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In an unofficial ranking of the most essential skincare formulas, cuticle cream wouldn't exactly sit at the top. Still, it's an extremely helpful product when it comes to keeping your nails healthy, strong, and shiny. Your cuticle, the small layer of skin at your nail bed, protects your growing nail from harmful bacteria and dirt that can cause an infection. When your cuticle is dry and irritated—or you cut them off at the nail salon too often—more hangnails appear, not to mention flaky, cracked skin around the nail. We're not really going out on a limb when we say that no manicure looks cute with raggedy skin surrounding it. So let cuticle cream be your savior to moisturize and maintain that all-important skin, the first step to a nail polish job that looks that much better.
Check out the best cuticle oils and creams on the market right now.
Best Overall: Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream
In case you’re not totally sold on the idea of just cuticle cream, this product moisturizes your full hand and your cuticle all at once. The formula promises 12 hours of hydration, so your hands, cuticles, and nails can be fully restored. In addition to fighting dryness, the thick formula strengthens your skin’s ability to defend itself against environmental stressors.
See our picks of the best nail strengtheners on the market.
Best for Very Dry Skin: Philosophy Hands of Hope Hand and Cuticle Cream
When your cuticles and hands are noticeably dry, you need something that can double down on the moisture. This Amazon Choice product promises to provide all-day hydration, so your hands appear softer and your cuticles feel less damaged. It’s infused with shea butter and natural oils, like sunflower seed oil, so your skin feels firm yet silky smooth and moisturized.
Best for Damaged Skin: Yes To Coconut Hydrate & Restore Cuticle Cream
This Amazon Choice product can heal damaged, chapped, or cracked cuticles without that greasy sensation a lot of hand creams and oils leave behind. Because it’s also infused with passionfruit and shea butter, you can use this to soften your hands if they’re feeling dry. Instead of having separate cuticle and hand creams, this one does it all, so throw it into your bag or leave it on your desk for quick and easy applications daily.
Best Budget: Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream
To help soothe those painful hangnails and moisturize tough skin, this cream is infused with apricot oil, which the brand says deeply penetrates the skin for extra moisture. The cream absorbs quickly, so it acts fast. It helps condition the nail and skin around it for smooth, non-damaged cuticles. As an Amazon Choice product, customers love this for a quick, daily moisturizer that actually makes a difference in the look and feel of their cuticles.
Best Splurge: Dior Crème Abricot Nail Cream
If it’s in your budget to treat yourself to a luxe cuticle cream, this should be the one you purchase. The cream encourages nail growth and conditions the cuticle while locking in moisture, so your nails look and feel stronger. Because of the rich formula, it can moisturize even the most damaged skin. The brand encourages customers to use this at night with or without nail polish on, so the cream can fully work its magic while you snooze.
Best Natural: Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
This natural cuticle cream uses almond oil and cocoa seed butter to help soften your cuticles. The ingredients create the rich, creamy texture, while the vitamin E and sunflower oil help restore brittle and peeling nails. The beeswax included locks in moisture for long-lasting effects, so your hands stay smooth for longer. Plus, it has an irresistible fresh lemon scent.
Best Oil: Revlon Essential Cuticle Oil
Before an at-home manicure, using a cuticle oil will help your nails look more polished and neat. It's made with vitamin E to help nourish brittle nails and halt any splitting or breakage, in addition to taming the look of raggedy cuticles. Massage this oil into your cuticles and wash off any excess before the color goes on for the best DIY mani of your life.
Up next, take a look at our picks of the best at-home gel nail kits.