/4 cup carrier oil). That will keep the concentration of essential oil from getting too high and possibly causing a skin reaction. And note that, even though they are from nature, essential oils are in an extremely concentrated form. For this reason, most oils need to be diluted before using on the skin.
How to Use Cuticle Oil
While it’s not rocket science, there are a few steps you can take to help your nails and cuticles heal more quickly.
Start by washing and drying your hands.
Using a nail pen or roller bottle, apply a light layer of oil directly to each fingernail and cuticle.
Gently massage the oil into both the nails and the surrounding skin.
Repeat every time you wash your hands to prevent cuticles from drying out in the future, or anytime your cuticles look dry.
If your nails are especially brittle, apply cuticle oil before bed and let it sink in overnight. Re-apply in the morning when you wake up.
Healing Cuticle Oil Blend
Strengthen your nails and heal dry cuticles with a refillable cuticle oil pen.
Yield: 6 pens
Your oil will stay fresh longer if you use amber bottles, but it isn’t necessary. Just store your cuticle oil in a cool, dark place and keep it away from direct sunlight.
This blend would also make a great sugar scrub or hair mask, so feel free to make extra and use it later.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Holly Smith, a board certified physician in nephrology and internal medicine with a background in nutrition. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.