Now that we have the composition of cuticle oil down (oh you don’t? read about it here!) it’s time to explore my next favorite cuticle product – cuticle balm. Many balms are also referred to as a creams or butters, essentially a very thick product. The primary ingredients that cuticle balms are composed of include waxes, hydrating ingredients, carrier oils, essential oils and fatty alcohols. Since I covered carrier oils and essential oils in my last post we’ll skip those this time.
Beeswax and plant waxes are the most widely used waxes in cuticle balms. They are crystalline structures composed of a variety of compounds like esters, long-chain hydrocarbons, fatty acids, ketones, aldehydes (honestly a bunch of things you don’t need to be concerned with for this post). The most important part of wax is its ability to change physical states. You know what I’m talking about – think of your favorite candle. If you light it on fire or even just rub your fingers (i.e. raising its temperature) over the wax it will liquefy. This phase-change is the same reaction that is happening when you use a cuticle balm. By rubbing the wax on our skin it’s temperature increases, becomes softened, and effectively penetrates and moisturizes the skin. But wait wouldn’t the wax phase-change back into a solid and turn your nail into a white solid mess once the temperature is lowered? That’s why cuticle balms are more than waxes – they contain ingredients that help the product stay a soft liquid and make your cuticles nice and hydrated.
Formulating-wise the ratio of wax to other liquid ingredients will determine whether this product is more balm-like or butter-like. Ingredients, like fatty alcohols, will help with the product viscosity (how thick or thin it is).
Fatty alcohols are crazy common cosmetic ingredients if you look at the names (Cetearyl, cetyl, myristyl, and behenyl alcohol) of a few I’m sure you’d realize its use in hair, skin, nail and makeup products.
So here we go: fatty alcohols are high-molecular-weight straight chain alcohols (the chemical formula will end with a –OH) they can vary in length and consistency. These compounds can exist as colorless oily liquids or thick waxy substances, which gives formulators a variety of possibilities when using fatty alcohols. Additionally, fatty alcohols can act as surfactants and emulsifiers (read here) to keep the cuticle balm oil and solid ingredients from separating.
Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream: Honestly my HG cuticle cream, I’ve been using this product for years and find it particularly helpful during dry, humidity controlled lab days. The lemon scent makes my fingers feel super clean and the balm is just thick enough to help out any cracked cuticles without a film-like feeling.
Ingredients: prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, beeswax, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax, beta-carotenerosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, tocopherol, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, glycine soja (soybean) oil, canola oil, vegetable oil
Mojo Spa’s Finger Fluff: Okay let’s just start with the name. Are you kidding me?? Finger Fluff – I was sold instantly. This cuticle product is a buttery whipped potion that cures my dried out cuticles and doesn’t leave any residue. The smell is out of this world – pumpkin and almond make me feel like I’m in an enteral state of fall. This cuticle butter has replaced my aforementioned HG product and comes with me everywhere as my cuticle refresher throughout the day.
Ingredients: Coconut oil, emulsifying wax, stearic acid, beeswax, shea butter, lanolin, castor oil, Grapeseed oil, pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, almond oil, liquid lechithin, citric acid, baking soda, borax, Vitamin C, water, herb water (infused with rosemary, thyme, juniper berries, cardamom, lavender, lemon peel, grapefruit peel, and orange peel), cornstarch, colloidal oatmeal, mica, superfine silk powder, vitamin E, germaben, lemon essential oil, and fragrance
Mojo Spa Midas Touch Hand Balm: The label of this travel size balm reads “Dad Tested & Approved” to which I scoffed at the thought of any “manly” man wanting to use a balm from a brand whose primary color scheme is pink and more pink. However, after using the product once I realized that their label is 100% accurate. Essentially what I’m saying is that I’m not the biggest fan of this product and that may be because I am no dad – I’m not hustling around fixing things, wrangling kids and not following a skincare routine. This product is super thick, isn’t strongly scented and provides a heavy layer of hydration. Honestly, this product is perfectly designed for guys who claim they don’t want to use a hand balm but desperately need one.
Ingredients: Shea butter, grapeseed oil, lanolin, almond oil, castor oil, coconut oil, beeswax, colloidal oatmeal, cornstarch, china white clay, titanium dioxide, mica, superfine silk powder, vitamin E, essential oils (lavender, palmarosa, orange, peppermint, fir needle, litsea, tea tree, sage), fragrance, and white quartz crystal
So part two of my cuticles products is over! Honestly, I’m having way too much fun with these posts and will definitely be doing additional similar ones. So – what are you favorite cuticle balms? I’d love to get some more recommendations!
The Finger Fluff and Midas Touch Hand Balm were provided to me for review purposes from MojoSpa and did not affect my opinion.