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There are a lot of options for cuticle balms, so how do you decide which one you should get?
First off, is balm what you need? Whether you should use a hand lotion or a cuticle balm comes down to both what’s wrong with your skin, and personal preference.
If your cuticles are flaky and white, chances are your skin is dehydrated – it needs water! Balms don’t generally contain any water, so you’ll need either lotion or a good soak before you apply cuticle balm. On the other hand, if your skin isn’t white but it’s peeling and rough, you can go right ahead and whack on some balm. (Check out this post on layering for why.)
Cuticle balms come in 4 general types. To help you work out which one will suit you, I thought I’d take you through my cuticle balm collection:
Option 1: Big tubs
These are usually in 50 g tubs. Because of the secure lids, they’re usually softer products that are easy to work into your skin. Of course, you can also scoop these into a small lip balm container for your handbag!
Pros: Lots of product, usually best value for money, low melting temperature
Cons: Harder to transport, messier
Lush Lemony Flutter* is one of the main nail blogger faves – I love the fresh scent, but it can get grainy if it’s exposed to heat, but there is an easy way to make it smooth again. There are a few all-rounders that are great for your cuticles, and your elbows/ankles/knees/lips too. Trilogy Everything Balm* is a blend of every nourishing oil you can think of (including sweet almond, marula, rosehip, evening primose, paw paw and beeswax). I’ve also been very impressed by MyNewSkin*, an all-natural olive oil-based balm that melts easily with body heat, which is packed with antioxidant and anti-irritant herbal extracts.
Option 2: Small tins
These are small and purse-friendly, but because they tend to come in friction-fit (lift-off) tins, the balms are more solid and melt less easily. This means they’re less likely to leak all over your handbag in summer, but it also means it’s a bit harder to get an adequate amount out of the tin.
Pros: Convenient size
Cons: Can be hard to get out of the tin
Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream* is another classic blogger favourite, and comes in two convenient handbag-friendly sizes. If you’re a fan of Australian indie brands, Powder Perfect* makes a lovely smooth organic cuticle balm which comes in chocolate, raspberry, sweet orange and jelly bean scents. If you’re after a softer balm, Aussie indie skincare brand Help Me Ronda uses tins with screw-top lids that overcomes the leakage problem.
Option 3: Sticks
These are the easiest to use on the go and are the least messy, but are also generally the hardest to work into the skin, since the final formula needs to be hard enough to form into a stick.
Pros: Easy to use, convenient, clean
Cons: Don’t sink into the skin as easily
Most lip balms work quite well as cuticle balms too – I particularly like the minty scent of Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm*. Another Australian indie offering is from Gloss ‘n Sparkle – these little tubes smell faintly of yummy honey (from the natural beeswax) and vanilla.
Option 4: Oils
These are the least travel-friendly, but easy to work into the skin and quite convenient if you have a stable workspace.
Pros: Can use on semi-wet polish, easy to dispense and rub in
Cons: Not great for the handbag
I recently acquired a bottle of one of my lemmings, Island Girl Cuticle Oil, from Michaela as she was clearing her stuff out for her move overseas. This smells of gorgeous honeysuckle and the little flowers in the bottle are so pretty!
I find that I use big tubs most often at home, and carry a small tin with me on the go. Sometimes if I’ve forgotten to bring cuticle balm, I’ll use lip balm instead! I use cuticle oils after manicures when my nails are still wet but cleanup has left my cuticles looking too sad.
What cuticle products do you prefer?
Products marked * were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.