As a nail tech, everyone asks how I keep my natural nails so long—this under-£10 product is the reason

Yes, it's the thing your nail tech nags you about

CND Solar Oil
(Image credit: Getty Images / royalty-free)

As a beauty editor and nail tech—whose go-to type of manicure is fairly long almond shape—there’s a question I’m constantly asked: how do you get your nails to grow so quickly? 

Now, a lot of it is down to genetics and lifestyle (jewels not tools, people) but the one thing I’ve always been consistent with is cuticle oil. There’s a reason your nail tech bangs on about using it so much. It really can transform the health of your nails, and subsequently, the length. 

There’s one particular cuticle oil, CND’s solar oil, that I always have a few (read: many) bottles dotted around nearby; my desk, car and handbag. So, in a bid to help those of you who want to ditch the short nails and achieve the long nails you've always dreamed of, consider this my love letter to CND’s Solar Oil

CND Solar Oil

(Image credit: CND)

What is cuticle oil? 

Cuticle oil is essentially a blend of lightweight nut and fruit oils that penetrate the skin surrounding the nail and hydrate the area. In turn, this keeps the areas around the nails from drying out (read: no hangnails), keeps the nails healthy and strong and promotes nail growth. 

What makes CND Solar Oil such a great formula is the blend of jojoba oil, rice bran oil, sweet almond oil and vitamin E. It’s ultra lightweight, sinks into the skin instantly and doesn’t feel greasy or annoying. 

You’ll either love the CND Solar Oil fragrance or… you won’t. Surprisingly, it’s not my favourite. I actually prefer a more citrus-y scent when it comes to cuticle oils; this definitely has the almond coming through, so it smells like marzipan. However, this should be a testament to how good the formula is because it’s still my go-to despite not adoring the scent. 

CND Solar Oil

(Image credit: CND)

How does cuticle oil help nails? 

Cuticle oil improves both the health of your nails and the appearance of them. The most obvious reason being that they don't look dry and hangnails are dramatically reduced. The second is helping repair brittle nails thanks to the reparative ingredients. Regular application of oil helps keep the tissue at the base of the nail (where it actually grows) healthy, which in turn, makes nails grow stronger, giving a better chance for quicker growth, too. Essentially, just like barrier function on your face, cuticle oil helps keep the skin barrier of the nail in great shape. 

If you’re a keen extension wearer (hard gel or acrylic) then cuticle oil keeps the material ever so slightly flexible. Although this might not sound like a good thing because you want to keep your nails strong and sturdy, it actually does just that. If your nails aren’t flexible, they’re more prone to chipping and breaking. 

The key to actually keeping up the habit of cuticle oil all lies in the formula and the application method. That’s why I always recommend CND to people. It’s a non-greasy formula that doesn’t feel suffocating or get in the way. 

The product comes in a few different bottles, too. You’ve got your standard cuticle oil bottle, which is what I keep by my bed and desk (I do one for each, which I recommend if you really want to keep the habit up). A pen for in the car (if you drive) and your handbag means you can use it on the go easily and it coats your cuticles just enough without flooding them. And then also the tiniest, cutest bottle of oil to use when travelling. 

Beauty Contributor

Tori is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor for Marie Claire. She has written for various titles, including Allure, Glamour, Elle, Refinery29, Brides, and more. Currently training to be a nail tech, Tori is a total nail enthusiast and always has time to talk all things nail art. When she’s not writing about beauty and testing products, Tori can be found walking her rescue dog Pip, drinking great coffee, and eating as many croissants as humanly possible.