The 11 Best Cuticle Oils of 2024 for Ultra-Nourished Nails, Tested by Real People

We love Sally Hansen's Treatment Cuticle Rehab for its strengthening and conditioning effects and affordable price tag The cuticles (and skin around the nail bed) are susceptible to dryness which can lead to hang nails — that's why nail experts recommend using cuticle oil

Published Time: 09.05.2024 - 00:31:06 Modified Time: 09.05.2024 - 00:31:06

We love Sally Hansen's Treatment Cuticle Rehab for its strengthening and conditioning effects and affordable price tag

The cuticles (and skin around the nail bed) are susceptible to dryness which can lead to hang nails — that's why nail experts recommend using cuticle oil.

Whether you wear natural nails or go for enhancements like gels and acrylics, Elle Gerstein, a celebrity nail artist who has worked with Blake Lively, Mariah Carey, and Kelly Ripa, says cuticle oil is a key component of nail care.

“It helps maintain the strength of the nail while delivering hydration which promotes flexibility,” she tells PEOPLE. “Your nails are like a sponge — when they’re dry, they crack."

To help narrow your search, we researched and tested dozens of formulas to find the best cuticle oils worth buying. 

This Sally Hansen cuticle oil is formulated with healing vitamin E as well as rose and jasmine extracts, which work together to strengthen the nails and provide a deep conditioning effect. Our nails were very brittle, dry, and prone to peeling at the beginning of the testing period, but with regular use, this oil reduced breakage and reversed signs of brittleness.

Additionally, we noticed it also helped pesky dry skin and flaking around the nail beds, improving the overall appearance of the manicure. A little bit goes a long way with this cuticle oil, which only adds to its already great value. The only downside is that it takes longer to absorb than other cuticle oils we tested — which is about five minutes.

Size: 0.29 ounces | Star Ingredients: Jasmine extracts, rose extracts, vitamin E | Usage: Brush-on and rub in

If you want a cuticle oil that is a little more on the luxe side of the spectrum, this L'Occitane option features a potent mix of oils, including shea oil, apricot oil, and sweet almond oil, which work together to target dehydrated skin with an intense conditioning effect.

When testing this product, we were immediately impressed with the applicator brush, which made applying the formula to our nail beds super easy and made it possible to not waste any product (which we appreciated, considering this isn’t the cheapest cuticle oil on our list). The formula has a very gentle ingredient makeup and is safe enough for sensitive skin — including eczema. 

Size: 0.25 ounces | Star Ingredients: Shea oil, apricot oil, sweet almond oil | Usage: Brush-on

This cheap drugstore formula is comparable to its luxe counterparts, thanks to its deeply nourishing formula that includes vitamin E, apricot kernel, and aloe. You can easily control product output, since it comes in a nail polish-like bottle; just brush excess oil on the sides for a more precise application. With regular use, our nails and cuticles were not only hydrated, but the brittleness was nearly gone by the end of the testing period. The product does have a strong scent, though, which some might not enjoy.

Size: 0.45 ounces | Star Ingredients: Vitamin E, apricot kernel, aloe | Usage: Brush-on and massage

While all of the cuticle oils on our list are hydrating, the Cuccio Milk and Honey Revitalizing Oil is our top pick because it is formulated with a blend of nourishing ingredients, including vitamin E and sunflower oil, that are powerful enough to treat thick, stubborn, and dehydrated cuticles.

In addition to providing effective hydration, we also love the texture. Despite oils in the formula, it has a drier finish, so you don’t have to worry about making a mess. It does comes out of the dropper rather quickly, which took some practice before mastering.

Size: 2.5, 0.5, and 8 ounces | Star Ingredients: Vitamin E, sunflower oil | Usage: Drop onto nail beds and massage

This OPI choixe targets both the nails and the nail bed with a rich concoction of oils. Formulated with grape seed, sesame, kukui, sunflower, and cupuaçu oils, it can actually reverse signs of brittleness and also strengthen nails, in addition to protecting against dehydration.

During testing, it worked effectively at hydrating and strengthening nails, but we also noticed a significant change in the overall health of nail beds. It doesn’t absorb as well as some other options on our list; however, that is to be expected with a richer formula.

Size: 0.29, 0.5, and 0.95 ounces | Star Ingredients: Grape seed, sesame, kukui, sunflower, and cupuaçu oils | Usage: Drop onto nail beds and massage

Our tester removed her nail extensions to get the full experience before testing the Olive and June cuticle serum duo, in hopes that it would effectively revive her damage-prone nail beds (spoiler alert: it did!).

We are most impressed by how well it strengthened our tester's nail beds, resulting in noticeable growth over time. The applicator brush was so easy to use, though we didn’t love the twist-up design — the oil was slow coming to the surface. 

