As it happens, we may have named the stuff too quickly, because it's not just a cuticle savior, softening and preventing hangnails from happening, it's also pretty stellar at promoting all-around healthier, stronger tips. So to get the full scoop, I reached out to Jenny Patinkin, beauty pro and author of Lazy Perfection to hear all about how cuticle oil can help nails beyond the cuticles. Keep on scrolling for what she had to say. And be sure to check out our list of the best cuticle oils to try for yourself.
The multitasking ways cuticle oil is good for nails, too
1. It thickens and strengthens nails: When my nails get very long, the sides tend to bend inwards making them look more narrow than they are. I figured that this was just the way my nails grew, but I learned that it actually happens when nails are thin and weak.
Horsetail oil (which despite the name, comes from the horsetail plant and not an animal) is an ingredient commonly found in or used as a cuticle oil. Patinkin says it's "my favorite way to heal rough cuticles and help with nail growth because it's hydrating but also high in silica and folate, which promote collagen production to thicken and strengthen the nails."
2. It's anti-microbial: Cuticle oils also tend to be full "of other minerals that are anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial to prevent the development of fungus that can impede nail growth," Patinkin says. Often, they're spiked with essential oils, which can double as the microbe-killing stuff and (bonus!) make your hands smell lovely as well.
3. It prevents chips from happening: The thing that ultimately sold me on the necessity of cuticle oil? My nail specialist and Patinkin both purport cuticle oil's ability to make your manicure (especially gel!) last longer. "When the base area of your nails gets too dry, and your gels have started growing away from them, the gel can dry out as well and start to lift," explains Patinkin. When this happens it becomes pretty hard to ignore the urge to start pick the lifted pieces off, which "is so bad for your nails and can lead to thinning and splitting."
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