10 Cuticle Balms & Oils That I Never Leave The House Without

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It wasn't until I was an adult that I started to prioritize nail health. Before, I was only concerned about aesthetics and not particularly the state of what was underneath. I'd coat my nails in acrylics, press-ons, or nail polish and recklessly pick these layers off myself when I tired of them. From there, I'd leave my bare nails uncared for, repeating the cycle again whenever I was ready. But I grew older and wiser, and also moved to the East Coast where the weather alone called for me to change my ways. Aside from introducing a consistent nail regimen with a trained professional, I also began to invest in cuticle balms and oils. They've not only saved my nails, but my hands as well.

My first introduction to cuticle balms came during my monthly nail appointment. I was usually used to getting cuticle oil applied post-manicure, and was surprised when my manicurist opened a small vial of the thicker, homemade formula. There was something about the balm texture that I couldn't get enough of. I begged her to make me a batch, and before I knew it, I was using it three to four times a day. I slowly but surely found myself having less of a need for hand creams. For reference, my hands are extremely dry, especially during the winter. Aside from just the cracking in the crevice between my pointer finger and thumb, I also get extreme drying and peeling in between my fingers. It's not only unsightly, but it's also a huge nuisance and can be a bit embarrassing. So as you can imagine, excessive hand washing makes these symptoms far worse.

During the time that I couldn't get my nails done this year, that meant my cuticles weren't being trimmed, either. Then more than ever, I leaned into hand hydration, keeping a minimum of five balms, oils or salves around me at a time. You can find them in my purse wallet, all over my apartment, and in my pockets. I apply after a shower, after any hand washing, and whenever my hands need an overall refresh. Never have my hands been so hydrated. In fact, I was outdoors brunching recently and when my friend commented on the softness of my hands and asked for lotion, I quickly whipped out three different options that they could choose from. Check out those — and seven others — ahead.

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