Winter may be fading into a distant memory, but that is no excuse to box your hand lotions up with your winter PJs, clove-scented candles, and those lingering Christmas decs that you really didn't feel like teetering on a stepladder for with a post-NYE hangover.
Hand care is for life, not just for winter.
I'm fortunate in that I only really suffer from chapped and dry hands in the colder months, but for many Hand Care Season is an annual event. I'm also trying to make more of an effort to maintain good handcare practice throughout the year, and as a serial nail polish wearer [I don't think my nails have been bare for more than 24 hours for at least two years] I've come to appreciate the importance of regular nail upkeep.
Equip your handbag/desk drawer with a few of these essentials and make hand/nail neglect a thing of the past.
The longer you use this hand cream, the more you'll like it. With a delicate and milky consistency, it's neither the thickest nor the most luxurious of creams, which can be somewhat disheartening to some upon first application. However, this cream operates with the bigger picture in mind; with regular use, expect even the most chapped and dry hands to feel increasingly soothed, soft, and hydrated. The fact that it was originally created for horses, to moisturise dry and brittle hooves, says more for its prowess than any fancy ingredents list [although FYI coconut, soybean, and castor oils feature [thumbs up]]. My mum has the driest hands I know and has more hand creams than I have face masks [which is really saying something], yet she swears that this is the best of the best.
A close second to the above [in both mine and my mum's books [handbags]]; as with anything from Aēsop, this is one to opt for if you're after luxury without compromising on efficacy. It leaves hands velvety soft to touch, and is perfect for day to day touch ups as the formula absorbs incredibly quickly. This cream contains is packed with serious hydration goodness [the packaging reads more like a cocktail menu than an ingredients list], from almond and coconut oils, through to cedarwood, mandarin, lavender, and cocoa butter. It has a thick lotion consistency, which feels decidedly balm-like as you apply, leaving a sensation of instant hydration and nourishment, and the heavenly scent lingers for hours.
I was first recommended this by a manicurist who observed that I have dry cuticles [who knew?], and have been using it religiously ever since [it smells like marzipan, so this is no chore]. Apparently it's the type of product that any salon/manicurist worth their salt buys in bulk and carries everywhere. A light blend of almond, jojoba, and rice oils; it's rich in Vitamin E, and the delicate formula allows for deep absorption in order to hydrate dry cuticles and increase the strength and flexibility of nails. I massage it in every evening and have noticed my cuticles become a lot softer and less noticeable.
It is no exaggeration to say that everyone needs a glass nail file in their life, they render filing effortless with their ability to be used in a back and forth motion without damaging nails [as traditional emery boards do], last for years, and give results in seconds. Short of using a Swarovski crystal version [yes, really], this is my favourite. It even comes in a sleek velvet sleeve, making it as handbag friendly as can be.
As with makeup, a good base can make all the difference in enhancing and perfecting the finish of consequently applied products. Essie's all-in-one offering is the best I've used, my polish always lasts a lot longer when I favour this option over a cheaper base, and it prevents staining from even the darkest of colours. It also serves to hydrate and strengthen the nails, and can be used as a topcoat as well, so is ideal if you're travelling and need to pack light.
Everyone's favourite fast-dry formula is everyone's favourite fast-dry formula for good reason. Like a blow-dry for your nails, it sets polish beneath an impenetrable layer in less than a minute and provides an über glossy sheen, which adds instant finesse to a cursory manicure. Colour always lasts a good three days before chipping when this is applied, and even longer when paired with a good polish [O.P.I are the most durable in my opinion].
This is one of those products that you hold no high hopes for [on account of its mundanity] but are consequently blown away buy with use. Less of a butter and more of a solid balm, it's delightfully non-greasy and incredibly light, absorbing instantaneously without leaving any grease of tackiness, at all. The formula contain the usual suspects [almond oil, Vitamin E, cocoa butter, beeswax]; a saving grace to my nails after a recent gel session left them a little flakey, it literally restored them overnight.
Radical are not exaggerating when they describes this Hyaluronic acid and Trylacel [Radical's patented skincare technology] formula as 'a protecting glove for you hands and nothing less'. The citrus scented lotion is infused with myrrh [used by typists in the days of the first typewriters] to strengthen nails and calm irritation, and raspberry extract, which prevents dark spots from forming. However, the hero ingredient of the product is the rather unassuming sounding 'rice extract' an ingredient which serves to prevent perspiration - that's right, no more sweaty palms. This lotion is best applied thick [before bed unless you want to leave sticky fingerprints on every surface] in order to feel its full benefits.
What are your one-stop hand and nail essentials?
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