Female hand applying nourishing oil on cuticles
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Essential oils are increasingly popular, and they can be used for more than just filling up an aromatherapy diffuser or treating a cold. Applying healing, nourishing essential oils such as jojoba oil acts as an easy, natural alternative to pamper and protect nails and skin. These oils can be helpful in treating dryness, smoothing ridges, and strengthening nails to prevent breakage. Read on for all the "essentials" on how to use oils to treat your nails with TLC!

The benefits of jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant, which contain essential and non-essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are healing, acting as an emollient for dryness, as well as a natural preservative without the use of chemicals. The nourishing oil can be applied to cuticles to soothe dry or cracked skin. It can also aid in improving the strength of nail beds and boost healthy nail growth. Jojoba oil has natural anti-oxidant and anti-fungal properties, making it ideal for treating nail fungus such as athlete’s foot.

Nail it the natural way

“Essential and organic oils, including jojoba, are prevalent in the beauty world these days, and nail care is no exception,” says Mary Lennon, cofounder of côte, adding that “the benefits are undisputed.” This natural nail care brand has two salon locations, and all of their polishes are created free of the major toxins and allergens often associated with nail polish (formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor, formaldehyde resin, TPHP, xylene, ethyl tosylamide, parabens, and gluten).

“We use and recommend our 100 percent organic, cold-pressed Moroccan argan oil as a cuticle softener and all-over moisturizer; you can also opt for jojoba as an alternative,” explains Lennon. “This is best applied to the cuticle base as a final step in your manicure, after your polish application is complete.” Generally speaking, oil and nail polish are not a match made in heaven. Thus, when applying polish, the most important step is to make sure that all the essential oil is removed from the nail prior to polishing.

Remove the right way

An acetone-free liquid polish remover including essential oils is also a great way to erase flaws or remove polish. Lennon explains that Egyptian geranium essential oil, petit grain essential oil, and Tuscan blood orange essential oil are used to add scent without utilizing synthetic fragrance.

Pamper before polishing

“Argan or jojoba oil are a great way to hydrate the nail bed but should not be used immediately prior to polish application,” says Lennon. “If you are taking a break between colors, a day or two of an oil application can be a great moisturizing and hydrating treat for your nails.” She adds that a foot soak utilizing clary sage essential oil is also beneficial in treating nails. “Clary sage essential oil is known for its anti-inflammatory effects, improving circulation and digestion [and providing] stress relief and antioxidant benefits."

Choose the correct carrier

“Pure essential oil can be way too strong for moisturizing directly to cuticles and nails,” explains nail artist and expert Jin Soon. “My recommendation is to mix essential oils in carrier oils like jojoba, coconut, grape seed, olive, and sweet almond oil so it can be diluted as a good moisturizer.” According to this expert, nail ridges stem from diet and/or aging. “To prevent ridges, be sure to take vitamins and moisturize nails after gentle buffing,” advises Soon. “Moisturizing cuticles with an oil that contains vitamin E and protein is best after cuticle grooming, which can be during a manicure.”

Implement these essential oils before heading out to your next mani/pedi for smooth, strong, hydrated nails that will be pampered and protected!