I’m having a hand emergency right now … are you?
My hands are exceptionally dry after a year of increased hand washing and pumping on insane amounts of harsh hand sanitizer through the pandemic.
My hands are literally gasping for moisture! And, on top of that, I also haven’t had my nails done for over a year.
Now that spring has sprung and summer is coming up fast, I’ve decided to give my hands some much-needed attention by making moisturizing a bigger part of my daily routine and by getting back into gel manicures.
Soft Hands Are a Sign of Self-Care
To me, having soft hands is an essential part of self-care.
Think about it: not many people spend their days staring at themselves in a mirror.
We do, however, spend a ton of time typing, writing, reading or otherwise manipulating things with our hands. Your hands are something that you actually look at all the time. So this year, I’ve decided to give my hands a little extra love.
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I know that a lot of people are afraid of having wrinkly hands. I understand that. But I feel like when it comes to having beautiful hands, wrinkles shouldn’t be the main concern.
The reality is, we’re not going to have baby hands forever. One day we will have grandma hands with lines and wrinkles. But, you can tell the difference between the hands of a grandma who took care of her skin and one that didn’t, right?
No matter how many wrinkles she has, an older lady who has taken care of her skin has supple, moisturized hands. I aspire to be like that someday.
But the work starts now with a few easy rituals:
When I was a little girl, I refused to play on the money bars. Why? Rubbing my hands over those metal bars gave me little round blisters that made my hands dry, cracked and all-around rough. These days, I wear workout gloves to protect my hands from the harsh metal handles of gym equipment like dumbbells and kettle bells. I even wear workout gloves when I’m doing floor work to eliminate friction and rubbing.
(If you don’t have workout gloves handy, an easy hack is to take a pair of socks, cut the toes off and slide them onto your hands to protect your palms.)
I have a pair of rubber gloves that I wear when I wash dishes. I like this pair of reusable dishwashing gloves. Wearing them means I don’t burn my hands when I wash things with super hot water. And I like that the rubber gloves protect my hands from harsh chemicals in dishwashing soaps.
I have a separate pair of rubber gloves that I use for cleaning my bathroom for the same reasons.
Hand & Face Routine
One simple thing I’ve been doing to take better care of my hands is to take the same products and serums that I use on my face and rub them into my palms.
There’s always a little extra product left on my hands after I do my nightly skincare routine. Taking a few seconds to massage the leftover product into my hands and cuticles has really made a difference in how soft and moisturized my hands have been.
(Plus, this way I don’t have to waste any of those potentially more expensive face moisturizers and serums.)
Bedside Hand Lotion
I had a roommate in college who slept with gloves on to keep her hands soft. I haven’t gone that far… yet. haha
But I do keep a tube of hand lotion by my bedside. Right before I go to sleep, I lather it on thick.
Nothing bothers me more than a beautiful manicure ruined by nasty hangnails.
If I can avoid getting my cuticles cut during a manicure, I usually do. This is mostly because I don’t like the way it feels. (To me, it’s like someone is touching my belly button, and I don’t like that either!)
And, when nail technicians cut my cuticles, I get even more of those awful hangnails. So I usually ask them not to, which means my manicures don’t last as long as I’d like them to. And I can’t always get gel, because that type of lacquer attaches best to clean nails.
I recently had lunch with a couple of girlfriends who are super into getting their nails done. Like they are nail girls. They always have the cutest manicures!
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I asked them if it was normal what happens to me with this hangnail thing. They said it was and that it was likely caused by dry skin. Essentially they were saying I needed to moisturize my hands more.
What I Learned
When I got home, I started researching a bit about cuticles. Experts who spoke with Good Housekeeping and Refinery29 both suggested that, in addition to moisturizing your hands and trying out cuticle oils to keep that specific area extra supple, you should also try pushing back your cuticles right when you get out of a hot shower.
Pushing your cuticles back is meant to help lessen the amount of cuticle a professional nail technician has to even cut away, because it prevents cuticles from growing too far over your nail beds in the first place.
A lot of people are also weary of having their cuticles cut for fear of infection. But these experts said that if you do take better care of your hands and you go to a reputable nail technician for your manicures, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
6 Steps to Softer Hands
I’m making a promise to myself to try to make sure that I take better care of my hands.
I’ll admit, I am a work-in-progress. I’m looking down right now as I write this, noticing that my hands are a bit cracked. I’m not on it. But I will be!
In addition to all the tips I talked about already, I’m going to incorporate the following products and rituals into my daily routine.
Do you want to work on your hand beauty with me? Check out these products and tips below!
Drink More Water
Drinking water is just as important as slathering on lotion. You need to hydrate from the inside out! I’m ordering myself one of these Insta-famous gallon water bottles.