I don’t know about you, but my hands take a beating on a daily basis. They’re exposed to the elements, submerged in water (of varying temps), and come in contact with everything from rough firewood to hot grease in the kitchen. Being a hand model may not interest you, but having hands that feel happy (think: soft, moisturized, and in good condition) can make you happy. I know this because having dry, rough, and over-worked hands makes me really annoyed.
Why do hands matter? We use them for everything: playing instruments, touching our loved ones, creating art, preparing dinner, and so much more. There’s just something about taking care of them that feels necessary…but we sometimes don’t bother. Much like any other diet or beauty routine, it pays to spend a little bit of time on taking care of our hands! A handful of essential items (pun intended) and a few minutes throughout the day – not to mention diligence – will pay off.
What you need in your everyday hand care arsenal:
- Sugar scrub – homemade (sugar and oil) or the one for your body
- Thick, super-absorbent lotion, such as cocoa butter or shea butter
- Cuticle oil or cuticle cream
- Cuticle pusher
- Hand salve
- Cotton hand gloves
Every morning: after you eat breakfast, do your hair and makeup, and pet your dog, gently wash your hands with a sugar scrub. This removes dead skin cells so your hands feel fresh and radiant. Pat to dry, leaving a bit of moisture on your skin. Slather a light coat of thick lotion on your hands and forearms. Go out and conquer the world. Throughout the day, when your hands feel dry or every time you wash them, reach for more lotion.
Every evening: after you’ve cleaned the kitchen from dinner and you’re unwinding on the couch, rub cuticle oil or cuticle lotion at the nail plate, then work it up the base of your first knuckle (if you have time in the morning, add this to your morning routine too). Use a cuticle pusher to gently push back the skin that meets your nail. Caring for your cuticles helps keep your nails strong and flexible and prevents hang nails. Generously apply a hand salve (which is greasier than regular lotion) into your hands and cover them in cotton gloves for at least 10 minutes so the conditioning treatment soaks in.
To really spoil your hands, invest in these items to use once a week:
- Heated mittens. When warmed in the microwave, these special mittens help your hands absorb lotion. Plus the warmth feels so luxurious.
- Paraffin wax kit. It’s a bit of work to plug in and wait to heat up, not to mention it can be very cumbersome and messy, but hands look and feel young and soft once you peel the wax off of your hands.
Happy hand reminders:
- Cover when possible. Use rubber gloves at the sink, winter gloves in the cold weather, and garden gloves when working outside. There’s gloves for everything…use them!
- Protect from the sun. Your hands are as vulnerable to sun’s damage as your face, if not more so because they’re always exposed. Swipe some SPF on the tops of your hands every day, year-round before heading out.
- Wash with lukewarm water. Too hot can be too drying, but you already know this.
- Keep lotion everywhere. At every sink in your house, on the nightstand, coffee table, in your desk at work, in your car, purse, and gym bag.