I like Solar Oil and it smells great, but I think it works just okay. It keeps cuticles soft if you use it often, but it takes a long time to soak in. I like Haken cuticle oil from Sally's because they have great scents and it's much cheaper, but my favorite is Orly Cuticle Care oil because it works better and is cheaper.
I used this product for a long time. When I was using it, I'd buy the larger, more economical size, a little over two ounces. I loved the round glass bottle and brush applicator. I've saved quite a few of them, actually. The brush makes it convenient to apply the oil just where I want. However, I won't be buying it anymore because it is far cheaper to mix up my own blend of oils and refill the bottles I have with my own blend. Solar Oil is jojoba oil, rice bran oil, sweet almond oil, and a little vitamin E. I have found that a blend of jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and macademia nut oil with a little vitamin E oil works just as well. I buy these ingredients for far less at a local health food store (I use NOW brand jojoba and macademia nut oil. They are the cheapest). Solar Oil is perhaps more convenient as it is already mixed. However, if you get tired of paying a lot or if you use more than a little of Solar Oil, consider the alternatives.
I just realized that I've been using Solar Oil for twenty years! It's the best cuticle and nail oil I've ever tried, and it actually penetrates instead of just sitting on top of the skin. When I was a nail tech, I sold more bottles of Solar Oil than I did anything else; people are generally hooked after the first use!
It is a little pricy at retail, so look around a bit before purchasing at CVS or Ulta.
I just purchased this product and only started using it yesterday, so I can't yet rate everything about it. But with my limited experience, I have to say that my cuticles do look better than before. Not great (I have extremely dry skin on my hands, especially when it gets colder out) but definately better and I feel more time is needed to see if there is any additional improvement.
However, I manicured my nails last night and my polish didn't dry very fast (it never does as I use a base coat, a treatment coat, usually 2 coats of polish, and a top coat). So I have many layers to dry, which usually presents a problem. But I started to think about that I read on MUA that this oil is also good for drying nail polish. So I decided to try it out and brushed it over my nails. Almost immediately, the tackiness was gone and I was able to go to bed without the fear of sheet marks. This product is a GREAT polish dryer!
It is oily, as others have mentioned, but when I needed to do something with my hands and didn't want to stain what I had touched, I simply washed my hands first. Of course, it must be better to allow the oil to soak in, but sometimes there is just not enough time.
I do enjoy the almond scent of the oil and do not find it to be overpowering at all.
Due to my limited experience with this product, I haven't deducted any lippies because of my cuticles not being perfect. They absolutely do show improvement so, at this point, that is good enough for me.
I paid A LOT for this oil at CVS ($9.99 for 1/2 oz.) but now I know it is available much more reasonably elsewhere.
Update-10/10/09-I know it's a little soon for an update, but I wanted to mention that my cuticles are improving greatly. Also, I used this again to dry my polish and, once more, it dried incredibly fast. I have some polish that is terribly difficult to dry (Duri) and I'm going to try it with that. I am really not expecting much, but I'll let you know!
I remove my polish at night in preparation for my weekly manicure the following morning. I massage Solar Oil into my nails to restore my nails' moisture level overnight. I also use it after my manicure to set the polish.
I really love this. I think I may love the smell the most, it smells like sweet almonds. I like how it shines my nails and makes them feel more healthy. I don't wear nail polish so I just put this on in the evenings before bed or while I'm sitting at my desk working.
The bottle isn't the most attractive thing, just looks like a bottle of clear nail polish.
I will definitely be buying this again.
Let me tell you about my little experiment with solar oil. My nails have been brittle for a couple of years now, they are very strong but lack flexibility completely. When they meet a hard object they brake not just tear but completely break off and fly through the air. Tried nail hardeners nail hydrators which makes them break even more. These products make my nails even more dehydrated, I noticed after application that the nail visibly shrinks if you look at it from the free edge it is curled. I first noticed it when I tried to clean under the nails I could not use my other nail to do job (disgusting I know) I had to use an orange stick because the nail curled so much that it looked like half a circle. Sometimes this curling or shrinking is painful. Here comes solar oil, apply it on the nail and I like watching it being completely absorbed by the nail, spooky! The oil indeed goes inside the nail so to speak, it takes about 15 minutes and the result: my nails are flexible. Why would you want flexible nails that bend? Picture a dried out branch that has fallen off the tree and one that is on the tree still, now try and break them, the fallen dry one will snap in two the one on the tree would bend and then return.
I don't use this as a daily cuticle oil like other reviewers, so I really can't judge its performance as a treatment. However, I apply it to my nails before my manicure and it makes a tremendous difference in how my base coat and polish go on. After filing, pushing back my cuticles, etc., I apply Solar Oil to my nails and cuticles and massage it in. I wait five or so minutes, then I remove the oil with nail polish remover. Be thorough about removing it or else your nail polish won't adhere smoothly. Then I apply my base coat and nail polish as usual. Something about the Solar Oil makes my base coat go on much more smoothly than without using it. It's as if it fills in the microscopic dents and rough spots on your nails. I don't have smooth, pretty nails, but if I use this, my base coat goes shinier and glassier. It's well worth the extra effort.
I have very dry cuticles and although this feels nice at night when I put it on, it just isn't effective enough to really make a difference. The next morning my cuticles have hydrated just a bit. I don't have any nail issues (diseases), and I don't use harsh soaps and am not a frequent hand washer (nurse, etc). So as an average consumer, I was expecting more.
This stuff is the shiz! I love it, it's my go to cuticle oil, i've been using it for years and it keeps my cuticles and nails in great and moisturized condition.
Complaints that it is oily and greasy are accurate, but i don't know what one expects from an ... um.. oil.
the smell is fab if you're into heavy almondy smells otherwise i recomend that you try to smell it b4 you buy, bcs i know some who think it's overpowering.