• Well Defined


It’s incredible what we expect our hands and nails to contend with on a daily basis – household cleaners, soaps and shampoo, constant exposure to the elements. Then there’s the thousand and one tasks that can also take their toll such as prising open lids with our nails, carrying heavy shopping or simply holding a piping hot cup of tea. Add to this the dehydrating effects of central heating and bitter weather during the colder months, and it’s easy to understand why our hands may be looking worse for wear and yearning for a little extra care.

Treating winter-worn hands and nails to a home manicure couldn’t be easier and needn’t take any longer than five minutes (assuming you’re not planning on three full coats of varnish). Your hands will feel softer and more comfortable and look ten times prettier!

At-home manicure how-to:

1. Wash hands and scrub nails in warm soapy water.

2. Remove any old nail polish with an acetone-free remover and shape nails with a nail file (be sure to file in one direction: sawing to and fro tends to weaken nail strength).

3. Mix one tablespoon of light olive oil (extra virgin is too sticky), almond or grapeseed oil together with one tablespoon of granulated sugar. Rub vigorously over the hands focussing on any hardened areas and stroke gently over any areas that are sore or chapped. Cuticles respond well to a bit of sugar scrubbing!

4. Rinse in warm water and pat dry.

5. Apply a little more of the oil to cuticles and base of the nails and massage in. Leave to soften for a minute or so, then very gently push the cuticles back using a wooden orange stick (kinder to skin than the metal type).

6. Next, massage a generous layer of hand cream into your fingers, palms, backs of hands, over the wrists and on to your lower arms.

7. Wipe away any excess cream from the nails and add a little more oil to the nails for extra shine. Buff with a soft, dry muslin cloth for a naturally healthy shine.

If your nails seem to be particularly brittle at the moment, make sure your diet is rich in iron (and vitamin C to help absorption), zinc and magnesium, as well as plenty of essential fatty acids, protein and water. Nails also love oil (avocado oil being particularly good) so rubbing a drop into the nail bed and cuticles twice a day will help nails stay long, strong and flake-free.

- To prevent brittle nails, make sure your diet is rich in iron, vitamin C, zinc, magnesium, essential fatty acids, protein and water

- Protect hands with gloves when doing the washing up or using household cleaners

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