Tuesday, August 19, 2014

DIY Nail & Cuticle Oil

Hi everyone!

As a nail polish blogger it is important to me to always have neat and healthy nails and cuticles. To always keep my hands in perfect condition, I use hand lotion and cuticle balms or oils on a regular basis. Therefore, I keep several hand care products at home, in my purse and at work (I am currently using 5 or 6 different hand lotions, 3 cuticle balms and 2 oils, so it is safe to say I am obsessed with hand care...).

When I first started out in nail polish, the very first product I fell in love with was CND's Solar Oil. The light oil with the marzipan scent still is a staple in my nail care collection. Sadly, this is not easily available here in Germany and oftentimes I run out of it before I manage to order online. Looking at the ingredients of several nail oils I have used up until now I thought it should not be too hard to make one myself at home. The recipe below has been tried and tested by me for a while now and I hope you will find it useful! After the recipe I included a little background information on the components of this oil, in case you are interested in what is doing what to your skin :)

homemade cuticle oil

DIY nail care oil

First up, these are the "chemicals" you need to recreate this recipe. This will make around 20ml of oil.
8ml sweet almond oil
5g lanolin
1ml vitamin e acetate (also sold as tocopherol acetate)
5ml d-panthenol
1ml hydrolized wheat protein
2 drops essential lime oil
2 drops essential lemon oil

nail and cuticle oil

These are the tools you need:
kitchen scales
measuring spoons
small pan
small beacker or jug
stirring staff (spoon will work as well)
spatula (again, a spoon will do, too)
cleaned out polish bottles

selfmade nail oil

First up, you want to heat up a bit of water in your pan. This will serve as our waterbath. The water does not need to boil (you do not want the water to splash into your oil). Next, in your small beaker or measuring jug, weigh in the almond oil and the lanolin. The lanolin is a gooey paste and to dissolve it in the oil, we need to melt it in the waterbath.

cuticle oil selfmade

nail oil

Stir the mixture from time to time. When the lanolin has melted completely, remove the pan from heat and take out your beaker (careful, this may be hot!).

homemade nail oil

Once the oil-lanolin mixture has cooled down a bit, stir in the remaining ingredients. You should end up with a slightly thick and turbid solution. Now all you have to do is fill the oil into your clean bottles and you're ready to go.

In case you are wondering what the ingredients do, here is a little more background info on the individual components.

Sweet almond oil: A light and moisturizing oil pressed from the kernels of sweet almond seeds. It is used as an occlusive skin-conditioning agent, meaning it will retain the moisture in your skin. I like it because it is a light oil and easily absorbed into the skin. This is also the main component of my beloved Solar Oil. You can exchange this to olive oil, jojoba oil, pumpkin seed oil or wheat germ oil, depending on your personal preferences.

Lanolin: This is also known as wool fat, a greasy substance that is secreted from the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals like sheep. It helps the animals in shedding water from their coats. Sounds gross, I know. But in fact, this is a very common ingredient of various ointments (it is the main component in the popular Bite Agave Lip Mask). It serves as an emollient. Once it's sunken into the skin, there will be no greasy residue. Strictly speaking, this is not a vegan ingredient, but bare in mind that lanolin is recovered from the animal without pain - it is simply washed from the wool after the sheep is shorn.

Vitamin E: antioxidant, meaning it protects your cells from damage by free radicals, which are associated with premature aging. Moreover, it reduces transepidermal water loss from skin and strengthens the skin's barrier function.

D-panthenol: is derived from vitamin B5 and acts as a lubricant on the skin surface.

Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: contains a protein fraction from wheat. This substance can appear under several guises/synonyms, such as ‘wheat hydrolysate’, ‘enzyme-modified gluten’, ‘wheat peptides’ and others. In skin care products it is used to hydrate and improve moisture content.

Essential lime/lemon oil: I mainly choose these oils, because I love the lemony scent (think Lush Lemony Flutter or Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Butter). Luckily lime and lemon oil also have skin care benefits. They are astringent and antiseptic, meaning they can fight germs. Again, you can exchange the oil according to your personal preference. Other oils I like are lavender, tea tree or orange oil, but feel free to experiment until you find your favorite combination!

I admit not everyone might have these components at home. I bought mine online from a shop that specialized in home-made cosmetics. All these ingredients weren't too expensive and considering how much oil I can actually make from them, my DIY nail oil is much cheaper than my Solar Oil - and it works just as well!
Of course you can always skip one or more of the ingredients if you cannot get them or do not want to spend money on them. A fast and cheaper alternative would be to just mix an oil of your choice with a few drops of essential oil and maybe a few nice dried flowers (like in the NfuOh cuticle oil) and you have your super quick, no fuss cuticle oil.

Phew, lengthy post, I apologize. But I really felt like I had to include a little background information on what all these ingredients do for your skin and why I added them. I firmly believe that all the components are harmless and I would not share this protocol with you if it did not work for me. However, everyone's body chemistry is different and thus, products might perform differently on your skin. Please let me know if you have tried this recipe and how it worked for you!
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