How to Use Vitamin E Oil For Shiny, Healthy Nails

oil dropper on pink background

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Whether you’ve been creating a collection of nail goodies to give yourself DIY manis at home or you head to the salon for a professional nail job, there’s a good chance that vitamin E oil has come across your radar. After all, the hydrating, strengthening, and protecting ingredient is infused in many nail oils and hand creams and can lead to a world of good for the look and feel of your nails. To help you discover all the benefits of adding vitamin E oil to your routine, we chatted with a couple of dermatologists to uncover why and how to use vitamin E oil for your nails. 

Vitamin E Oil For Nails

Type of ingredient: Antioxidant + Hydrator

Main benefits: Strengthens, hydrates, and repairs nails

Who should use it: In general, anyone with brittle, ridged, and/or yellow nails will find using vitamin E beneficial. Additionally, those with dry cuticles will notice a vast improvement in the skin around their nails when using products made with vitamin E.

How often can you use it: Vitamin E can be applied to the nails twice a day—morning and night. It should be lightly applied as an oil to the cuticles and nails or all over the hands and nails in the form of a hand cream. 

Works well with: Olive, coconut, and jojoba oils 

Don’t use with: Statins, anticoagulants, niacin, or certain chemotherapy drugs

What Is Vitamin E OIl?

Sure, it’s a vitamin, but how does it nourish your nails? According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marisa Garshick, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant to help protect against free radical damage to the nails while deeply hydrating and healing both the plates and the surrounding skin (aka, your cuticles). 

More specifically—and more scientifically—board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green says that vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes in many forms—which means you might already be using it without even realizing it. 

“Its most common form is known as alpha-tocopheryl,” she explains. “There are eight different types of vitamin E—the most popular forms of Vitamin E in skincare is tocopherol and tocopheryl acetate.” While there are different variations of tocopherol, she says that gamma and delta are the most effective, as those are the types that work best as antioxidants. 

Beyond the super scientific differentiations, Green explains that, in addition to hydrating and protecting the nails, vitamin E helps to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Additionally, it helps to widen blood vessels to help the body (and nails) work its best. In regards to your nails, that means vitamin E makes them strong and healthy—not brittle, dry, and ridged. 

Benefits of Vitamin E Oil for Nails

  • It helps maintain healthy nails. “Vitamin E oil supplies all the necessary benefits you need to grow healthy and long nails,” Green explains, noting that it can be applied to nails and cuticles for strengthening and added hydration. “Vitamin E oil’s moisturizing benefits may also support nail health by preventing cracked cuticles and dry skin around the nail bed.”
  • It can reverse damage on nails. It’s no secret that some nail polish and nail polish remover can be particularly damaging to the nails. Fortunately, vitamin E oil works to repair and protect against damage. “Using Vitamin E oil on your nail bed and cuticle can reverse damage caused from nail polish remover and nail polish,” Green says.
  • It can eliminate yellowing of the nails. If you’re constantly switching between polish colors, you may notice your nails switching to a yellow tint. While holding off on polish for a few days can help the shade fade, Green says that applying vitamin E oil can also help. “However, excessively yellow nails may be a symptom of a fungal infection, which vitamin E does not rid,” she adds. “If your nails are in this condition, first see a doctor before deciding on how to treat them.”
  • It hydrates your nails. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Vitamin E oil is super hydrating. “Just like your skin, your nails need moisture to stay good looking and strong,” Green says. “Vitamin E is a soluble nutrient, which increases moisture to the nail bed and the skin around the nails to rejuvenate and restore dry cuticles.”
  • It boosts nutrients to the nails. Since vitamin E oil is a form of vitamin, it naturally nourishes the nails. But how? “Nails are created by keratin dead cells,” Green explains, noting that these cells are supported by the accumulation of blood flow filled with vitamins. “To produce healthy strong nails, your keratin dead cells need to receive a regular amount of blood supply that contain vital nutrients. Vitamin E helps to provide your blood with the right amount of nutrients, able to deliver steady growth of all nail’s components.”
  • It protects your nails. Remember: Since vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, it protects against free radical damage on your nails. “Using vitamin E oil on your nails can help to provide a protective barrier for the nails,” Garshick explains.

Potential Side Effects of Vitamin E Oil For Nails

Vitamin E oil is intensely moisturizing, making it far more beneficial than it is detrimental.

The main concern surrounding vitamin E oil is its interaction with blood thinners, statins, and certain chemotherapy drugs, as it can lead to an increased risk of bleeding. However, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, this largely pertains to oral doses of the vitamin. Nevertheless, if you’re undergoing any of these treatments, it’s best to consult your doctor before adding vitamin E oil to your nail routine.

The Best Nail Products Made With Vitamin E

kur Nourihsing Cuticle Oil
Londontown kur Nourishing Cuticle Oil $18
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Say hello to yet another must-try cuticle oil. It's made with a floral infusion of cucumber extract, chamomile extract, evening primrose oil, and—you guessed it—vitamin E oil. The result? A deeply-moisturizing protective oil that can be used to usher in your healthiest nails yet.

Mario Badescu Special Handcream with Vitamin E
Mario Badescu Special Hand Cream with Vitamin E $8
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Hoping to spread the vitamin E Oil love to your entire hand? Green swears by this affordable best-seller for its ultra-hydrating effect.

Beekman 1802 Pure Goat Milk Cuticle Serum
Beekman 1802 Pure Goat Milk Cuticle Serum $20
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Goat milk is known to be hydrating in and of itself. However, pair it with vitamin E oil, and it's only that much more nourishing. And since it has a pillow-tip applicator, it's not messy to apply either.

Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil
Deborah Lippmann Cuticle Oil $20
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Green recommends this best-selling cuticle oil thanks to its moisturizing, protecting benefits. It's made with jojoba, coconut, and vitamin E oils, making it a triple threat against dry cuticles and nails.

Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil
Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil $5.99
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Garshick applauds this cuticle oil for its well-rounded make-up. "It uses vitamin E, aloe, and apricot kernel to help with dry nails and cuticles."

Nails Inc. Superfood Repair Oil
Nails Inc. Superfood Repair Oil Hydrating Nail Treatment $15
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Consider this the equivalent of a green juice for your nails. The superfood-packed nail oil is formulated with vitamin E oil, as well as argan oil and rosehip oil. The result? Deeply repaired and ultra-hydrated nails and cuticles after just one use.

The Takeaway

Anyone who is looking to hydrate and strengthen their nails and cuticles should consider adding vitamin E oil to their routine. 

“With people washing their hands more, they are noticing the nails and skin around the nails are becoming weaker and drier, so it is even more important now to focus on nail health,” Garshick says.

To get the most out of applying vitamin E oil, Green says to allow it to absorb into your nails and hands for a few minutes, or slip on a pair of cotton gloves to lock it in while you go about your day. “A good time for nail treatments is before going to bed, as treatments will have time to absorb undisturbed overnight,” she adds.

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