Learn how to make a simple homemade cuticle oil with essential oils to hydrate and strengthen your nails and cuticles. This nourishing nail oil recipe is made with two types of carrier oils to moisturize and soothe dry, cracked cuticles and brittle nails. An optional selection of essential oils adds a natural fragrance and/or potential nail strengthening benefits.
Have you ever read the ingredients on a bottle of cuticle oil? Though the list might be long, cuticle oil formulations are actually quite simple.
Most contain a combination of plant oils and vitamin E. They’re usually scented with either essential oils or a synthetic fragrance, and they often contain ingredients meant to preserve the oils for long-term storage in warehouses or stores.
But it’s unnecessary to pay $8-10 a bottle for store-bought brands containing these inexpensive ingredients, because you can easily make your own cuticle oil at home.
In this post, I will show you how to make your own natural cuticle oil for nail growth, cracked cuticles, and dry, brittle nails.
There are a few ways to make this recipe – you can add a blend of nail-strengthening essential oils, or you can simply add a few drops of your favourite essential oil for a pleasant fragrance.
You can also opt to make this recipe without essential oils. Either way, you can be assured your homemade cuticle oil doesn’t contain the problematic ingredients found in brand name cuticle oils, such as drying alcohols, parabens, or synthetic fragrances.
I encourage you to read the whole post for helpful tips on making and using nail oil. But if you would like to get straight to the recipe, you can use the jump to recipe button above.
For more ways to keep your hands and nails healthy, try our moisturizing DIY hand mask, which can also be used as a cuticle treatment.
- Benefits of using a cuticle oil
- What you need to make DIY cuticle oil
- What are the best oils for brittle nails and cuticles?
- Can you use any oil for cuticles?
- The best essential oils for dry cuticles and nails
- Homemade cuticle oil ingredients
- DIY cuticle oil recipe
- How to make cuticle oil
- How to use your nail oil
- How often should I use cuticle oil?
Benefits of using a cuticle oil
Why use cuticle oil in the first place?
For one, cuticle oil helps keep your cuticles soft and healthy. And cuticle health is important for your overall nail health, because your cuticles protect your nails from bacteria and infection.
In fact, it’s crucial to keep your cuticles supple, as dry, cracked cuticles can actually allow infection-causing bacteria to enter your nails1.
Plus, using oil on dry nails helps prevent them from drying out further, which can help stop cracking, brittleness and nail ridges before they appear.
Cuticle oil can improve the overall appearance of your nails and hands by helping to repair cracks and dryness caused by environmental factors such as cold weather, excessive hand washing, or frequent use of nail polish removers.
It also helps create a protective barrier over your cuticles and nails which helps prevent dry, cracked skin and hangnails from forming in the first place.
Plus, by protecting brittle nails from damage, you can help them grow longer and stronger. Even more so if you add a selection of essential oils that can promote nail growth.
Finally, another advantage to homemade cuticle oil is that it’s an inexpensive natural alternative to store-bought cuticle care products.
And by investing in the ingredients needed to make this recipe, you can make future batches, reuse your packaging, and save money over the long-term.
Additionally, the ingredients are versatile and can be used in a variety of homemade skincare and beauty recipes.
What you need to make DIY cuticle oil
Cuticle oil is very simple to make. You can whip it up in minutes, but its benefits last a lot longer.
For this recipe, you will need a roller bottle, a nail pen bottle, or an old, clean essential oil bottle with a dropper for dispensing.
You will also need to add a combination of carrier oils and essential oils. It’s ideal to chose a variety of essential oils that have been shown to promote cuticle and nail health. (More on that below.)
Vitamin E should also be added to your mixture to prolong your cuticle oil’s shelf life.
As well, a small funnel will help you easily combine your oils and essential oils in your bottle. All ingredients are then mixed together and stored in a glass container.
What are the best oils for brittle nails and cuticles?
You can select a combination of a variety of oils to use on your cuticles. For this recipe, I chose castor oil and camellia oil. Both oils are rich in nourishing fatty acids and are easily absorbed.
As well, each oil has a viscous texture that helps nourish, moisturize, and strengthen weak fingernails and cuticles.
