Before you moisturize, prep your cuticles. Take a shower or soak your fingers in lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes to make sure the cuticles are soft and pliable. Then check to see if your cuticles look overgrown or thick. If so, push them back gently -- but never use a metal tool to do so [source: Bouchez].
Once your cuticles are prepped, it's time to moisturize. Don't reach for your everyday hand or body lotion, though. These products won't be up to the job. The skin on the cuticle is much more delicate and requires a product designed to deliver heavy moisture with a gentle touch.
If your cuticles are dry but haven't detached from the nail, buy some cuticle cream. Look for ones that have citric acids, which are more effective moisturizers. You should choose moisturizers that contain petroleum, glycerin, shea butter or safflower seed oil [source: Bruno]. These natural moisturizers do wonders for your cuticles as well as your hands.
For detached cuticles, cuticle oil may be the best choice. Cuticle oils are usually made of a combination of enriched vegetable oils, flaxseed oil or citric acids. The oil provides an intense hydration, allowing the cuticle to repair itself and reattach to the nail. They should be used sparingly, though, as the cuticles could become used to such deep hydration, making it almost impossible to use anything else in the future.
For cracked cuticles, try more intensive treatment with vitamin E oil, which you can find in most drug stores [source: Bruno]. Shea butter also works wonders on cracked cuticles. You can find this common ingredient in hand creams and body butters at any health food store [source: Monroe]. If you have no time to go to beauty or health food stores, throw some almond or olive oil in the cart while you're out grocery shopping. Just rub it in the cuticles like any other cuticle oil for the same results.
Just remember to be patient while you're revamping your cuticles. It may take several days to see results -- but the benefits will be long-lasting.
You'll want to keep your newly moisturized fingertips looking their best. Read on to learn how tasty ingredients from your kitchen can cook up a recipe for healthy cuticles.