Size: 0.14 ounces | Star Ingredients: Avocado, apricot kernel, jojoba seed, and sunflower seed oil | Usage: Twist the pen, then dab onto cuticles and massage

When it comes to cuticle oils, nail experts agree that essential oil is, well, essential to providing nourishment and promoting long and strong nails. The Rose Oil from Tenoverten is formulated with 100 percent natural ingredients that boast the power to strengthen nail beds, support growth, and protect and heal the skin around the nails for less flaky and dehydrated skin. After using this cuticle oil regularly, we found that our nails looked significantly healthier than before we added it to our routine. Our only qualm is we wish it came with a brush for easi -

er application.

Size: 0.27 ounces | Star Ingredients: Rose flower, jojoba, argan, pomegranate, sweet almond, and hemp seed oils, vitamin E | Usage: Dab onto cuticles and massage

Pens are one of the most convenient ways to apply cuticle oil in a mess-free manner. For the best cuticle oil pen, we love the Candy X Paints Renew Delicate Cuticle Glow, which features some amazing nail care ingredients, including squalane, which is one of the best oils for nourishing cuticles.

It also includes pumpkin oil which is packed with nutrients that promote nail growth, reduce breakage, and soothe inflamed cuticles. After regular use, the nail oil made our manicure look more refreshed and helped get rid of dry skin. 

Star Ingredients: Maracuja, pumpkin, sunflower, and squalane oils | Usage: Twist the brush and apply to cuticles

If you have dry cuticles, the Argan Oil Cuticle Drops from Orly are our favorite remedy. As the name suggests, these drops are enhanced with argan oil, which can actually heal brittle nails in addition to hydrating.

This oil has a thicker formula, which provides a deep conditioning effect to dry cuticles and skin around the nails, even during the winter months when nails have seen better days. The thick oil also makes it easier to apply since it makes little droplets on the nail bed that make it easier to nourish nails without making a mess.

Size: 0.6 ounces | Star Ingredients: Argan oil | Usage: Drop oil on cuticles and massage

Application is almost as important as the formula in a cuticle oil, and a roll-on option is one of the most convenient ways to massage oil into nail beds. The Sundari Neem and Cuticle Hand Treatment Oil has a convenient applicator and is formulated with neem oil, which helps promote nail growth.

After regular use, we noticed a significant difference in our nail length. Additionally, this oil helps strengthen brittle nails for overall nail health and quickly absorbs for convenience.

Size: 0.34 ounces | Star Ingredients: Neem oil | Usage: Roll onto cuticles and massage

This splurge-worthy nail product by Dior is enhanced with argan oil, vitamin E, and apricot oil, which provide deep nourishment and healing to dry, cracked skin around the nails (including the cuticles) with the ability to strengthen the nail bed and prevent brittle nails. At the end of the testing period, our cuticles were significantly more hydrated and looked healthier overall.

Size: 0.25 ounces | Star Ingredients: Argan oil, vitamin E, and apricot oil | Usage: Drop onto cuticles and massage

When shopping for cuticle oils, both Valdez-Dougherty and Gerstein say the ingredients — particularly the types of oils included in a formula — are most important. “Look for oils such as jojoba and vitamins like A, D, and E,” says Gerstein. Other cuticle oil ingredients such as apricot oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, hemp seed oil, sweet almond oil, shea oil, squalane, and aloe can also provide deep nourishment and hydration to the cuticles and nail beds, helping to strengthen them with every use.

Valdez-Dougherty says to consider how the cuticle oil is applied and to “make sure it has an easy-to-use applicator,” which can not only help prevent mess and ensure it’s a breeze to use but can also make it more enjoyable and satisfying to apply, which Valdez-Dougherty says will likely inspire you to use it more frequently and, therefore, reap the benefits of cuticle oil. “If you enjoy the experience of moisturizing your cuticles, you’re more likely to do it — then the results will speak for themselves,” she says.

As far as scent is concerned, Valdez-Dougherty says to go for essential oils over synthetic fragrances, since fragrances can cause irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin or sinuses. This is also a good idea for those with pets since animals are often more sensitive to fragrance and might experience irritation if you use cuticle oil and then pet or snuggle with them.

To find the best cuticle oils, we researched dozens of formulas, considering everything from the ingredients to the type of applicator to the convenience of use.

Jessie Quinn is a contributing commerce writer for PEOPLE with bylines in Byrdie, InStyle, The Spruce, and more. With over a decade of beauty writing under her belt and as someone with super dry skin, Jessie knows how important cuticle oil is for overall nail care. For this piece, she reached out to top nail experts Kristen Valdez-Dougherty and Elle Gerstein to learn more about why cuticle oil is so necessary and the best oils to use on your cuticles. She reviewed the PEOPLE Tested results and curated this list of the best cuticle oils, based on real-world insights and experiences.

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