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Cuticle Oil vs Cream [The Ultimate Comparison – [year] Guide]

If you are looking for a product to look after, protect and restore your nails, you may have stumbled across Cuticle Oils and Creams. This article today will be taking a look at the main differences between the two and will help you to identify which one to get; a Cuticle Oil or Cream.

So, what is the difference between cuticle oil and cuticle cream? Cuticle oils are light in consistency and tend to come in bottles like your favorite nail polish. They have a dripping applicator, or a small brush to be applied. Cuticle Creams, on the other hand, are much thicker in consistency and are much more hard-wearing.

Either way, both products work best when regularly applied throughout the day, along with before bed and at night.

They both work to moisturize and hydrate your nails, protect them and help them grow stronger.

Nevertheless, having beautiful, strong, robust and clean nails does not happen by chance.

It requires certain habits, choices and routines. If you want your natural nails to be at their best, looking after your cuticles is imperative.

By doing this you will notice benefits not just in how your nails look and feel, but how your entire nail grows, stays strong and also resists potential infection.

There are a range of products that are available that you can apply that help take care of this important area of your nails.

Now before we take a look and compare the two different products, which have different uses and effects, we first need to understand what cuticles are and why you would want or need to apply a product in the first place.

What Are Cuticles

Cuticles are the very small and thin parts and ridges of skin that grow from and surround the bases of your nails.

If you want presentable, clean and nice looking nails, they are an incredibly important part of your nail to look after.

Here’s why:

Cuticles play a very important role in protecting your nails from bacteria and pathogens.

They form a strong seal between your nail plates and eponychium (skin directly below your nail) that defends your matrix area – ensuring your nails can grow strong and correctly from their base.

Now onto what you can do.

You have three options when it comes to this area:

  1. You can moisturize, hydrate and replenish them with Cuticle Creams and/or Oils (Recommended)
  2. You can push them back with Cuticle Sticks or
  3. Remove them altogether, using a Cuticle Remover product or Cutting them with Stainless Steel Cuticle Nippers (Not Recommended

Regardless of which option you choose, keeping your cuticles in check is essential if you want nice nails.

There are a number of different types of products for the Cuticles.

A lot of them serve different purposes and individuals – particularly focusing on different nail conditions – dry, brittle etc.

Here’s an overview of two of the most common ones: Cuticle Cream and Cuticle Oil which will help you find out what each one does, how to use it, and the one that best for you.

Cuticle Oil Vs Cream; Review & Comparison

Cuticle Oil

Cuticle Oil is a light, moisturizing product that usually comes in a small bottle that looks quite like Nail Polish.

It’s most commonly formulated with essential oils and the better brands include Vitamins and Minerals.

Nails and cuticles that are often exposed to extreme conditions; whether cold, heat (and sun), chlorine, excessive water will often become dry, cracked, weak and brittle.

In these cases and signs of damage and wear, Cuticle Oil is very effective and replenishing moisturize and hydration and creating an environment where Nails and Cuticles can restore their health and strength.

Cuticle Oil also works to improve the circulation of blood to and around your nails which is another way in that it helps to stimulate new nail growth.

Being applied as an extra layer, it comes as no surprise that it also helps protect your nails and cuticles from any chemicals, materials or trauma.

Another key benefit, is that it also instantly improves the appearance of your nails. Its great at protecting nail polish, so its brilliant to apply straight after a Mani if you’re looking for a gleaming shine.

How To Use:

You can brush it on after a manicure to seal the surface to help resist smudges, but the main purpose is to moisturize the cuticle skin.

To keep your manicure looking fresh for a few extra days, remember to brush on some cuticle oil – thick will perk up your nails, smooth dry cuticles, and add a shiny finish to polish that will make everything look instantly better.

Cuticle Oil works best when used in small amounts; so you only need a couple of drops at a time.

Thankfully, a lot of the applicators on the bottles of Cuticle Oils ensure that you only apply what you need.

