Winter Care & Keeping

Despite the unseasonably warm weather, I’ve slowly noticed my hands becoming drier and drier. To be sure, part of this is due to my recent and frequent hand washing (in warm water, none-the-less) because I’ve been baking and cooking for the holidays. But the other part is that the air is just that much drier this time of year.

As someone who constantly is washing their hands or torturing my cuticles and nail beds with acetone, it’s very important to me that I lotion up to retain some moisture and prevent super rough, cracked hands this winter. I know I have written about a few of these before (here), these are a few of my go to nail and hand care products I’ll be turning to this season:

  1. Cuticle Oils & Balms – I currently have 3 different brands of oil in rotation: Northern Star Polish, SweetBabyByDonna, and KBShimmer. I keep these everywhere – one in my purse, one in my car, one at work, one by my bed, etc. just to make sure they are easily accessible whenever I need or want them. The straight oil deeply moisturizes my cuticles. I keep my mini Essie Apricot Cuticle oil on my vanity for special occasions. The balms I use a little less frequently because you need to use your fingers to get to them (and I don’t want to wipe excess off on my pants!). Dollish Polish, Glitter & Gratitude, and Burt’s Bees (not pictured) are my go-to when I want to go the balm route or condition my clean-up brushes.
  2. Acetone Additive – The only one I’ve ever used is Stardust Polish but it’s fantastic; I’ve had no need to search for others. By mixing this delicious smelling stuff with acetone, it makes the acetone smell way better, but also makes it less harsh. The additive has natural oils that help protect and moisturize nails while the polish comes off.
  3. Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter – There are a lot of people who swear by this Lush product and I am definitely one of them. The cuticle butter has a wonderfully thick texture and the perfect lemony-citrus scent that I can never just put it on my cuticles. I find dry spots on my hands and then eventually, I have the stuff all over and I need to force my hand ou of the pot lest I want greasy fingers forever. The only downside to this particular product is the grease factor – you need a decent amount of time for it to absorb before you touch anything (or a designated towel to wipe the palms of your hands with).IMG_4998
  4. Absinthe Purifying Hand ButterThe Body Shop puts out some amazing products and I think this one happens to fall in that category. It has more of a musky or peppery scent that isn’t too strong, but isn’t too subtle; it’s different. The texture of the butter is actually like butter, which makes it fun to take out of the pot. While it does leave my hands greasy, it’s less tacky than Lemony Flutter but almost feels slippery. It absorbs pretty quickly though.
  5. Clinique Moisture SurgeClinique‘s products have a pretty good track record with me (I use a lot of their eyeshadows, mascaras, lip colors – all of which have great staying power – and have used their face wash system religiously since I was 18). I got a travel sized Moisture surge as a freebie with one of my orders while I was in college. At the time, it was winter break and my hands were destroyed, so I put some on a few times that first day. It has a silky texture that isn’t oily whatsoever; within 30-45 seconds it was all absorbed. By the time I woke up the next day, my hands were back to normal. It was less than 24 hours I had used this product and it worked wonders like this?! With this realization, I went back on their website to actually buy some to find out that it costs $52 for 2.5oz. Nope. Not on my college budget. I use it sparingly now (luckily, I got a second sample size a year later) because of the cost but it is definitely worth it for anyone that experiences super dry skin.
  6. Love & Lotus Whipped Body Butter – I use this every night before I go to bed, without exception. The texture is so smooth and creamy, that it’s a dream to handle. After distributing the body butter over my hands (and usually down to my wrists), it absorbs so well that it feels like I am left with a very light powder on my hands. It’s pretty magical. To add to that magic, I have the Acai & Mangosteen scent, which smells like SweetTarts. In the morning, my hands always feel silky and wonderful.

What it really comes down to with these products is common sense and consistency. I should use water less hot, I should apply cuticle oil/balm/lotion more consistently, and I should protect my hands from the elements with gloves. As long as I can accomplish those three things, I think I can make it through winter.

Let me know what you thought of this list. I’d love to hear about the products you use, your routine, or any helpful tips and tricks you may have to get through the winter without cracked hands.

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