Suggested Learning

Hands up!

Treating their hands and nails should be as high on your customers’ beauty lists as their skincare regimes, reveals Laura Pollard

Hands are often cited as being one of the biggest giveaway signs of ageing. The skin is twice as fine on our hands as it is on our faces, plus hands get the most exposure to the sun and other daily elements. Wrinkles, dryness, age spots and sagging skin are common complaints. So while most women use an anti-ageing face cream, it’s important that they treat their hands with the same care.

Recommend holding on to youthful hands with an anti-ageing cream. We like Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Hand Cream, which is powered by meadowfoam seed oil, bamboo and pea extract to support the skin’s barrier, plump and moisturise. Alternatively, the botanics in Clarins Super Restorative Hand Cream offer intelligent anti-ageing and age spot correction, while mango oil softens and plumps skin and organic baobab oil helps nourish and strengthen nails.

Burts Bees Hand Salve boasts a blend of botanical oils, herbs and beeswax. It’s great for daily use, especially before and after washing up, gardening and other hand-dulling chores. Yardley English Lavender Hand Cream packs a floral punch, while Elemis British Botanical Hand and Nail Butter contains lavender and chamomile oils, shea butter and vitamin B7 – all with a wonderful soft fragrance of geranium and palmarosa.

Protect then revive

Exfoliating the skin on the hands is also important. Harley Street dermatologist Dr Adam Friedmann agrees. “Exfoliating is a key part of many daily facial routines. However, hands are often neglected, “ he says. “The small addition of exfoliation into the daily routine will allow for the revival of the delicate skin on the hands.”

Customers might like to try Le Couvent des Minimes Gardener’s Hand Healer Exfoliating Cleanser. It uses powdered pumice stone to exfoliate, along with three plant ingredients to remove impurities without irritating. Alternatively, Esssiespa Manicure Starter Scrub can be applied to wet hands as the perfect prep step to a great manicure.

Sleep tight

It’s a fact that the body does most of its repairing and rejuvenating while we sleep, hence the reason why it’s advisable to use night-specific face creams. And now there are a host of overnight treatments that you can advise customers to use on their hands too.

Mavala Overnight Repairing Hand Cream, for instance, is specifically for use before hitting the pillow, and it comes complete with gloves for an all-night moisture soak and cellular renewal. Likewise, Champneys Harmonious Hands Restoring Overnight Hand Butter relies on shea butter and evening florals of jasmine and gardenia. To use, simply layer onto dry hands and sleep in the gloves provided to wake with revived paws.

Customer conundrum

Q: A customer asks for your advice on nail care. She explains that her nails are quite weak and keep breaking, and asks what type of nail treatment she would benefit from. She’d also like to know if there is a nutritional supplement that could help to strengthen her nails.

A: Rachael Sharples, pharmacist at Well Pharmacy, says: “If you have brittle nails, this is usually because of regular exposure to water or chemicals like nail polish or washing detergents. Nails can be strengthened by taking biotin (vitamin B7) supplements, regularly applying moisturising cream to the nails, and wearing gloves when working with water or chemicals.” To battle weak nails, recommend Sally Hansen Miracle Cure for Severe Problem Nails, which is designed to remedy and treat worn, frail nails. Its exclusive protein complex prompts fast, effective nail growth, while soy protein, collagen and keratin help to strengthen and lengthen nails without brittleness. Also advise the customer to keep her hands nails hydrated with a good hand and nail cream.

Nails in shining armour

As well as maintaining healthy, youthful-looking hands, it’s important to take care of nails and cuticles. Regular treatments and keeping them groomed and tidy will give hands a beautiful finish.

The first step is to provide a strengthening treatment. Ciate Nail Gym is an intensive strengthening product for strong, toned and healthy nails. Use twiced weekly, it will deliver hardening effects for improved nail condition. Mavala Nail Hardener also helps prevent flaky and split nails. 

Next, OPI A Team nail treatment and care expert Bryony McMillian recommends using specialist cuticle products such as balms and oils. “Cuticle oil helps to nourish and hydrate the skin and nails,” she says. “It also hydrates the root of the nail and allows a healthier, more nourished nail to grow through.”

Direct customers to Bourjois Magic Nail Care Treatment, which has a massaging sponge applicator infused with jojoba oil to nourish nails and cuticles, without damaging polish. Alternatively, Nailberry Coconut Nail Balm can be massaged into nails and fingertips to aid healthy nail growth and keep cuticles soft, while Maybelline Dr Rescue SOS Nail Balm nourishes the nail and cuticle, and its pen applicator makes it easy for on-the-go use.

As well as soft cuticles, it’s important to tame them too, to ensure they don’t grow too much into the nail bed. To remove unwanted cuticles, Sally Hansen 18k Gold Cuticle Eraser relies on quartz granules, while Butter London Melt Away Cuticle Eliminator will gradually “train” cuticles to behave so that they decrease in size and hardness until they are constantly thin, soft and easy to deal with.

Finally, for a treat while customers sleep, Ciate Knight in Shining Armour overnight nail mask is enriched with marula oil. It should be applied to bare nails before bedtime and rinsed off in the morning for rejuvenated, healthier-looking nails.

Wash with care

According to Dr Friedmann: “Hands are extremely sensitive and any use of products containing harsh chemicals will only further aggravate skin.”

So, for a gentler, more pure and natural way of washing their hands, lead customers to Method Hand Wash, which is made from naturally-derived, biodegradable ingredients, without parabens and harsh chemicals that can irritate skin. Or suggest Origins Ginger Hand Cleanser for a coconut-derived wash bursting with ginger’s irresistibly warm and sensual aroma.

Nailed it!

Just like we use BB creams on our faces to magically hide a multitude of sins, it’s now time to focus on BB creams for nails. ORLY BB Crème, for example, is infused with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to help prime, brighten and smooth bare nails. Yes, it’s basically make-up for fingertips.

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