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Cuticle oil is a moisturizing product for your nails and cuticles. It’s most commonly made up of vegetable oils and sometimes contains vitamins and citric acid.

Cuticles that are exposed to excessive cold, sun, chlorine, or salty or soapy water can become chapped, cracked, and dry. In these cases of extreme dryness and damage, cuticle oil can help moisturize your cuticle and nail, restoring it to health.

Applying cuticle oil can increase the circulation around your nails, stimulating nail growth. It can also help to protect your nail and cuticle against trauma.

The oil can also help improve the health and appearance of your nail. If you paint your nails, cuticle oil can also protect your polish for a lasting shine.

You’ll only need to use a few drops, because most oils work best in small amounts.

Depending on the product you’re using, you can either dab your cuticles with a cotton ball or brush the oil on. Apply a few drops to each cuticle and then massage in for a few minutes.

The best cuticle oils absorb quickly into your skin. They’re also rather thin, because thick oils won’t absorb into your skin as well. Most cuticle oils contain a combination of different oils, such as:

  • jojoba oil
  • flaxseed oil
  • safflower oil

You can also purchase a cuticle oil that has vitamins or other ingredients included, such as antioxidants. Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, for example, includes both Vitamin E and antioxidants. Opi Avoplex Nail & Cuticle Replenishing Oil also contains Vitamin E but has a brush application. If you’re looking for a more luxe option, Dior Crème Abricot comes in an embossed jar and has been around since 1963.

While cuticle oil isn’t absolutely necessary for the health of your nails, it can be a great treatment if your nails and cuticles are feeling especially dry. Just dab a little on, rub in, and you’ve done yourself — and your nails — a service.