Now this is no beauty blog, but once and a while I gotta go there. In a radiant and natural way of course.
I used to have little kid hands. Short stubby fingers, chubby knuckles, and nails of an uneven length that no polish would ever stick to (well that part hasn’t changed.) Those little kid hands lasted well into adulthood. I’d resigned myself to having them forever.
Until recently when I really took a look. Blue veins beginning to bulge and reach down to my wrists, those once pudgy knuckles now wrinkled and a bit bony.
Life happened I guess. What the hell did I expect? I’m 50 for Goddess sake!
All those hours spent with my hands in the garden soil hasn’t helped either.
I know, I know – I’m supposed to wear gardening gloves. But I love the feel of the moist soil between my fingers. And it’s so much easier to get those weeds by the root when I use my bare hands. So, I reserved the gloves for when I was unwinding the insidious stems of morning glories from thorny roses.
And now my hands are paying the price of all that naked gardening. (Hand-naked I mean! Don’t think dirty!)
It’s funny because most of us obsess over caring for our faces, our hair, just about anything but our hands.
And there they dangle, seemingly in the background, quietly doing so much work for us. The ironic part is, those hands are quite visible and obvious to others. Beauty experts know this of course – and if you’ve been caring for your hands diligently all this time, you may not even need to read this. (Unless you’re interested in some DIY, natural treatments for those long-suffering digits.)
I’m finally getting it: Taking care of, even pampering, our hands goes a long way to improving overall self image.
I mean they’re always right there in right in front of us. I’m staring at my fingers on the keyboard now. We see these hands so much that we don’t see them.
It turns out that the skin on our hands thins out much quicker than that on other area of the body. By the time most people reach their 40s it has thinned by 40-50 percent. Yikes! No wonder those veins start to pop out and – if we’re not careful – the entire hand takes on a wrinkled, crepe-like appearance.
Apparently there’s all sorts of high tech treatments to bring that youthful plumpness back to your digits. Things like lasers and collagen injections. If you know me at all, you know I’m not going there. You’ll just have to look elsewhere for the skinny on plastic surgery for the hands.
If you’re like me and you prefer to stick with organic, natural hand care solutions, all is not lost. You don’t need to plunk down hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars to get hands that are at least a little softer and younger looking.
I thought I’d offer up some tips and recipes today – easy ways to restore some luster to those aging and neglected mitts.
1) Treat the backs of your hands with the same care you give your face.
When my hands’ seemingly sudden changed appearance caught my attention, I began smoothing the same serums and creams onto the backs of my hands as I use on my face. There’s always a little residue left on my fingers so I after I’ve patted stuff onto my cheeks I rub the rest onto that thirsty skin on my hands
2) Sunscreen is the most important of these to include – unless you plan on never going outside!
If you use a face cream with SPF, be sure to rub a little on the backs of your hands when you’re done moisturizing. Those babies see at least as much sun as your face does. Otherwise, just spread a dab of sunscreen each morning the backs of your hands.
This helps to delay or soften the appearance of those inevitable age spots. (Most of us are doomed about this anyway because of all that sun exposure way back when we were kids.)
It’s never too early to begin sunscreening the backs of our hands. It’s an area that often gets missed. Tell your daughters, and any other young woman in your life!
3) Glove, Gloves & Gloves!
I touched on this above, but gloves aren’t only for gardening. You’ll need a few different types of gloves if you want to preserve those mitts. Gardening gloves are essential if you like to putter around with the plants.
And it’s probably a no-brainer – but rubber gloves protect your hands from the drying harshness of soaps, cleansers and even water. Use them when you’re cleaning house or even washing dishes.
And you’re not just being wimpy when you pull on those fleecy gloves when the temperatures dip. Cold weather dries the skin, and causes hands to chap and redden. Gloves protect them from the elements. So you are comfier, and your hands stay pretty.
Finally, if you’re going to get all spa-like with some of the recipes below, you might want to invest in a pair of soft cotton gloves to wear during all-night exfoliating and moisturizing treatments.
4) Lotion up in the evening.
Get in the habit of slathering your favorite (hopefully natural) lotion or cream all over your hands before getting into bed. (If you really want to go full bore on the spa moisturizing treatment you can then cover them up with some soft gloves as mentioned above.) Just moisturizing before bed will do wonders for your skin texture.
5) Get a Pet Slug
Okay, this is the weirdest tip I found, and I’ll admit I have no intention of trying it. But apparently chafed skin on the hands can be relieved with slug slime! This is based on a report published in 1905, which recommends putting the slug on the sore and chafed area of your hand and letting it crawl around until the whole area is fully slimed! Ewww!
(I just had to include that.)
And finally: a few recipes for those of you who are getting excited about babying those hands into baby-like softness.
Exfoliating Hand Paste
You have to be pretty devoted to soft, beautiful hands to try this. But, it’s a wonderful, natural way to exfoliate.
1 tablespoon almonds
1 tablespoon oats
1 tablespoon zinc oxide paste
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon honey
A pair of soft cotton gloves
Grind the almonds and oats in a coffee grinder or blender, till they are still coarse, put powdery. Combine this in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (except the gloves – duh). Stir well.
Right before bedtime, rub this paste onto your hands, and get someone to help you put the gloves on (you won’t be able to because your hands will be all covered with the gooey paste). Call it a night. Rinse off in the morning and revel in your smooth, soft hands.
Note: Not a good plan to sleep on your fanciest sheets on this night – just in case the stuff drips out.
Castor Oil Soak
This one’s especially good if you have brittle, dry nails and cuticles. Use three times a week. Recipe makes enough for three treatments.
4-5 tablespoons castor oil
10 drops essential oil of sandalwood OR frankincense
Combine the oils in a small bowl. Soak clean fingertips for about 10 minutes. Then use a soft cloth to push back your cuticles and lightly buff your nails. Store mixture in a jar and refrigerate. After three treatments, discard it.
Skin Lightening Treatment
Forget those lasers. Try this to soften the appearance of age spots and to even out skin tone on the hands. Use twice a week. You’ve got to make a fresh batch each time.
2 tablespoons oats (ground in coffee grinder or blender)
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon jojoba oil or any good quality oil
2 teaspoons fresh pineapple, lemon, or strawberry juice
Mix all ingredients together to make a paste. Allow to thicken for about a minute. If it gets too thick add a little water. Apply the paste to the backs of your hands and let it dry for 15 -30 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat dry. Always follow this treatment with a good moisturizer – preferably one with SPF.
I also came across a cool recipe for an at-home hand paraffin treatment with essential oils, just like you can get at a fancy spa. It was pretty easy too, but you do need a big 3-pound coffee can to melt the wax (or some other similar container.) If you want the recipe, shoot me an email.
So, here’s my confession: I’ve been sadly inattentive to my poor little hands for most of my life. The best I usually manage is slathering on some cream or salve after a big gardening session. Lately, I’ve been practicing some of my tips listed above, but I have yet to pull out the blender and whip up one of these intensive hand treatments.
I think it’s time!
How about you? How have your hands fared through the years? Do you ignore your hard-working hands as I have? Or is all this old news to you? Can you add any ideas for hand pampering? Tell us in the comments.
Till next time. May your hands be as radiant as your soul!