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 editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.
11 thoughts on “Cuticle balm guide”
I use Burts Bees every night – I tend not to apply cuticle products throughout the day, mainly because I’m lazy. I have tried Lush Lemony Flutter but didn’t love it… I DO like the sound of the jelly bean scented one!!
Also, props to Help Me Ronda for the Beach Boys tune in my head.
I do love the Burt’s Bees balm – it’s like a less messy version of Lemony Flutter 🙂
I don’t use enough of these products, which is plainly evident when you look at my cuticles :/
I do use some oil after cleanup and I had NO idea I could use some lip balms! I have like a gazillion in the cupboard… yay! 🙂
Haha, lip balm as cuticle balm was a revelation to me too! I love double-duty beauty products 🙂
I’m kinda new to this whole nail care thing so I haven’t finalised my routine or decided what’s best for me but…
I bought Avoplex before deciding “it’s just a bunch of oil” so I went and bought several oils from a health food shop to make my own. My last mix had coconut, jojoba, vitamin E and maybe (?) a squirt of argan. My record keeping could be better. I use the oil before and after changing polish and whenever I’m home and remember.
I found Flexitol Cuticle & Nail Cream had an IMMEDIATE softening effect on my cuticles and surrounding skin. It comes in a teeny tiny 20g tube but you only have to use a minuscule amount. I use that in the morning and before bed.
For regular use I have Neutrogena Hand & Nail Cream which seems to work for me during the day and when at work. It soaks in nicely, makes my hands feel nice and isn’t messy. I tried another brand which I LOVED at first but within a couple of days the skin around my nails started peeling so I changed back.
Sorry for the long comment :/
I made my own mix at the beginning too… then I got lazy! Finding out the best products is a an endless journey, so don’t worry about finalising a routine – there’ll always be something new to try out 😉
To be honest sometimes I have to use Neosporin on my cuticles, because I have a spot that hurts from cutting a hangnail. I noticed a lot more of this lately because I’ve been out of the office so much. When I’m there I’m applying a lot of cuticle oil and creams and lotions while I’m sitting around at my desk, then repeating as soon as I’ve washed my hands. Will have to get better about it at home on non-mani nights…. I guess it is a sign when ppl say they think Lemony Flutter is greasy, and my skin sucks it up pretty fast. Argh!
I have cuticle products next to my computer at home, which is where I spend most of my time (I watch TV on my computer), so it’s pretty easy to remember! I also take balm around in my handbag, which is great for my commute, which is when I usually see my cuticles and realise they need some attention!
Loved this post!
I use the Dior Abricot product around my nails every night, I guess that counts as a cuticle creme. Then I use a Burt’s Bees salve or lotion on the rest of my hands, and wear cotton gloves for the night.
Great post! I use both oil and balm, and once got the Lemony Flutter as a gift, and it has such a lovely scent! It’s also quite rich, which make it great for me.