nail care

Review: Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator and Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil by Butter London

Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator

Butter London Cuticle Miracle Kit, £16

If you’ve read any of my previous nail-related posts here, you’ll probably know that my cuticles are the bane of my life. OK, that’s not totally true: The Others are the REAL bane of my life. My cuticles are almost as annoying, though. They are long. They are dry. They are ragged. They grow so quickly that I can push them back one day, and they’ll be threatening to take over my hands two days later. They’re the reason you’ll rarely see any of those “hands clutching a bottle of nail polish” shots on this blog, because my cuticles are such an embarrassment to me that I rarely ever WEAR nail polish, let alone take close-up photos of the stuff. I mean, perish the thought!

I did, however, post one such shot on Instagram last weekend, and if you’re looking for someone to blame for that, you can blame the folks at Butter London, whose Cuticle Miracle Kit allowed me to feel la little bit better about the state of my nails. Not so much better that I’m going to take up nail art or anything like that, of course, but enough that I didn’t feel the need to walk around with my nails curled into my palms, like I normally do, because yes, my cuticles are THAT bad, seriously.

Now, as you can see, this little kit cost me £16. This was kind of a big deal for me, because despite the fact that it was described as a “miracle”, I had very little faith at all that it would actually work. Well, nothing else has, so why would this be any different? I decided to press ahead with the purchase anyway, though, because honestly, I was desperate. I’d also read a number of reviews from people who absolutely RAVED about Melt Away, claiming that it really was an OMGMIRACLE. “You brush it on,” the reviews all said breathlessly, “and the next thing you know, the cuticles are gone, AS IF BY MAGIC!”

Look, I’m not proud of this, but I’m a complete and utter sucker for claims like that. You know all those weird products you see on infomercials, that you look at and think, “Who on earth buys this crap?” THIS GIRL, that’s who. And even although I don’t actually believe in any of the claims, there’s always a tiny little part of my tiny little brain which secretly thinks I’ll look like Keira Knightley if I just buy the right face cream. It’s a life of constant disappointment, seriously.

Anyway, I ordered the kit and started using it as soon as I’d freed it from its cardboard prison. First I tried the Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator, of “brush it on, wait for miracle to happen,” fame. The deal here is that you apply it to your cuticles, wait a couple of minutes, then gently push them back with an orange stick or similar, and POOF! Cuticles be gone!

Yeah, not so much.

This product DID work, but I’ll be honest: it took multiple applications – at least half a dozen, I’d say – for the cuticles to be “eliminated” (Which sounds so sinister, don’t you think?), and in the meantime they looked pretty rough. Rougher than usual, I mean. After each application, I’d diligently push them back, and sure enough, SOME of the cuticles would come away with the product itself, but not enough for me to fall to my knees and proclaim that a miracle had taken place. In other words, the cuticles didn’t so much MELT away as they grudgingly were FORCED away, muttering as they went about how this was SO UNFAIR and how they would NEVER FORGIVE ME. In defence of the product, however, I can’t stress enough that mine are not your average cuticles. They’re super-stubborn, and were in a really terrible state to begin with, so I would imagine that if you were a normal person, with nice, normal nails, you’d probably have much better luck with this.

After each application of Melt Away, I would follow up with a dose of the Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil, which is basically the Good Twin to Melt Away‘s Evil Twin:

Butter London Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil

I have no idea what this has to do with handbags, or, indeed, holidays, because it’s actually a cuticle oil (Is it hard to think about holidays/handbags without thinking about cuticle oil? You tell me…), and a pretty good one at that.  Once Melt Away has done the dirty work, and the cuticles are cowering in the corner, shaken and terrified, Handbag Holiday steps in to make reassuring noises and sooth them with a nice, nourishing oil treatment. I loved Handbag Holiday: it smells a bit like sun oil (Aaaah! All becomes clear!) and it leaves the cuticles looking smoother and healthier, which is exactly what it claims to do.