This does depend on the brand you work with, so if the bottle does not come with an easy dripping applicator you can always use a cotton ball, or paint the oil on if it comes with a brush.

Just apply a couple of drops onto each of your cuticles, especially those looking most worse for wear, and then massage it in for a couple of minutes, until dry.

The Best Oil

The best cuticle oils are also harsh-chemical free and rich in nail-health promoting ingredients (Vitamins, Minerals and Essential Oils). 

If you’re looking for a Cuticle Oil, I recommend that you opt for an all-natural formulation that has vitamins, minerals, essential oils and antioxidants included.

The best product that I swear by and use all the time is the one by LondonTown.

It works wonders excellently and spurs new growth due to the inclusion of both Vitamin E and antioxidants

Cuticle Cream

Cuticle Creams are thick in consistency and are designed to be liberally applied to cuticles and nail beds.

They are in effect potent moisturizing creams.

They help to moisturize and hydrate your nails, and as they cause your cuticles and nails to soften, they in-turn help your nails absorb that moisture.

Despite being often considered as a weaker alternative to cuticle oils, cuticle creams play a great role in replenishing hydration and thus promoting good nail health and strength.

Especially if you get one that is abundant in health-promoting ingredients that your nails rely on to fight infection, and build in structure.

One of the major benefits with working with Cuticle Cream is how you are required to apply it – by massaging it in.

This helps improve blood flow to the area that can fasten and increase nutrient absorption.

How To Use:

While there is no set time that you should apply a cuticle cream, they are ideal to apply at night just before bed.

This way, they will not be washed off or removed unexpectedly during the day as you go about your daily lifestyle (like contact with, washing your hands etc).

If you are not expecting to move much, or go out much, or even if you like to wear gloves, you can always wear the cream during the day.

To apply, all you need to do is to dip your fingers into the cream (or squeeze some onto your fingers depending on the bottle) and then massage intensely into all of your cuticles.

Wait for it to dry before hopping into bed or moving onto your next task. For best results its always recommended to get in the shower before you apply your cream.

This way, your nails beds and cuticles will soften further ensuring that the cream can penetrate as deeply as possible.

The Best Cream

The best cuticle creams are free from harsh chemicals, and provide a range of Essential Oils, Vitamins and Minerals that enable your nails to thrive – grow stronger, and faster.

If you’re looking for a Cuticle Cream, I recommend that you opt for an all-natural formulation that has vitamins, minerals, essential oils and antioxidants included.

The best product that I swear by and use all the time is also the LondonTown product.

Its very easy to work with, smells great, dries quickly, and is vegan, animal cruelty free 🙂

What To Buy & Use

Both Cuticle Oils and Cuticle Creams are very effective.

In many ways, they overlap and are best when used together (but used at separate times and not applied at the same time)

In terms of formulation, they are very similar – particularly if you stick with the best and most recommended brands.

These are routinely formulated to include some of the best ingredients renowned for improving nail health and strength – select Vitamins, Minerals and Essential Oils.

Whether you have dry, weak, brittle or slow growing nails – a Cuticle Cream and or a Cuticle Oil can help restore your natural nails back to their best.

I would say that if you had to buy one or the other, then purchase one that fits your lifestyle best.

If you like to apply products before bed, are short of time in the day, or will not be able to frequently apply a Cuticle Oil, then opt for a Cuticle Cream.

If you have the time to apply a Cuticle Oil throughout the day, or if you frequently paint your nails or have Manicures done, a Cuticle Oil would be great (because it also helps your nails from chipping).

However, if you want fast results, or if you nails are particularly frail and weak, dry and brittle, it can be a fantastic strategy to use both. A cream at night, an oil in the day.

As they both have their benefits, this would be the safest and best approach and one that I often recommend to my clients in the salon.


Cuticle Oil: LondonTown Nourishing Cuticle Oil

Cuticle Cream: LondonTown Restorative Nail Cream

Wondering how else to use cuticle oil or looking for tips when using the product in general? Check out my other cuticle oil guides: