Winter is a hard time, even over in my neck of the woods where we have about a week of chilly but not all in a row. But our normally humid climate dries out, and everywhere you go people have their heaters cranked up...drying the air even more. It is hell on my skin. Thankfully, I have a collection of things that help me out.
Trader Joe's Vitamin E Oil
This stuff is never far from my nail kit. It is simply vitamin E in coconut and soybean oil, and I love it. No scent, no additives, just wonderful oil. I find that if I apply this after a manicure, it keeps my cuticles from turning super hard and dry. Which, in turn, keeps me from picking at them. This stuff is best used when your hands are damp and soft. You can also use this stuff all over if you like. Many or the reviews I've read mention using it to soothe pregnancy induced itchy skin...and I definitely can see that. I would avoid using this on your face as coconut oil is pretty high on the comedogenic scale.
The Body Shop Vitamin E Hand and Nail Treatment
This stuff has been mentioned on the blog before. It is my go-to hand cream, and has been for 16 years. I love it. (I remember when it was less than $10...) I have noticed that I need vitamin E to keep my hands, nails, and cuticles happy. I tend to buy this during the "buy three, get three" promotions so that I don't have to worry about running out. It does have a slightly flowery, soapy scent...but I don't find it overpowering. A dime sized dollup after each hand washing keeps my nails and cuticles in good general shape.
Lush's Lemony Flutter
This is the holy grail for loads of lacquerheads. I had never tried it, so a dear friend sent me a tub. I actually do enjoy it. Because its generally cool here year round, it stays pretty solid which is nice for travel. But it melts nicely on the skin, has a fresh lemony smell, and will last a long time. I tend to take a tiny bit and rub it into my nail beds in between polish changes. My only complaint is that it is quite oily on the skin which makes it shiny in pictures. I'm not sure I'd qualify this as a "must have" for me just yet.
Baroness X Royal Oil Cuticle Pen
Demi from Baroness X actually sent me this with my very first swatch package. This thing comes in a bajillion different scents...and thankfully unscented. I chose unscented (because I always do when given the choice) and I was over-the-moon happy to find that it really has no extra smells. It smells like argan oil (which is pretty neutral. Just a warm, slightly nutty smell) and nothing else.
This one is with me always. Because I chose unscented, this is really a multi-purpose oil for me. I tend to get very sensitive, very itchy spots all over the place (hooray being old). Through much trial-and-error, I have found that oils like jojoba and argan seem to soothe and heal these spots very quickly. I keep this pen in my pocket or purse whenever I'm going to be out of the house for more than a few hours just in case.
This is one of those things that I just can't believe that people don't use more often. It really is a wonder product. Got a torn cuticle? A broken, bloodied nail? A dry, sad, ragged fingertip? Vaseline will cure what ails you. I absolutely love this stuff. My preferred method with this is to apply some warmed vitamin E oil to my skin, and then apply a thin layer of Vaseline. The Vaseline will lock that stuff in there and keep it from being absorbed by fabrics or just disappearing into the ether. This is another multi-use product. It is good for your whole body, not just your hands. You can buy this in the travel section for about a buck, and you'd be hard pressed to use it up in a year. I suggest buying multiples and stashing them everywhere.
Now that you know what my favorite things for managing my cuticles are, why don't you share some of yours? Is there something that I left out of this list that I must try? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see what I can do!
Oh, and for the sake of thoroughness, check out what Makeup Alley has to say:
Makeup Alley's reviews for Vaseline
Makeup Alley's reviews for Lush's Lemony Flutter
Makeup Alley's reviews for The Body Shop's Hand and Nail Treatment
Makeup Alley's reviews for Trader Joe's Vitamin E Oil