Five Manicure Must-Haves # 3

The treasure here is oil And no. Not the kind that stands in the way of world peace and Greenpeace, but the kind that

  1. You take after breakfast, and
  2. You paint on your cuticles

Essential Fatty Acids

These are your Omega 3’s (but 6’s are great too.) You can pop a capsule of fish oils or add salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts to your diet. Eat them, swallow them, pinch your nose as they go down, do what you have to do. They moisturize you from the inside and the result is fabulous skin, nails and hair.

Cuticle Oil

The science behind cuticle oil is that your nails are only as good as the matrix. (And here we are not talking Keanu Reeves. Although we can reflect on him for a moment, if you wish?)



Okay, enough of that, back to business. Take a look at this diagram. Try not to feel queasy.



See the nail matrix? That is the germinating layer that produces new nail cells. It’s the breeding ground of your nails. So slam it in the door and you’ll lose the entire nail, or get a mark or a dent that lasts from 3 months to forever.

On the contrary, if you massage the cuticle area and the matrix with cuticle oil daily, what a marvelous service you provide. You stimulate blood supply and new growth as well as sending nourishing molecules down to all those new cells. You keep the cuticle nice and supple, so that it doesn’t stick to the nail plate, which allows your growing nail to slide out from underneath unhindered.

As the nail cells mature in the matrix they move forward and push the old cells ahead of them. The old cells flatten and harden (don’t we all, with age?) and become your nail. They are what they are at that stage. You can rub in as much oil as you like but you will change very little. The only place you can nourish and moisturize your nails effectively is in the matrix. Because it takes time for these cells to age and become your nails you will only see the results of your cuticle oil efforts after about 3 months. It’s like Tinkerbell and the other fairies. You have to believe in order to see.


My favourite oils are

Avoplex by OPI (especially because it also comes in a handy little pen so you can do sneaky cuticle oiling during boring meetings.)

cuticle oil opi   avoplex to go

I also love Orly’s


Essence also carries a range of affordable cuticle care products, including a nail care pen (for sneaky manicuring), a quick and easy sponge nail caring oil  and a repairing nail oil with argan oil. You can buy them online or at Dischem.

Have any of you tried them?  I would love to hear your opinion.


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