While your face gets treated to all of the serums, moisturizers, and masks it could ever want, your nails endure the same exposure to the cold weather and sun (with even more time spent in soap and water), yet receive hardly any TLC. Hand cream certainly helps prevent dry, cracked skin, but it's also important to condition your nails with one of the best cuticle creams, since healthy cuticles mean healthier nails.
For a cuticle cream that really conditions, look for one that combines oils with traditional moisturizing ingredients. Oils like jojoba seed, apricot, and avocado tend to penetrate skin more easily for concentrated hydration, while richer ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, and vitamin E will further help to keep your cuticles and skin smooth. Salicylic acid is another helpful ingredient to look for, as it exfoliates away dead skin cells around the cuticle to reduce hangnails and help the moisturizing ingredients penetrate deeper.
Ahead, you'll find five of the best cuticle creams to help keep your nails moisturized and strong, with or without a manicure. Pair them with one of the best hand creams, and soon enough, your hands will be as smooth as the skin on your face.
1. The Best 2-In-1 Cuticle & Hand Cream
This two-in-one Yes To Protecting Hand & Cuticle Cream lets you multi-task when it comes to your hand care routine. The thick cream may absorb quickly, but it still contains an impressively long list of hydrators like shea butter, glycerin, coconut oil, avocado oil, jojoba seed oil, and sweet almond oil. Amazon users love this coconut-scented option, writing, "I purchased [this] to moisturize painfully peeling cuticles, and it really works." Another adds, "My cuticles and fingernails look better after this cream than they do with the oil I use for manicures."
2. A Classic Cuticle Cream That Comes In A 2-Pack
Apricot oil is the star ingredient of this thick balm, which is available from Amazon in a pack of two to keep you fully stocked. The Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream is also formulated with shea butter and glycerin for added moisture, making it an all-around excellent choice for keeping the skin around your nails moisturized and hangnail-free.
Dozens of Amazon reviewers hail it as the best on the market. "This is the only product I have found that ALWAYS delivers excellent results," writes one. "After 40 years of trying a wide variety of products (including creams and oils supposedly made specifically for classical guitarists), that's saying a lot."
3. A Drugstore Pick Made With Natural Ingredients
This 100 percent natural cuticle cream comes in a tin that makes it easy to travel with or throw in your purse without worrying about spills. Burt's Bees' Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream has more of a balm consistency that can take a few minutes to fully absorb, but it really works. Sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, and vitamin E moisturize and soften the cuticles for a healthier appearance, and lemon oil acts as a natural cleanser and astringent to cut through dirt and tighten the skin.
4. A Cuticle Cream That Exfoliates With Salicylic Acid
It may be a bit of a splurge, but this Julep cuticle cream works in multiple ways to strengthen and repair the skin around your nails. Salicylic acid gently removes dead skin cells that can cause peeling along the cuticles, and ingredients like honey, shea butter, and vitamin B5 smooth out dry, cracked skin. Julep's cuticle cream is also formulated with glycerin, a humectant that draws water to the skin for even more moisturizing powers. Though it comes in a tiny tube, you only need to dab on the smallest amount of this concentrated formula to see results.
5. A Mess-Free Cuticle Cream For More Targeted Application
A pen-like applicator makes this easy to swipe directly where you need it. The OPI Pro Spa Nail & Cuticle Oil To Go is part of OPI's professional salon skin care line, which was developed with dermatologist Dr. Zena Gabriel for the brand's most effective hand, foot, and nail products yet. The secret to its success is a combination of lightweight oils like grape seed, sesame, kukui, sunflower, and cupuaçu, which instantly absorb into the cuticles for faster results.
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