Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Nail and Hand Care

No matter what awesome shade your nails are painted, if you have wintry hands, you gotta get real and deal. The Chicago area winter has been unreasonably harsh, and my hands are feeling and looking it! It's time for my emergency hand care treatment.

I went to my Ulta to stock up on hand emergency care products:
  • a cuticle oil pen (This time I am trying a Sally Hansen one, but all of them are equally good)
  • a moisturizing treatment (I got the Sally Hansen Complete Care Extra Moisturizing 4-in-1 Treatment)
  • gardener care hand cream (This time I'm trying out baume du Jardinier by Le Couvent des Minimes)
The Tools
  • a teaspoon or packet of sugar
  • creamy hand soap
  • hand cream (not lotion)
  • warm water
  • a clean washcloth or hand towel
  • cuticle cream, lotion, or pen
  • a moisturizing treatment for your nails
The Process
Pick about ten minutes out of your day (during lunch hour, prior to going to work, or after coming home) of uninterrupted time.

Take off any rings, bracelets, and watches and roll up any sleeves. I sometimes take off my nail polish too.

Begin by gently sloughing off dead skin cells. Add about a teaspoon of brown or white table sugar to some creamy hand soap (liquid or bar) in your hand and adding some warm water (never cold or hot). Begin massaging gently both hands by using the pads of your fingers and soft part of your hands. Be gentle but thorough! You might even want to use a soft, old toothbrush or an old nail brush (make sure they're soft!)

Because the skin is typically already sensitive from the cold, be extra careful. Add more water if the sugar is too scratchy.

When rinsing use tepid or warm water, never hot or cold. You'll feel the sugar melting away. Make sure you rinse clean.

Then pat gently with a clean washcloth or hand towel, leaving some moisture behind. Apply the cuticle cream or oil, and massage well into the cuticle. Take your time.

Follow with your hand cream. Spread evenly all over the hand (top, bottom, between fingers, and nails) and massage in gently. Take your time. The best part is these couple of minutes you spend giving fingers, cuticles, hands, and wrists a lovely deep massage.

Then just rest. Don't touch anything that would otherwise cause you to make you wash your hands and lose all that creamy goodness.

You'll notice that the cream will slowly absorb and your hands will look soft but dry. Sometimes there's a need to follow up with another round of cream. It's up to you. Just remember to massage thoroughly and then give it time to soak in, undisturbed.

Usually, by the time I'm done applying the hand lotion and cuticle cream, my hands already look a lot better.

That's when I apply a moisturizing nail treatment, like the Sally Hansen one I bought at Ulta today. One coat dried up in seconds and made my purpley-pale nails look a lot more pulled together and shiny.

  • For hand creams, look for words like hand salve, hand treatment, or gardener's treatment. However, if you know you're allergic or sensitive to particular products, it pays to stick with what you know and/or to read ingredient lists carefully.
  • Look for products made specifically for chapped, dry hands and cuticles. These products come in small tubes or tubs. These fine products are a world of good for dry, chapped, inflamed hands and cuticles. 
  • It's easy to forget to wear gloves when going out in winter, because we're always in a hurry. But even a few seconds of frigid air can dry up delicate hand skin. Any kind of glove is better than no gloves at all. They keep moisture in and the elements out!
  • If a product is too thick or hard to blend/melt into the skin it's probably not the right product for you. Always keep your receipts for returns, and experiment by buying sample sizes (cheaper to try).
  • Always look for creamy hand soaps, the clear stuff is too harsh unless you're working with oil and grease all day!
  • Please try to avoid nervous habits such as biting nails or nipping at cuticles. If a cuticle is hanging, just use a nail clipper or cuticle clipper--disinfect before and after, and be gentle.
Ok so that's my process to restore and keep wintry hands in somewhat presentable state. Hope it works for ya, and stay soft!

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