As for Melt Away : well, despite the fact that it took me quite a few applications to notice any real difference, the difference I DO notice at the end of that process is enough that I would probably re-purchase it once this bottle runs out. The good thing about that, however, is that I actually can’t imagine it ever actually running out: the photos on this post were taken after I’d used both of these products multiple times (And, in the case of Handbag Holiday, multiple times PER DAY), but as you can see, I’ve barely made a dent in them. So they’re expensive, yes, but I can’t see me having to purchase them all that often, which makes it easier for me to justify the cost. My cuticles are still far from perfect, but they’re MUCH better than they were before I started using this, and it’s definitely the best cuticle product I’ve tried (I speak here as the veteran of many, many failed attacks on my cuticles, with many different products), so I’m considering it a success, if not a bona fide miracle.

These two products are normally around £13 – £16 each, but if you buy them together as part of this kit, you effectively get two for (almost) the price of one: I got mine here.

Liked this post?? Take a second to support Amber on Patreon!
  • I have raging, angry cuticles too. When I push them back, I ALWAYS have to clip them, or they stand up and look like angry little porcupines attached to my nail beds.

    Do you also have trouble with hangnails? For me it’s always been an issue (more so than the cuticles – the hangnails get infected really easily), so I’m wondering if they’re cuticle related?

    Also, please forgive my overuse of the word “cuticle” in this comment!

    April 18, 2013
  • Amber, I’m curious if the ingredients are disclosed on the bottles. Some cuticle removers are kind of nasty, and your affectionate moniker of Evil Twin might not be that far off. If the product is somehow breaking down the cuticle so that it is no longer attached to the nail itself, it might be harsh. I guess that’s where the nourishing cuticle oil comes in. I’d love to hear an update on the products after you’ve used them for awhile.

    Thanks, Sue

    April 18, 2013
      • Thanks for taking the time to google the ingredients Amber. They’ve put an oil, the lanolin, in the blend which should offer protection and nourishment while the potassium hydroxide does the ‘work’ of removing the cuticle. I’m curious…everyone seems to think Butter London comes from England, but I read that it is in fact, from Seattle, USA. Their website shares that Butter London was founded by British entrepreneur, Sasha Muir, but they don’t actually say where the company is located. Do you have any inside information, being on the other side of the pond?

        April 18, 2013
  • I always see Butter polishes at my local Sephora and I think they must be starting to become a thing here in NYC because everyone seems to swear by them…but the price! I don’t know if I can justify it…but I may have to sucker in and try this bad boy out.

    April 19, 2013
  • Victoria


    Hi Amber! I’ve quite literally just tried Melt Away for the first time ever, and basically like yourself, I bought it out of sheer desperation. I’d never read a single review about it, I had been wandering the cosmetic bit of my local Marks and Spencer and, on the single ( and with hindsight, ridiculous) premise that I’d never tried anything by Butter before, I purchased the MA and two polishes ( hey they were on 3 for 2!)
    I’ve tried numerous cuticle removers in the past, none of them really did anything except make my increasingly heavy-handed use of varied orange sticks/cuticle pushers slightly easier, there wasn’t a single product that “eliminated ” or “removed”…. but THIS ONE DID. Granted, I left it on longer than 2 minutes ( what works in 2 minutes?) but then my frankly disgusting cuticles dissolved into nowt except a slightly weird gunk with the aid of my “looks a bit terrifying” Tweezerman pusher. Really very impressed! I work with clay everyday so hands and nails are usually pretty dry and crappy and don’t look particularly well cared for despite my best efforts and embarrassment of riches hoard of hand-y/nail-y products. So….to find something that does work is a bit of a Holy Grail moment for me. Bit disappointed it isn’t made in Blighty but hey you can’t win ’em all.
    Just applied some OPI oil, but think I’m gonna order some of the Butter stuff, based on your review! Thanks bird!

    June 3, 2017