The best DIY nail cuticle oil ever

Caring for our nails should be part our our daily hand hygiene and health routine, so to make this a reality, we’ve a super easy DIY nail cuticle oil you can formulate with just 5 common botanical oils.

First, let’s take a look at what we mean by nails, cuticles and the nail bed in order to understand the best natural ingredients to nourish and nurture our nails.

Why nail care matters

Nail grooming is essential for everyone as it contributes to our overall appearance with many of us viewing well-manicured nails as a form of self-expression and a way to enhance our overall style. However, our everyday activities along with lifestyle, hobbies and our occupation tend to define the quality of our nails, as much as our genotype or diet.

Although nail care has been overshadowed by skincare for many years, it has seen a resurgence especially during and after the Covid years in which we had to DIY our nail care when nail bars and salons were closed.

We should all be encouraged to change our perception of our nails and hands and to pay more attention to them whether we’re fans or not of nail polish and nail salons. See our podcast on some safety issues relating to gel manicures in which we shed light on the vulnerability of our hand skin and nails.

Episode 165: Revolutionising the nail industry – the mission of MANISAFE (gloves to protect hands from lamp UV and other stressors during gel manicures)

An important part of nail grooming is keeping nails in good condition. Thanks to the use of different types of cosmetic products, including cleansers, moisturisers, masks and oils, we can improve nail strength, enhance nail growth, and make them clean, flexible, hydrated, brittle-free and shiny.

Since the main material of the nail plate, keratin, is the same as that present in our hair, the ingredients used in nail care are similar to those found in haircare products. Marketed products often contain emollients, humectants, conditioning actives or ingredients (hydrolysed proteins) that restore the healthy appearance of weak, brittle nails.

how to make a nail cuticle oil

Anatomy of our nails

Let’s take a closer look at nail anatomy first:

Nail matrix – this is the base of the nail where new nail plate cells are produced. This part contains nerves along with lymph and blood vessels. It plays a crucial role in determining the shape and thickness of the nail. As the new plate cells are produced, they push the older ones forward, making them compressed and transparent. This is the basic mechanism of how the nail plate is produced (how the nail grows).

Nail plate – this is what we commonly refer to as a nail and what we usually think of when talking about nails. It is the visible, hard area from the nail root to the free edge. This part is made of several layers of keratin protein, and is very flexible and transparent. It is strongly attached to the tissue below, which is called a nail matrix (closer to the base) or nail bed (closer to the tip). The nail plate itself does not contain any blood vessels or nerve endings.

Cuticle (cuticle fold) – this is the thin, transparent layer of skin that extends from the edge of the nail plate over the base of the nail. It acts as a protective barrier, sealing the space between the nail plate and the surrounding skin.

Eponychium – this is a small fold of skin at the very base of the nail. It forms a protective covering over the matrix, which is the area of the nail bed where nail cells are produced. The eponychium helps keep bacteria and debris from entering the matrix and potentially causing infections. Both eponychium and the cuticle are the areas we target when talking about cuticle oils or nail treatments. Cuticle and eponychium tend to be confused, although they have different roles in nail physiology.

Hyponychium – there is one more important area to mention. The hyponychium is the area of skin under the free edge of the nail. The hyponychium helps seal the area beneath the nail, preventing foreign materials from entering and it also provides some protection to the nail bed.

best ever nail cuticle oil to make at home

What is a cuticle oil?

Cuticle oils are the most popular nail care treatments. They are moisturising products typically derived from vegetable oils, plant extracts, vitamins, and some aromatherapeutic compounds such as essential oils. Cuticle oils are often used as a final step after a manicure/pedicure, but can be used any time of day to keep the nails smooth, shiny and treated.

Since oils are highly occlusive, they provide moisturising and non-direct hydrating properties and greatly improve the health and longevity of nails and cuticles. They can be applied straight onto the nail plate and cuticle and gently massaged for a minute or so. Regular nail treatment may bring long-term benefits in the quality and visual appearance of the nail and surrounding skin.

Ingredients in our DIY nail cuticle oil

Hemp seed oil – rich in fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential for maintaining skin moisture, hemp seed oil has emollient properties to help prevent water loss from the skin. This makes it an effective natural treatment for dry skin and nails.

