The most important action you can take right now is to apply sunscreen to the backs of your hands. Rub a drop of SPF 45 onto each hand, about fifteen minutes before leaving the house or office. We all know we're supposed to protect skin from the sun, but most of us forget about our hands. Make this a habit year-round, and in all kinds of weather. And keep a travel-sized version in your purse or briefcase, to re-apply after washing your hands during the day.
Applying hand lotion after washing your hands is just as important. Your hands need to be moisturized, just as your face does. Lotion doesn't have to be expensive or exotic, especially if your hands are frequently in water. But it does have to be easily available. Pump dispensers are quick and easy to use, making this a habit that takes no time or effort. Keep a bottle of lotion at every sink, and a travel bottle in your tote.
Cuticles. Any woman at any age can have well-groomed hands. Once a week, set aside about 10 minutes (tops), to eliminate cuticles. You'll need: (1) baby oil or cuticle remover cream, (2) facial tissue, (3) an orange stick. Place a drop of oil on each cuticle and let it soak in for a minute. Gently use the orange stick to tap the cuticles back until they can't be seen. If your nail bed turns red, you're pushing too hard. And never cut cuticles with scissors. Rub any extra oil into your nail beds or wipe off with tissue.
Nail Shaping. As with hem lengths, we are free to choose the nail length that best suits us. Consider your lifestyle first, then your nails' strength (do they grow easily? are they strong?), and finally decide on a shape. From short to dragon-lady, and from oval to squared-off, it's all in style now. If you look at your hands as you're typing or raising a glass to toast your friends, you want to feel good about them: that's the ultimate criteria. Use a medium emery board, and be especially careful not to damage the skin on the sides of your nails.
Polish is a must, even if it's clear. Not only does it look stylish, it protects your nails from splitting and breaking. If you use color, make sure you finish with a clear, protective top coat. Checking your polish for chips should become part of your morning routine. Keep a bottle of your current color by your bedside or in your purse for touch ups. Every few days, re-apply the topcoat.
Veins and freckles on the backs of your hands can be hidden. No need for surgery or laser work. There are a number of concealing products on the market now that are formulated especially for difficult areas. Find a cream concealer that matches your skin tone and has a thick consistency. Do not use anything with a pinkish tone to it; pink will simply emphasize the veins. Go for neutral with yellow undertones. Dot the concealer on each age spot, and place dots across veins. With a foam wedge, carefully blend. For a finish that will last longer, dust the back of your hands with corn starch or a translucent setting powder.
Washing your hands during the day means that you may have to re-apply concealer. Keep some in your purse, with a small container of the powder. Better yet, clean hands with bottled hand sanitizer, and just rub the palms together, leaving the backs of the hands dry.
Now it's time to find those sparkly rings and bracelets. You've got beautiful hands - it's time to show them off.
© 2007 Suzann Kale