A perfect manicure wouldn’t be one without well-maintained cuticles. Not only do healthy cuticles look great, but they also promote nail growth as they protect the nail matrix from damage and icky things, like fungus and bacteria. While frequent hand washing is encouraged, soaps and sanitizers can upset your cuticles, making them dry and flaky. And for many people, following up with a simple hand cream just isn’t enough — your cuticles are fragile and need extra special attention.
Celebrity nail artist Elle stresses foremost that you should remove the thin, white flakes sitting on your nail plate, but never cut your eponychium, a.k.a. the thickened skin that surrounds your nails. That’s the part you want to keep “moist and supple,” she says, and there’s no need to trim away at them. Better, Elle says cuticle cream “acts as a barrier” to lock in moisture and “combat dryness.” Her favorite ingredients to look for are vitamin E and jojoba oil — “those are essential for skin.”
You’re good to apply cuticle cream as needed, but for an intense moisturizing treatment, she recommends using both cuticle cream and cuticle oil at night. “Put oil on, and then cream to keep the oil in and penetrate [the skin].” While cuticle oil penetrates deeper into the skin, creams help address snags and roughness on surface-level skin.
If your cuticles are feeling neglected, look to the best cuticle creams, according to Elle and other nail experts, so you can go into the season flaunting a perfect summer manicure.
You can always find this cuticle cream on GH Beauty Director April Franzino’s desk. “It feels as luxurious as a high-end body butter or face cream, but for your cuticles,” she says, “And [it] contains high levels of nourishing ingredients you’d find in them, like fatty acids, shea butter, niacinamide, vitamins, and hyaluronic acid. The formula is rich yet fast-absorbing, lasts forever, softens my ragged cuticles, and relieves any irritation.”
Coconut oil claims a list of beauty benefits, so it’s unsurprising why there’s so much hype around it. If you’re a coconut lover, let me introduce you to this heavenly coconut cream. Formulated with coconut oil, it protects and moisturizes your skin without feeling greasy. It absorbs quickly and has a nice coconut scent.
There’s no wonder why this cuticle cream is a best-seller on Amazon with over 5,400 ratings. Infused with calcium, vitamins A, C, D and E, it nourishes your cuticles and strengthens your nails. It also contains coconut and jojoba oil, which soften and hydrate your skin. One reviewer said, “I have extremely dry cuticles and this product is a life saver for me.”
GH Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann struggles with dry, chapped cuticles. “I massage a small amount of Burt’s Bees cuticle cream all over my nails and cuticles at night before bed,” she says. “It absorbs quickly and isn’t tacky, but really helps protect and soften them.” You can also use it on your lips as an ultra-moisturizing lip balm.
Although you might’ve not thought of Neosporin as a cuticle cream, you should definitely try it if your cuticles bleed or if you’re a chronic cuticle picker. “Where there’s an actual wound, Neosporin is the best to heal that,” Elle says. It also moisturizes and softens extremely damaged cuticles without irritation. Best of all, it relieves any pain from the broken skin and protects your nails from infection.