Cheat Sheet: Nail Balms & Cuticle Pens


Have you ever gone for a manicure where the therapist didn't advise you to use some class of oil on your nails as aftercare? Yeh, me neither.

They're not just trying to hawk whatever brand of cuticle oil their salon happens to favour, though. Massaging an oil into your nails and cuticles a couple of times a day will help lock in hydration, which in turn will prevent hangnails and make nails more flexible and less prone to breaking. And if you massage back your cuticles as you work, it'll stop them growing halfway up your nailbed - nice - and then having to be cut back.

Olive oil will do the job nicely if you don't fancy a splurge on a nail-specific new product. If you do, you can take your pick from a myriad of offerings, like Creative Nail Design (CND) Solar Oil - that's the one that's you'll see almost every year in the InStyle Best Beauty Buys - or Leighton Denny Slick Tips or Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil.


All of which is well and good until you think to yourself: given that these bad boys come in nail varnish-alike bottles, complete with a little brush, it's going to be a tad difficult to surreptitiously use them in work without your colleagues spotting that you're tending to your talons.

Looks like a few nail-product-making peeps had the same idea, because most brands now offer more bag-and-desk-friendly options. Mar shampla, you can get your CND oil fix in a handy little golden tin of Solar Balm (could be a tin of paperclips or thumbtacks), or kit yourself out with a Nails Inc. or Dr. Hauschka or Essie Cuticle Oil Pen (could be, well, obviously, a pen. Oooh or a highlighter) and none of your noseyparker workmates need be any the wiser.

Unless you go kicking off the heels, settle back in your chair, put your feet up on the desk, and make a big production of oiling up and industriously massaging your your nails, in which case I just cannae help you!

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