I love doing my nails and my cuticles can get really dry from all the acetone polish remover. One product that always restores my cuticles (and skin around my nail) is the Essie Cuticle Pen.
It smells delicious; like tangerine, I think. It's easy to work with - just click the end to dispense the product and brush it on (a step by step tutorial is listed below).
I picked up my Essie Cuticle Pen at Trade Secret in a 50% off sale. It retails for $6, which is still a good price, and I'm mad at myself for not buying more than one.
Here's what it look likes:
Here is what it looks like when the cream/oil comes to the brush head:
Now step by step...
Step 1: Apply the cuticle cream to your cuticles. Usually one drop is more than enough for one finger and I'll use one twist application for an entire hand. It just depends on how much product I twisted up or how dry my skin is (I might want extra that day).
Step 2: Apply the cuticle cream down to the sides of the nail too - nourishing all skin around your nail. This step is optional, but I like doing it because I feel extra conditioned. And it's not a traditional cuticle cream whose purpose is strictly to dissolve the cuticle. That's not the case at all with this.
Step 3: Massage the cuticle cream into your cuticles (and skin around your nail). I allow it to set for 1 to 2 minutes, but it's up to you how long you want to wait (anymore than 5 minutes really isn't doing much and if you remove it too quickly you won't get the benefits from it). After you've waited a minute or two you can then push back your cuticles if needed (never cut them), followed by removing all excess cuticle cream with a paper towel.
Keep in mind if you have any cuticle cream on your actual nail you may run into problems with polish application. You can take a q-tip and dip it into polish remover (a non-acetone is what I use for this step) and wipe off the nail (not the skin around the nail). What could happen is streaky polish application, or "spots" from where the polish could not adhere to the nail properly.
Here is my before/after pic:
You can see my skin is dry in the first pic but more nourished in the second pic. It looks healthier.
In case anyone asks, the nail polish I have on is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in Blue Me Away! as the base blue color and Deborah Lippman in Happy Birthday as the glitter (I've had this manicure on for a few days which explains the chipping).