Our hands are always on show but they are often the forgotten element in our beauty routine. We pamper our face with diligent skin care and disguise our flaws with make-up. But our hands? They are lucky if they get a bit of leftover moisturizer from the face and the occasional slick of varnish.
We notice each other’s hands almost unconsciously because hands are used so extensively in communication. What impression do you think your hands make? Do they convey a confident woman, or someone a bit unsure of herself? Is this woman a bit slap-dash and disorganized, or is she on top of things? Bitten nails or torn cuticles are a dead giveaway of someone unsure of themselves. Hands simply and well manicured suggest a woman who pays attention to details and organizes herself to get even the small things done.
Give a lift to your hands
Tomorrow you can send positive signals about yourself by giving yourself a quick manicure tonight.
- Prepare yourself for a manicure by having a bath first. Soaking in warm soapy water prepares the hands best for a manicure. Remove all polish (with an acetone-free varnish remover – to avoid drying the nails’ essential oils) before your baths.
- Remove excess cuticle with an orange stick doused in cuticle remover. Avoid cuticle scissors as we tend to cut away more of the essential cuticle than we should.
- Wash away all remnants of cuticle remover and dry the nails thoroughly before varnishing.
- File nails with an emery board in one direction only. Aim to keep all nails about the same length.
- Select a neutral color or shade of varnish, one that will work with your clothes for the next five days. If the varnish is thick, put it in the refrigerator for an hour and it will thin down and be easier to apply.
- With just a little polish on the brush, apply in long strokes from the base to the tip, allowing a hairline gap below the cuticle.
- When this base or first coat is dry, apply a second coat. Lighter or frosted shades might need a third application to achieve an even color on all nails.
- Add a clear top coat for a glamorous finish. This also helps prevent chipping and so extends the life of your manicure.
- Try to leave undisturbed to dry naturally for 30 minutes. Avoid doing a manicure in bed, as you will be tempted to curl up under the covers and ruin your efforts.
- Once dry, run your nails under cold water to harden the polish.
Hand and Nail Care Essentials
- Rub nail-strengthening cream into the cuticles and all over the nails on the nights that you are giving them a rest between polishes.
- Keep nails trim to prevent them from breaking.
- Dry or brittle nails that are prone to breaking benefit from protection with gloves when washing up or gardening.
- Cover your hands with a layer of Vaseline or olive oil, then wear white cotton gloves to bed. Wake up to baby-soft hands.
- Use any AHA cream that you apply to your face to fade darkening age spots on your hands.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid: taking the acid test
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