We can admit that between caring for our skin care, hair and body, tending to our nails and hands can sometimes get put on the back burner. It happens to the best of us, don’t worry. But the truth is, because your hands are constantly exposed, they need all the TLC they can get. We’re talking about moisture, SPF protection and products that can treat your nails when doing a DIY manicure. Here, we put together a list of 15 tips that everyone should incorporate into their regular skin care routine, so keep reading because it’s time to give your hands the attention they deserve.
1. Protect Your Hands From The Elements
You know how the skin on your face can feel parched when the air is cold and dry? The same thing can happen to your hands. In addition to properly moisturizing, make sure to wear gloves when you’re in cold climates in order to limit your exposure to the frigid elements.
2. Moisturize Regularly
And speaking of moisturizing—the same way you should moisturize your face twice a day, it’s important to keep your hands hydrated, too. Without enough consistent moisture, you’ll quickly experience dry skin and cuticles. So, be sure to stock up on hand cream and keep one nearby at all times so you can apply and reapply throughout the day. We love L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Manuka Honey All Over Balm - Face, Neck, Chest and Hands. Pro tip: Apply the moisturizer on damp skin, right after you hop out of the shower or wash your hands, to help lock in hydration.
3. Avoid Too Hot Temps In The Shower
We know a long, hot bath or shower is probably something you look forward to at the end of a hectic day, especially if it’s been a particularly cold one. Unfortunately, super-hot water can strip your skin of essential moisture. Instead, use lukewarm water during showers and while you're washing your hands to avoid drying them out.
4. Slather On The SPF
One of the most common places people forget to apply SPF is on their hands. But excess exposure to the sun (both indoors and outdoors) can lead to skin damage and show up as visible signs of aging, such as dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles down the road. So, apply sunscreen every day (you can get burned even on cloudy days!) 15 minutes before you go outside, making sure to get both sides of your hands, and remember to reapply every few hours.
5. Exfoliate Regularly
We use our hands constantly throughout the day and they take on lots of wear and tear. Once or twice a week, use a sugar scrub to give your hands a quick exfoliation and help keep them smooth and soft.
6. Invest In Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil is a great way to give your nails some necessary moisture. Rub on a little bit of cuticle oil each day to help care for dry cuticles, not only when you give yourself a manicure.
7. Don’t Forget To Buff
Invest in a nail buffing tool and use it once a week to keep your nails smooth. This is important when you’re doing an at-home manicure as it will help ensure a more even nail polish application. It’s also helpful in your general nail-care routine if you just want to keep your bare nails looking their best.
8: Use A Nail Primer
Similarly to how you use makeup primer before you apply your foundation, the first step to a proper manicure is applying a primer to help create a smooth canvas on which to apply your polish. Look for one that’s formulated to address your specific nail concerns.
9. Follow Up With A Base Coat
After you prime your nails, apply a base coat. The purpose of applying a base coat is to extend the life of a manicure. Plus, if you’re planning on wearing a dark hue, a base coat can help to prevent polish from staining your nails. Once your base coat has dried, you can get to work on actually painting your nails.
10. Wear Gloves In The Kitchen
Once you’ve spent time creating your perfect manicure, you don’t want to see it chip off the second you have any household chores to do. Getting your nails wet in any capacity can shorten the lifespan of your manicure, so protect your nails by getting a pair of kitchen gloves and throw them on next time you’re scrubbing a frying pan or rinsing dishes. They’ll also protect your hands from the hot water that can dry them out.
11. File Your Nails In One Direction
Although your natural inclination might be to file your nails back and forth, doing this can leave the edges rough and frayed. Instead, file in just one direction, picking the file back up in between each swipe.
12. Don’t Peel Off Your Gels
Whether you’re going to the nail salon or quarantine has taught you how to DIY your own gel manicure, when it’s time for a refresh, do not — we repeat, do not — peel the polish off of your nails to remove your gel. This will strip your nails, leaving them extremely weak and fragile. Instead, remove your gel polish by soaking your nails in acetone and using a cotton round to wipe off the color.
13. Give Your Nails A Break
As much as we love a good manicure, your nails can also benefit from a polish break every once in a while. If you notice your nails feeling extra brittle or looking yellow-tinted in between your polish changes, it’s time to give them a rest. Go polish-free for one to two weeks, or until your nails start feeling and looking healthy again.