How to care for hard and cracked cuticles

Hard cuticles are a sign you’ve neglected your nail care (Picture: Getty)

No matter how the trends may vary – inconveniently long acrylics, modern french-tip gels – having cute nails is one thing that will never go out of style.

But for some people, their nail beds just suck.

Admittedly, I’m one of those people. And it’s an issue that can make rocking fun and trendy nail designs all the more difficult.

Take it from me, from hangnails to overgrown cuticles, caring for nails can be a riddle at the best of times (hence the monthly manicure budget), but neglecting your nails can result in issues such as hard and dry cuticles.

Why have your cuticles turned hard?

The cuticle is a thin layer of dead tissue along your nail bed.

As nail technician Maisie Manktelow explains, ‘the cuticle protects your nails by acting as a barrier to bacteria.’

Usually, your cuticles become hard when you neglect proper nail care.

This includes regular manicures, wearing  rubber gloves when washing up and cleaning, avoiding having your hand submerged in water for long periods of time, not using your nails as tools and – of course – not picking or biting your nails.

‘It is so important to take care of your nails as well as the skin around your nails,’ Manktelow  tells 

‘Cuticles that are exposed to excessive cold, sun, chlorine or soapy water can become dry and cracked.’

How to care for hard cuticles 

While hard cuticles aren’t necessarily bad for you, it’s just a sign that you should be spending more time looking after your nails.

According to Manktelow, cuticle oil will be your best friend if you want to get them in tip-top condition.

‘Instead of softening your cuticles, I personally would recommend using cuticle oil at least twice daily as well as having regular manicures to help look after and prevent hard and dry cuticles,’ she says. 

‘Using cuticle oil twice daily will soften and condition the cuticle area, repair and protect dry, cracked skin as well as stimulate healthy nail growth and help prevent brittle nails.’

The best cuticle oils to cure cracked cuticles

navy nail balm

The perfect scent (Picture: Navy)

Manktelow recommends Navy’s Cuticle Balm, which is enriched with rosehip oil, aloe vera extract and coconut oil.

Buy now for £12.95 from Navy

OPI Pro Spa Nail and Cuticle Oil To Go

OPI nail oil

A pro-approved product (Picture: OPI/Boots)

This cuticle oil is a pro favourite (you’ll recognise the OPI brand from nail salons everywhere) and uses grape seed, sesame, kukui, sunflower & cupuaçu oils to soften cuticles and cure nail beds.

Buy now for £11.50 from Boots

Cuccio Manicure Cuticle Revitalizing Oil

nail oil

Perfect for lasting moisture (Picture: Cuccio)

This oil, which contains safflower oil, sunflower seed oil, and cottonseed oil, also uses milk and honey to repair nail beds.

The lactic acid from the milk combined with the natural properties of the honey are the perfect recipe for moisture.

Buy now for £8.50  from Cuccio

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