Northern NJ just survived its first hit of winter weather last week–and with reports of snow in places like Montclair and Newark reaching over 2 feet, it’s enough to make anyone want to remain huddled up indoors. Staying inside, however, won’t be enough to help parched hands, ragged cuticles and brittle nails make it through the season. Here, some tips on how to keep your hands and nails in shape till warm weather returns:
1. Invest in a cuticle cream. Using hand lotion in the winter is a no-brainer–but many women tend to shy away from specialty cuticle creams, primarily as they’re an added expense and, quite frankly, they seem unnecessary. It’s wise though to use a richer cuticle cream in addition to hand lotion to keep cuticles soft and to avoid hurtful cracks. A cuticle cream doesn’t have to break the bank either–Sally Hansen and Burt’s Bees both offer cuticle creams and both can be found at Walgreen’s (check out the ones in Carlstadt, Cilfton or North Arlington). Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream is a bit more like a salve in texture and comes in a little tin for fingertip application–but for those who prefer a true cream, Burt’s Bees Shea Butter Hand Repair Cream doubles wonderfully as a cuticle cream. Most cuticle creamscome in handy, travel-ready tubes, making them easy to apply on-the-go and frequently. Remember to apply before going to sleep as well.
2. Gloves. Gloves. Gloves. Three times a charm, or so they say, and the adage certainly applies for winter hand care. That’s because there are three types of gloves that are must-have’s for hands and nails this season: outdoor gloves, cleaning gloves, and overnight gloves. No one seems to forget their gloves when going outside in 25-degree temperatures–but somehow many of us tend to slack off a bit when it comes to being diligent about doing the dishes with rubber gloves. Grabbing your cleaning gloves only takes a second or two and spares your hands from dehydrating hot water and harsh soaps or chemicals. Finally, at least once a week, use 100% cotton overnight gloves–wear them after applying a rich hand cream–or even Vaseline petroleum jelly–to help with absorption and to fight overnight dehydration. Admittedly, they take some getting used to–but your hands will thank you for it. Again, if you’re begin cost-conscious, stop by Dollar Tree–many local Dollar Tree stores carry not only rubber gloves, but some even carry “spa”-type products like all-cotton gloves.
3. Splurge on a Nail Growth Serum. Nail growth serums have the misfortune of having a name that makes them sound like they’re only for women who can’t grow their nails at all. But growth serums are in many instances glorified moisturizers. And, the leading cause of nail breakage is lack of moisture delivery to the nail bed. That’s where all those lovely nail problem words like “brittle”, “splitting”, and “peeling” come into play. What makes nail growth serums different from cuticle creams though is that they typically have a binding agent in the formula (for example, Sally Hansen’s Nail Growth Miracle Serum contains Acrylates Copolymer) that helps “adhere” the serum to both the cuticle and nail, thereby treating both cuticle and nail. The Sally Hansen serum is under $10 and available at most drug stores. Another one to try is Go Nails Natural Nail Growth Treatment–it’s pricier at around $25, and available at mygobeauty.com.