I will go more into each oil’s benefits in the section below. However, some other oil options which can also help to nourish dry cuticles and maintain their overall health include:
- Jojoba oil. Not truly an oil, but a liquid wax with potent anti-inflammatory and skin-healing effects2. Jojoba oil is especially good for nails, as its wax esters mimic our skin’s natural protective sebum3.
- Olive oil. Rich in oleic acid and natural squalene, which can help create a protective seal over nails and cuticles. Also high in vitamin E.
- Liquid coconut oil. Rich in saturated fatty acids and anti-fungal lauric acid. Fractionated coconut oil is more suitable for use in a cuticle oil than solid coconut oil.
- Avocado oil. Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, carotenoids, and vitamin E. Avocado oil also been shown to aid in wound healing4, making it potentially useful for damaged cuticles.
- Squalane oil. An emollient hydrocarbon that won’t feed yeast or fungus. Squalane is also the saturated version of squalene, which is a natural component of the nail plate5.
- Hemi-squalane oil. Hemi-squalane is a water-like, extremely low molecular weight oil that sinks right into skin (and cuticles) with a non-greasy feel.
- Marula oil. Exotic oil with a rich, luxurious texture. Its fatty acids have been shown to have remarkable occlusive properties6, so marula oil is perfect for sealing in moisture.
Can you use any oil for cuticles?
You might be wondering – can’t you just use any oil on your cuticles?
Technically, you can. However, some oils are better than others, and I believe the ones listed above are some of the best oils for cuticles.
What those oils have in common is that they are comprised of mostly monounsaturated or saturated fatty acids, and low in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Since polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are very unstable and prone to oxidation, it’s ideal to use them sparingly in your body and skincare products, including your nail care products.
Using unstable oils like apricot oil, grapeseed oil, rice bran oil, sunflower oil or safflower oil in a cuticle oil will greatly decrease its shelf life. These oils may even oxidize on your skin, which can lead to inflammation.
To understand how oils high in PUFAs can contribute to inflammation, refer to this article outlining the risks of using PUFAs on your skin.
The best essential oils for dry cuticles and nails
Aside from their fragrance, essential oils can provide many benefits for your overall nail health.
You can opt to include a single essential oil of your choice in this cuticle oil recipe, or you can include a blend of oils from the list below.
Benefits of essential oils for nails include:
- Anti-fungal activity. Many essential oils possess anti-fungal properties. Since nail fungus can be the cause of brittle or peeling nails and slower nail growth, they’re ideal to use in a cuticle oil. In fact, a study showed that a mixture of vitamin E with lime, oregano and tea tree oil was an effective and safe treatment for nail fungus7.
- Antibacterial action. Some antibacterial essential oils such as tea tree oil can help kill infection-causing pathogens before they wreak havoc on your cuticles and nails8. This is especially useful when dealing with hangnails, as they’re prone to injury and infection.
- Increasing circulation. Essential oils such as peppermint and rosemary increase blood flow to the skin. Poor circulation is associated with slower nail growth9, so using a cuticle oil with essential oils can potentially help your nails grow faster.
I included rosemary, lavender and rose essential oils in my cuticle oil blend.
The rose and lavender essential oils both add a lovely, soothing fragrance and offset the stronger smell of the rosemary essential oil.
Alternatively, you can create your own unique blend by using one or a combination of the essential oils below.
Some of the best essential oils for cracked cuticles include:
- Frankincense essential oil. An ancient oil that possesses anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties which can encourage nail growth.
- Myrrh essential oil. Myrrh has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and is said to be one of the best essential oils for healthy nails. However, it should be used sparingly as it can cause your nails to turn yellow.
- Rosemary essential oil. Known for promoting hair growth11 and therefore may have some effect on nail growth.
- Eucalyptus essential oil. Another oil that has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and can contribute to overall nail health.
- Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil possesses antibacterial and antiseptic properties12. As well, it can help heal cracked cuticles and relieve inflammation.
- Lavender essential oil. Lavender also has both anti-fungal and antibacterial activity. Its scent is both soothing and relaxing which makes it an ideal essential oil to use in the evening.
