When I returned from Bali and a few weeks in the sun, my hands were in awesome shape. Despite the fact I was still sporting a three week old mani and my polish was peeling, the nails themselves were in great nick – strong, healthy looking and long. The benefit of spending days on the beach had naturally exfoliated my hands, while the sunshine had given my skin a subtle golden glow and enriched my body with much needed Vitamin D. A few weeks later, however, and it was a completely different story; the onset of the colder weather and dehydrating central heating left my palms dry, my cuticles overgrown and my nails splitting and peeling. I needed to seriously get to work and help to restore the health I’d lost in a matter of weeks, and a few things really did make all the difference. As holiday season feels like a lifetime ago and we step into the most depressing time of year, here’s how I’m keeping my hands looking and feeling top notch – so at least I’ve got something pretty to look at while I work my way to my next vacay.
A GREAT SHELLAC MANI
For such a long time I was pretty anti-shellac, having had a really bad few experiences that left my nails weak and peeling for far longer than I would have anticipated. If you don’t remove the polish properly (i.e. soak it don’t pick it off!) or visit a salon that doesn’t use official polish, your nails will suffer the consequences. Over the last year or two I’ve dabbled in Shellac manicures, but since the wedding it’s something I’ve really invested in as an easy way to keep my hands looking fab. I love the fact the polish lasts around two weeks, while helping to keep my nails strong and less prone to breakage; the lack of constant nail varnish remover and re-application of cheap polish also gives them a chance to grow. Over the winter period I’ve started getting Shellac manis every 2-3 weeks and I can already tell my nails are less prone to breakage and splitting. If you don’t want to opt for Shellac, then picking up a strengthening
base coat or treatment product like Renunail (£17.50) will help to get
your nails in a much stronger position. (I’ve used this stuff for years
and it really is amazing at helping to strengthen and grow nails in
around a month! I wrote about it here last year…)
A FABULOUS HAND SCRUB
Since the amazing Lex from Talonted Lex (the queen of nails) recommended the Beauty Kitchen ’60 Second Manicure’ (£9.99) to me I’ve been hooked. This amazingly rich scrub not only buffs away dryness and leaves hands super smooth, but it helps to hydrate and nourish simultaneously to leave nails and cuticles revived in less than a minute. With ingredients including Abyssinian Oil, Nettle, Lemongrass and Grapefruit, it smells something beaut too. I’ve been using this a couple of times a week to help rid myself of dryness and dodgy looking cuticles, as well as those annoying bits of flaky skin around the nail, and it really does work a treat; it leaves varnish in tact too, so no need to worry about it causing chips.
A LOT OF CUTICLE OIL
One of the little changes you can make to your regime which will make the biggest impact is using a cuticle on on your hands morning and evening. I’ll never forget the time I got chatting to a manicurist with the most incredible nails, and she told me she actually set an alarm on her phone to remind her to apply cuticle oil three times a day… If it’s good enough for the experts! Massaging in a touch of oil around the nail bed will help keep growth healthy, reduce dryness and keep nails looking fab. One of my personal faves is the Revlon Nail Care Essential Cuticle Oil (£6.99) which smells like almonds and is really lightweight, non greasy and nourishing. I put a bottle on my desk and on my bedside table to help encourage me to pop it on, and it really does make the world of difference.
A HAND CREAM ON HAND
It’s not rocket science, but during the colder months are hands are one of the main body parts to be whipped by the wind and find themselves zapped of moisture. Healthy hands and nails need hydration and nourishment, so it’s vital that we replenish this via a great hand cream every day to keep them smooth and growing strong. I notice such a difference when I’ve been neglecting my hand cream or have forgotten to pop one in my bag that week, so I’ve made a huge effort this winter to keep one close at all times – including on my desk, in my gym bag, on my dressing table, in the kitchen and by the side of my bed. Some of my faves include Liz Earle’s Hand Repair, Crabtree & Evelyn’s beautifully scented minis and L’Occitane’s classic Shea Butter formula. You can never have too many, right?
AN INTENSE OVERNIGHT TREATMENT
Just as we apply a rich cream or nourishing oil to our face as we slumber, the nighttime can provide a great opportunity to treat our hands to an intense treatment too. There are some amazing products out there that are specifically designed to boost and repair dry tired hands while you sleep, including Hand Chemistry (£19.00) which is proven to target eight different signs of hand ageing and dryness. My personal fave has to be the Ameliorate Intensive Hand Treatment (£15.00) which is almost like magic, helping to reveal brighter and much smoother hands the next morning thanks to their gentle exfoliating ingredients and Shea Butter. I’ve been a long-term fan of their body lotion and used it on my horrendous hands last year, but the fact they’ve now got a specific hand treatment is music to my ears.
Looking after your hands can be hard work, but these steps will become your routine quickly enough and feel like a pleasure instead of a chore. We do so much with our hands on a daily basis that it’s only right that we treat them to a bit of care and attention when they’re feeling a bit worse for wear… And I guarantee a few minor changes will make all the difference.
Do you love any other hand and nail saviours that help you through these chilly months?
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