Castor oil – composed mainly of ricinoleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, castor oil is suitable for addressing certain skin and nail conditions.

Grape seed oil – known for its lightweight and non-greasy texture, it is fast absorbing.

Tocopherol (vitamin E) – this antioxidant helps protect and extend the shelf life of oil ingredients that are prone to oxidation.

Calendula flower extract – known for its anti-inflammatory properties, calendula flower extract is beneficial for soothing irritated and inflamed skin. It can be used in formulations to help calm redness and reduce skin sensitivity. Its natural compounds make it suited to products designed to support skin recovery.

Blue tansy essential oil – this essential oil is rich in chamazulene, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes the oil valuable for soothing irritated or inflamed skin.

Our formulation: Best-ever DIY nail cuticle oil

formulate a natural nail oil

Makes: recommended trial batch size: approx. 100g
Formulation: mainly a cold-process formulation (one oil requires gentle heating).
Time taken: 10 minutes.
Level: beginner-level formulation to personalise and adapt.

A Hemp seed oil Cannabis sativa seed oil 62.00
A Wheat germ oil Triticum vulgare germ oil 15.00
A Castor oil Ricinus communis seed oil 3.00
A Grape seed oil Vitis vinifera seed oil 10.00
A Jojoba oil Simmondsia chinensis seed oil 8.40
B Vitamin E Tocopherol 1.00
C Calendula flower extract Calendula officinalis flower extract 0.10
D Lavender essential oil Lavandula angustifolia flower oil 0.40
D Blue tansy essential oil Tanacetum annuum flower oil 0.10
Total: 100.00


  • Scales
  • Stainless steel bowls
  • Stainless steel spoons
  • Glass rods
  • Protective gloves
  • Suitable container (ie. dropper bottle with pipette)

Method of Manufacture

  1. Preparation

    Sanitise your utensils and work area, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment and follow Good Manufacturing Practice. (Not sure how? Enrol for Formula Botanica’s Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation).

  2. Weight out and blend the 5 oils

    Weigh out the hemp seed oil, wheat germ oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, and grape seed oil and place into a clean and disinfected beaker together. Then mix them together well.

  3. Vitamin E

    Weigh out the tocopherol and blend it properly with the 5 oils.

  4. Calendula extract

    Add calendula extract, and heat the oil blend gently to 30°C in order to dissolve this very thick ingredient easier. Once it’s fully dissolved, mix it in properly.

  5. Essential oils

    Add the essential oils.

  6. Bottle

    Decant into a suitable container, label with name, date and batch number. A dropper bottle is ideal for this type of product.

Formulation tips

This is a simple oil-based formula containing traditional, but highly-efficient ingredients. You can make your own selection of oil-based or oil-soluble materials if you want to personalise this formula. When formulating with natural plant oils that are prone to oxidation, always use an antioxidant. You can use tocopherol or rosemary extract to prevent oxidation. Since this is a waterless formula, we do not need to add a preservative.

Suggested suppliers

Many of the suppliers below ship internationally. We indicate their country or regional base.
Aromazone (EU).
Aromantic (UK)
Alexmo Cosmetics (EU)
Manske (EU)
Soap Kitchen (UK)
Elemental (EU)
Lotioncrafter (USA)
Essential Wholesale (USA)
Go Native (New Zealand)
Naturally Balmy (UK)
O&3 – The Oil Family (UK, EU)
Soap & More (Canada)


How to become an
Organic Skincare Formulator

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How to become an
Organic Skincare Entrepreneur

Join over 100,000 other Formulators

By providing your details, you agree to receive additional educational & marketing emails from Formula Botanica, which further introduce our curriculum. Your data is never shared or sold. Read our Privacy Policy.


How to become an
Organic Skincare Entrepreneur

Join over 100,000 other Formulators

By providing your details, you agree to receive additional educational & marketing emails from Formula Botanica, which further introduce our curriculum. Your data is never shared or sold. Read our Privacy Policy.

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The best DIY nail cuticle oil ever

Miroslava is a grading tutor at Formula Botanica. She has a Ph.D in neuroscience, expertise in biology and chemistry, and a lifelong passion for natural cosmetic formulation.

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