- Peppermint essential oil. As previously mentioned, peppermint oil increases circulation, which can have beneficial effects on nail growth and cuticle health. just be sure not to touch your face or eyes after applying peppermint oil.
- Carrot seed oil. Aside from its sweet, earthy scent, carrot seed oil has also shown impressive fungicidal and antibacterial effects13.
Homemade cuticle oil ingredients
Aside from your essential oils, you will also need two natural carrier oils for your nail oil.
The main ingredient in this DIY cuticle oil is castor oil. Castor oil is made from the castor bean or ricinus communis plant. It’s rich in the potent omega-9 fatty acid ricinoleic acid which has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Castor oil has also been linked to increased hair and eyelash growth. It also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties which makes it useful for both nail and cuticle health.
What sets castor oil apart from other oils is that it’s very thick, which creates a wonderfully moisturizing and protective cuticle oil.
As an added benefit, castor oil is not easily washed off. It creates a barrier over nails and cuticles that can help protect them from future damage.
Camellia oil is a non-comedogenic and fast-absorbing oil. It’s ideal for use on sensitive or mature skin due to its rich, viscous texture and high oleic acid content.
Like castor oil, what makes camellia oil unique is that it’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, and low in polyunsaturated acids like linoleic acid.
For some people, oleic acid’s richness can make it pore-clogging when used in facial skincare. However, its thick consistency is perfect for use in a protective nail oil.
Ideally, you want to choose a camellia oil that is organic, cold-pressed, and packaged in a glass bottle.
Tip: it should be noted that camellia oil is also called tsubaki oil or tea seed oil and is often confused with tea tree oil. However, camellia oil and tea tree oil are two very different oils with different uses.
Adding a small amount of vitamin E oil to this recipe can help extend the life of your carrier oils, preventing them from oxidizing or going rancid.
As well, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and will help soften, moisturize and nourish the skin, as well.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with wound healing, making it potentially useful for hangnails and damaged cuticles.
However, despite some claims, vitamin E is not a preservative. But since this cuticle oil recipe doesn’t contain water, you will not need to add a preservative.
DIY cuticle oil recipe
- Roll on bottle or nail polish bottle
- Small funnel
Consult the section above to select the right essential oils for nail growth, hangnails, or cracked cuticles.
How to make cuticle oil
- Clean your bottle. Before making your cuticle oil, clean a glass rollerball bottle or nail polish bottle and allow it to dry.
- Add your carrier oils. Using a small funnel, carefully pour your plant oils and vitamin E into your desired container.
- Add your essential oils. Add a few drops of essential oils for cuticle health. Or, you can opt to add your favourite essential oil for a simple scented cuticle oil.
- Package your cuticle oil. Replace the rollerball and lid of your container and shake to combine.
How to use your nail oil
Start with clean, dry nails. Roll the oil onto your nails and cuticles and then massage the oil onto the surrounding skin thoroughly.
It’s ideal to put this nail-strengthening cuticle oil on after showering or washing your hands to lock in moisture.
You can also apply the cuticle oil before bed. That way, the oils have an opportunity to remain on your skin and nails while you sleep and therefore will be more readily absorbed.
As well, you can pair your cuticle oil with a rich hand cream and a pair of moisturizing gloves to give your hands and nails a deep overnight treatment.
In fact, our overnight hand mask recipe would be the perfect pairing to this DIY cuticle oil.
How often should I use cuticle oil?
You should use this cuticle oil daily or at least a few times a week, if possible.
You can also use this cuticle oil every time you wash your hands if your cuticles are very dry. This will help nourish them throughout the day, as the cuticle oil creates a protective layer that helps protect your cuticles from being stripped of moisture.
Water and excessive hand washing are common contributors to brittle nails and dry cuticles. Water softens nails, which makes them more prone to splitting, peeling, and breaking. As well, it can dry out the cuticles and the surrounding skin which can contribute to hangnails.
However, this recipe creates a water-repelling barrier over your nails and cuticles that helps prevent that damage.
You should start to see positive results over time and with consistent use of your cuticle oil.
