Between schlepping shopping bags through the cold and cooking up a holiday feast (not to mention scrubbing the pans), rough hands are as hard to avoid this season as “Last Christmas” blaring from every speaker within earshot. I hosted a party a couple weeks ago and my hands still haven’t recovered from all the moisture-sapping prep work, but they’re slowly getting softer thanks to these strategies. Give them a try, and let me know some of yours.
Wear gloves…all the time.
Gloves aren’t just for keeping warm outside. Wear rubber gloves when you clean or wash dishes to protect your skin from drying chemicals, hot water and soap. And gloving up freshly moisturized hands before bed is an old school beauty trick that really works. Ultra-rich Kur by Londontown Restorative Nail Cream ($35, londontownusa.com) comes with a pair of cotton gloves, so you can lock in moisture and treat parched cuticles overnight as you sleep.
The best way to get in the habit of slathering on hand cream is to have a tube within reach at all times. Stash lotion in your bag, on your desk, in your car, in the bathroom by the sink…anywhere you might need it. Avon Moisture Therapy Intensive Healing & Repair Mini Hand Cream ($2, avon.com) is cheap enough to buy by the dozen, and it soaks into skin leaving hands super soft. Moroccanoil Hand Cream ($18-$28, moroccanoil.com) is a little splurgier, but I’m obsessed with its non-sticky, argan oil-enriched formula, and a little goes a long way.
If you change up your nail polish frequently, acetone remover can strip the moisture from your nails and cuticles. Try a remover that nourishes nails, such as Butter London Acetone Free Nail Lacquer Remover ($8, nordstrom.com), which has the added benefit of actually smelling good, not like a chemical factory.
Cuticles are prone to drying out and causing hangnails, so they need more concentrated treatment than the rest of your hands. Rub on a cuticle oil such as CND Solar Oil ($7.59, drugstore.com) or Perfect Formula Quick Dry Drops ($25, perfectformula.com) twice a day (whether nails are polished or not). “Be sure to apply cuticle oil under the nails as well so that they will stay flexible during the cold months,” says Shari Gottesman, founder of Perfect Formula.