Keeping my hands looking lovely is important to me because I use and look at them all day long. However, I have some challenges such as living in a super dry climate, frequent hand- and dish-washing which dries my skin, and my enduring (but improving!) habit of picking at my cuticles. For years I've been working to calm my hands and not pick at my cuticles. I'm happy to say that I've made a lot of progress!
What's helped me to have calm, non-picking hands is being fanatical about preventing dry skin and hangnails, keeping my nails cut short, and keeping my nails painted. When my hands look good I want to keep them looking good so I take care of them. It's a very beneficial positive feedback loop! I used to feel a little self-conscious about always having short nails. But then I heard an interview with Bobbi Brown who shared that she always wears her nails short with red polish. If makeup maven Bobbi Brown says it's classy then it's classy. (And plus it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks anyway!)
I realized I've incorporated calm hand support throughout my days in little ways. Here's what I do:
+ I'm in the practice of carrying a small tin of lemon butter cuticle cream in my pocket or purse. Putting this on throughout the day not only moisturizes my cuticles but replaces picking with a different tactile sensation that instead keeps my cuticles looking lovely. Win-win!
+ I put lotion on frequently throughout the day. I rub it into the backs of my hands (so my palms don't get greasy) and then around each nail. I keep hand lotion in the car and easily accessible in the house.
+ I have a pair of cuticle trimmers in the house and in the car. Driving is a time when I can absentmindedly start picking at my cuticles. But if I can trim any dry skin around my nail and then put on lotion I can calm the impulse.
+ If I'm washing a lot of dishes I'll put on cleaning gloves. Hot water + dry air is so harsh and this really helps.
I'm settling into a routine of painting my nails once per week. With the products I use my polish is just starting to chip on the day or day before I paint my nails. I think that's really good for an at-home non-gel manicure! I'm currently obsessed with Expressie nail polish, the quick dry polish from Essie. Before discovering this polish (thanks to my friend, Allyson) I would sit and sit and sit to let my nails dry and still they would smudge. It drove me crazy! I do not have hours to sit and literally watch paint dry. Enter Expressie. It's dry in half an hour or less and then I can get on with my life with beautiful nails.
Here's a look at my current at-home manicure routine and products:
+ I paint my nails once a week after the kids go to bed. I set up everything I need at our breakfast table where there is good overhead light. While I'm painting my nails I watch something on Netflix. This is really the only time I watch any shows so it's an extra treat.
+ I keep most of the nail painting supplies I need in a small basket so it's easy to transport to the breakfast table.
+ I keep my nails really short, which helps me not pick at my cuticles, so after removing last week's polish I trim my nails and file them. I also sometimes use a cuticle remover cream and trim any dry cuticle skin.
+ Before I start painting my nails, I pour a capful of nail polish remover and put two Q-tips in it. That way I can easily remove any polish "mistakes" as soon as they happen. This is a genius tip I learned from Meagan of The Mom Hour!
And those are my current routines! If you have any genius tips or products to share for nail-painting or lovely cuticles I'd love to hear.