Simple DIY Cuticle Oil
DIY Cuticle Oil for Nail Growth
- 2 tsp castor oil
- 2 tsp camellia oil
- 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil
- 6 drops rosemary essential oil
- 6 drops lavender essential oil
DIY Cuticle Oil with Tea Tree Oil
- 2 tsp castor oil
- 2 tsp camellia oil
- 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil
- 12 drops tea tree essential oil
Rose Scented Cuticle Oil
- 2 tsp castor oil
- 2 tsp camellia oil
- 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil
- 12 drops rose essential oil
- Before making your cuticle oil, thoroughly clean your storage bottles with soap and warm water and allow to dry.
- Using a small funnel, carefully pour your oils and vitamin E into your roller bottle, empty nail polish bottle, or other container of choice.
- Then, add your desired essential oils in the recommended amount.
- Place the roller ball into the bottle and shake well to combine. It’s really that simple. Your nail oil is now ready to use.
- This recipe yields 2 10ml (0.35 oz) roller bottles of cuticle oil. You can also double the recipe if your prefer to make your cuticle oil in larger batches.
- Since this nail oil is free of water, no preservative is required. However, you should still be sure to apply the oil to nails.
- Store your oil in a cool, dry, dark place, as light can oxidize fragile essential oils. Your cuticle oil should last approximately one year.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases.
More DIY beauty recipes
If you’re looking for more homemade treatments for your nails and hands, you might also enjoy some of our other recipes:
- DIY Hand Mask for Dry Hands (also makes a wonderful cuticle butter)
- Homemade Magnesium Lotion (can be used on hands)
- DIY Rosemary Mint Sugar Scrub (great for hands and feet)
- Exfoliating Pumpkin Mask (makes a great gentle hand scrub)
- DIY Cranberry Scrub (gentle enough for use on hands)
Pin it for later
2. Lin, Tzu-Kai et al. “Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 19,1 70. 27 Dec. 2017, doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
3. Wertz, P W. “Human synthetic sebum formulation and stability under conditions of use and storage.” International journal of cosmetic science vol. 31,1 (2009): 21-5. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2494.2008.00468.x
4. de Oliveira, Ana Paula et al. “Effect of semisolid formulation of persea americana mill (avocado) oil on wound healing in rats.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2013 (2013): 472382. doi:10.1155/2013/472382
5. Kreutz, Tainá et al. “Recent Patents on Permeation Enhancers for Drug Delivery Through Nails.” Recent patents on drug delivery & formulation vol. 13,3 (2019): 203-218. doi:10.2174/1872211313666191030155837
6. Komane, Baatile et al. “Safety and efficacy of Sclerocarya birrea (A.Rich.) Hochst (Marula) oil: A clinical perspective.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 176 (2015): 327-35. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2015.10.037
7. Alessandrini, Aurora et al. “An Open Study to Evaluate Effectiveness and Tolerability of a Nail Oil Composed of Vitamin E and Essential Oils in Mild to Moderate Distal Subungual Onychomycosis.” Skin appendage disorders vol. 6,1 (2020): 14-18. doi:10.1159/000503305
8. Buck, D S et al. “Comparison of two topical preparations for the treatment of onychomycosis: Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil and clotrimazole.” The Journal of family practice vol. 38,6 (1994): 601-5.
9. Kamrani P, Pillarisetty LS. Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Toe Nails. [Updated 2020 Aug 13]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-.
10. Luqman, Suaib et al. “Potential of rosemary oil to be used in drug-resistant infections.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine vol. 13,5 (2007): 54-9.
11. Murata, Kazuya et al. “Promotion of hair growth by Rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 27,2 (2013): 212-7. doi:10.1002/ptr.4712
12. Carson, C F et al. “Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties.” Clinical microbiology reviews vol. 19,1 (2006): 50-62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006
13. Jasicka-Misiak, Izabela et al. “Antifungal activity of the carrot seed oil and its major sesquiterpene compounds.” Zeitschrift fur Naturforschung. C, Journal of biosciences vol. 59,11-12 (2004): 791-6. doi:10.1515/znc-2004-11-1205