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1/6 Stop neglecting your hands!

Posted on January 6, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Can I please take a moment to talk about basic hand and nail care. As a manicurist, I know that I am a stickler for well-manicured hands, but some of the things I’ve been seeing lately are unacceptable. I know we’re in a recession and money is tight, but come on girls, you should be ashamed of yourself! I’ve seen more bitten, broken, peeling and chipped nails this winter than I ever recall seeing before, not to mention the dry, cracked, flaky skin on people’s hands. 90% of human activity involves the hands. Just think about how many people see and even touch your hands in a day. As a young professional, I know I put a lot of effort into my clothing, make-up, and even hair to present a mature, professional – yet approachable look, and I’m sure many of you do the same. What do you think is the first thing people see when they look at you? Do you extend your hand for a handshake? Do you hold the door for them? Are you handing them a document, report, or money? Long before they have a chance to notice your grown up attire, or your coach bag, or your Jimmy Choo’s they see your hands, so why not make them as attractive as the rest of you….

While I do recommend seeing a professional nail technician at least once every 2 months just as upkeep, I’m not asking you to spend $20 a week on a manicure or acrylic fill; I’m merely suggesting that you put aside 30 minutes or so once a week, or at the very least once every 2 weeks to make your hands look presentable.

Here are 5 basic steps to making your nails and hands beautiful:

1. Clip all nails to a uniform length and shape the free edge of your nail. Uneven and/or jagged nails are NOT attractive. I know it’s hard to give up that one long nail, but unless you have some practical use for it (cocaine is the one that comes to mind) just get rid of it! The simplest, and in my opinion, most attractive shape is square. To do this simply hold the nail file flat against the edge of your nail and smooth back and forth gently until you have the desired length and shape. If you don’t like sharp corners, round off the edges. Good news for those of you who don’t have great natural nails!...Short is in this season. Squared –off nails that come just to the tip of the finger have been popular for a few years now, and it seems like they’re hanging on!

2. Push back your cuticles! The best time to do this is after a shower or after doing dishes when the skin around your nails is soft and pliable. Using a metal or rubber cuticle pusher, gently scrape the nail starting midway up the nail plate down to where your skin is. You should see the dead, dry skin building up at the bottom of your nail. I know it’s gross, but that’s why you want to get rid of it!

3. Using cuticle clippers, cut away the excess skin.

4. Moisturize!!! Apply moisturizer to your hands and give yourself a hand massage. This will help the moisturizer penetrate the skin, rather than just sitting on top.

5. Polish. Before polishing your nails, always wash them with soap and water, then use nail polish remover to clean the nail plates. Once the nail plates are free of oil and dirt, apply a PH balancing agent to the nails. I prefer Bond Aid by OPI. If you do not have a PH balancing agent, wipe the nails with alcohol to remove natural oils. Now apply a base coat, two color coats, and a top coat.

One last thing, if your hands are dry, here are a few things that may help:

- use a scrub to remove excess dry skin. If you don’t have one, salt or sugar mixed with cooking oil will do the trick.

- Moisturize your hands EVERYTIME you wash them. Soap dries your skin and especially in cold weather, water chaps your skin. Keep a bottle of lotion near all of your sinks. After washing your hands, dry them well and apply lotion.

- Apply oil to your cuticles if they start to look dry

- If you have severe dry skin, which many people do, make sure you use a scrub every night before bed, liberally apply a layer of a shea butter balm, Vaseline, or some other kind of thick moisturizer, and put gloves on. Sleep like this for a few nights and your hands should be as soft as a baby’s bottom!

I recommend Aquaphor for skin that is cracking. It is an over the counter cream made by Eucerin. It looks like Vaseline, but penetrates the skin much better, and it has a healing agent.

I hope this helps to get some of those ugly hands off the street and if you’re in need of professional help call or e-mail me, it is my job!



Categories: Hand, Foot, and Nail Care

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