We’ve been following a strict anti-winter beauty regimen, from exfoliating religiously, to applying conditioning hair masks in a bid to revive our locks. After all, ‘tis the season to moisturise and repair. Be sure to pay extra attention to your hands and nails, as they often go neglected. Your hands are constantly exposed to harmful household chemicals and environmental damage – it’s also the first place where you’ll notice ageing. And don’t forget your poor nails with all those coats of nail polish, biting and chipping! Here are some tips for kickstarting Operation Hand and Nail Repair.
Prevention is better than cure
Bringing moisture back, yeah!
Extra hydration is needed during winter, so moisturise your hands and keep your nails and nail beds conditioned. The cold air leaves them more vulnerable to moisture loss, so always carry an intensely hydrating lotion in your bag and apply liberally throughout the day. The Victorian Garden Rosemary and Sweet Orange Hand Cream, R35, is a light, easily absorbed hand cream. It’s enriched with Shea Butter and natural extracts chosen for their antiseptic and healing properties – making it a great all-rounder. We love that it feeds the cuticles, stimulates nail growth and nourishes hands all in one go. Hand creams that contain SPF are also highly recommended – try African Extracts Rooibos Advantage with SPF15.
Treat, nourish, repeat
Applying moisturiser is one thing, but sometimes no matter what you do, your cuticles just don’t quite play along. It’s pointless wearing the brightest nail polish when your nail beds are looking anything but on fleek. Cuticles protect nails as they grow and block bacteria from invading the nail bed.
Coconut oil has great nourishing properties, but a product like L.O.V. LOVtouch Nail and Cuticle Serum, R169,95, builds on the same principle and has added ingredients to support natural regrowth and pampers your cuticles. For an extra dose of softening and strengthening, we recommend the L’Occitane Nail & Cuticle Nourishing Oil, R250. The Shea oil works wonders on those naughty cuticles. Carry it around with you and apply as needed.
Polish and primp
If your nails are feeling brittle, keep them as short as possible, as longer nails have a tendency to break, chip and snag. Don’t think you’re exempt from standard nail care just because you don’t wear nail polish. File and brighten those nails weekly. File your nails with the Urban Beauty United Buffer and Shiner, R64,95.
If you’re a nail polish addict, try your best not to apply too many layers of nail polish to your nails and remove product as gently as possible. Spare a moment for your nails when considering cheaper alternatives. Choose nail polish remover wisely, opting for acetone-free varieties and invest in the proper ‘tools’ like Nailene Artificial Nail & Polish Remover, R127 – don’t just tug off those falsies.
The good stuff
Strengthen and protect
Nail polish lovers know all about the wonders of Sally Hansen. We love the Miracle Cure Strengthener, R109,95. It contains protein to strengthen nails and boasts a micro-mineral formula to fill in cracks and stop nails from peeling. For nails that are in need of some serious TLC, try the Morgan Taylor Daily Elixir Keratin Nail Treatment, R250. The Panthenol-Infused Bio Organic Complex keeps nails moisturised and instantly works to condition the nail. You might want to give your nails a break from nail polish once it starts chipping and peeling to allow the treatments to set in and repair the damage.
Biting your nails isn’t just a bad habit. Besides the bad, erm, craftsmanship, it creates on your nails, and the damage it does to your teeth, it opens you up to a skin infection called paronychia, which causes pus-filled pockets to develop around the nail bed. Eina! At least there’s hope. We love that essence was one step ahead with their (bitter tasting) anti-bite nail polish and top coat, R39,95. You get primped nails and hopefully stop biting for good.
Nail it like a pro
For those who refuse to be caught without perfectly painted nails (guilty), it’s good to invest in quality nail polish. There aren’t many breathable varieties out there, so we were pretty impressed when the Orly Breathable nail polish, R169, landed on our beauty desk. The range includes professional treatment and colour, and treatment and shine varieties, offering a strengthening boost and bonus healing properties. There’s a variety of shades packed with an enriching formula made up of Advanced Oxygen Technology, argan oil, as well as pro-vitamin B5 and vitamin C. It works to improve hydration, stimulates nail growth and helps heal damaged nails. A nail polish that looks flawless and actually treats your nails all at once? Nailed it!
These small changes and investing in quality products will help you restore your nails and allow you to add some colour to your look – despite the drab weather. Make time to take care of your hands and nails and enjoy some much-needed pampering.