Jojoba oil is a natural, vegan, and often organic moisturizer. Rather than being a true oil, jojoba oil is actually a liquid wax. It is extracted from the seed of the jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) plant, a shrub native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico.1 Jojoba oil is similar to the oil naturally occurring on human skin, which makes using jojoba oil as a moisturizer ideal.
When using water-based nail polishes it is best to avoid hand moisturizers that contain oil or emollients (substances that soften the skin). Oil repels water. Therefore, if your nails are oily when you apply a water-based nail polish, the oil will repel the polish and prevent it from properly adhering to your nails. Since jojoba oil is really a wax, it is better for use with water-based nail polishes than moisturizers containing oil.
Some brands of water-based nail polishes, such as Scotch Naturals, recommend applying a drop of jojoba oil to each nail before buffing your nails, to re-hydrate them. However, do not just slather on some jojoba oil and then paint your nails right away with a water-based nail polish. Jojoba oil still repels water and can prevent the polish from sticking to your fingernails if it has not soaked into your nails. I made this mistake once, and both the Acquarella and Scotch Natural nail polish I had applied peeled off. And neither of those are peel-off formulas! I only recommend using jojoba oil to prep your nails if you are going to thoroughly buff your nails with all sides of the nail buffer. I tried putting some jojoba oil on my nails and only using the smoother sides of my buffer and the oil dissolved the outer layer of the nail buffer!
Currently, I use jojoba oil about once a day as a cuticle oil. I massage it into my cuticles, beside my nails and into any calluses. The best time to apply it is right after bathing, to lock in the moisture. It has a nutty smell and leaves my hands feeling a bit oily. Because of the residue, I only like to use jojoba oil once a day and use a regular hand moisturizer throughout the day. An oil free lotion would be ideal, but I have not yet tried one. Instead, I try to avoid using hand lotion before painting my nails. One oil free moisturizer that may work with water-based nail polish is Stony Brook Botanicals Body Lotion-Oil & Fragrance Free – 16 oz. – Lotion. If you know of an oil free lotion that works well, please let me know!
One of the popular brands of jojoba oil, which is available on Amazon, is Desert Essence Jojoba Oil for Hair, Skin & Scalp 4 fl oz (120 ml). I also like the Ultrabalm from LUSH because it is more of a creamy consistency instead of a liquid. The ingredients in Ultrabalm are Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis), Candelilla Wax (Euphorbia cerifera), and Rose Wax (Rosa damascena).