I’ve heard that the real way to tell a women’s age is by looking at her hands – that may be true, but with all the easy ways to keep your hands looking young, it doesn’t have to be.
I care a lot about hand care. Our hands are constantly in our field of view, shouldn’t they be nice to look at? They also influence your first impression on people, and are a sign of cleanliness. There are so many reasons that hand and nail care is important.
As a cleaning expert you can guess that I spend a decent amount of my time – cleaning. I love my job providing cleaning tips at Clean My Space, but dry hands can come as a result of frequent cleaning. When you wash your hands with soap it not only removes bacteria, but it also takes a lot of the moisture out of your hands. Something we need to be replenishing in order to keep our hands looking young. Here are five trusted and tested ways to replenish dry hands, or just give your hands a hydrating boost.
Moisturize with Oils
The answer to softer hands isn’t just moisturizing more often, but moisturizing better. Hand lotion is simply an emulsion of oil and water – so why not cut out the second half and go straight for the oil? Moisturizing with hand care oils is much more effective than regular lotions because of that oil concentration.
I use Sweet Almond Oil or Hand Chemistry Retin-Oil. Sweet Almond Oil doesn’t actually smell like almonds, it is scentless. So I’ll add 10 drops of my favorite essential oil to the bottle (that way it can smell however I like). Retin-Oil also has huge benefits, in additional to being a deep moisturizing oil. Retinoid is a vitamin A concentrate, which is supposed to increase collagen production in the skin and thereby reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. People swear by this stuff – and I’ll take all the anti-aging benefits I can get.
Moisturize at Night
This method is for hands that have had a tough day (gardening, cleaning, chopping wood with an axe – whatever your day entails) and need an overnight refresh. Pick up some moisturizer that is going to be especially good for your hands. Moisturizers catered to hands are often thicker than regular lotion, and since this will be going on overnight you don’t have to worry about drying time, so feel free to get especially intense lotion (or the oils mentioned above). I often use shea butter at night (it’s one of those products I can’t stop talking about) and have found it works especially well for hands.
Apply your lotion/oil of choice and then put on gloves – that’s right, to really lock in the moisture you are going to wear gloves to bed. You can buy specialty gloves made for wearing overnight, but any pair of knit or cotton gloves will work. If you are in a pinch, you could even wear a pair of socks over your hands. I only do this about once a month, and yes the gloves make me laugh (especially the next morning when I remember I have them on) but I always see a huge change in my hands – they feel softer, smoother and refreshed.
If your hands are calloused it’s going to be difficult for lotion to penetrate that tough skin in order to moisturize it. The solution is to remove dry calloused skin before moisturizing. One way to do this is by exfoliating your hands with a scrub. You can make your own scrub at home by mixing 1 tbsp coconut oil, with 1 tbsp sugar and two drops of essential oils. Alternatively, you can purchase an exfoliating hand scrub from stores such as Lush or Aesop.
Before exfoliating give your hands a good rinse under warm water to soften them. I may even let them soak in warm water for 10 minutes if they are feeling especially rough. Next, scoop about a tbsp of your exfoliant into your palm and begin rubbing (using the same motion you would to wash your hands). Spend an extra few moments on especially calloused locations (such as the heel of your hand or finger tips). Then rinse away.
The most important step is to moisturize your hands well after words. Massage in your chosen lotion or oil, once again taking an extra moment on calloused areas, as well as in between fingers and around the cuticles. I often apply cuticle oil at this point, and may even give myself a manicure (considering my nails/cuticles will be very soft). Your hands will be supple, fresh, and practically ready for modeling.
Ultimately the best way to keep hands moisturized and wrinkle free is to prevent dryness and skin damage in the first place. As I mentioned above I have spent more than the average amount of time cleaning in my life. One thing I am careful to do when cleaning is to wear protective gloves. During so many cleaning tasks, from washing dishes to wiping windows, we put our hands in and out of soap and water constantly, which can severely dry them out. Wearing dish gloves prevents this, and is thereby extremely beneficial to your hands.
Avoid UV Rays
I also try to prevent UV damage to my hands as much as possible. I have mentioned before that I wear fingerless gloves when I get a shellac/gel manicure, so that the UV light they use to set my polish doesn’t damage my hands. I also try to wear sunscreen whenever I will be in the sun – and this applies to my hands especially. You may not think about putting on sunscreen before, say, getting drinks on a summer patio. But your hands will be exposed to the sun the entire time you’re there! You can easily pick up a lotion with sunscreen, or just bring a small bottle along with you. Your hands will thank you.
I hope these tips work for you, and that you give yourself a high five, pat on the back, or round of applause for being kind to your hands.