While I love winter weather, what I really don’t love is the effect it has on my skin, particularly my hands. I have thin, delicate skin on my hands (despite my guitar player’s callouses) that irritates easily with the cold, and cuticles that tend to look especially ragged once Thanksgiving has passed.
While I didn’t always pay such attention to my hands, the French tend to look at one’s nails closely as a reflection on personal character and morality (I swear!) and so having nice, soft hands has become pathos for me. So for winter, I stock up on rich hand creams and cuticle oils, and make sure that my palms are pampered.
While most hand creams will do for year round, the current deep freeze calls for extreme measures, so I am currently using Elizabeth Arden’s 8 hour cream. This cream didn’t earn legendary status for nothing – with its bizarre orange color and strong herbal odor, it hydrates even the most damaged crocodile skins. In the Swiss Alps, English roses swear by this for lips, hands and even faces, making sure that wind burn is only the sort of thing middle-aged tourists get on the slopes.The 8 hour cream will absolutely leave a greasy residue and a strong smell that last for about 15 minutes, but the skin quenching properties are worth the inconvenience – my hands are currently baby soft, with no visible cracks or dryness. The 8 hour cream is expensive (about $20USD for a 1.7 oz tube) but will last all winter long. Use the 8 hour cream sparingly – it is very rich and very thick, and will leave a very shiny, lasting residue otherwise.
Now that my hands have been taken care of, I also need to pay attention to my cuticles – the giveaway of rough winter skin. I’m currently using a cheap bottle of nail oil from Miss Helen, Monoprix supermarket’s beauty brand. This bottle is very tiny, but lasts and lasts (a drop on each nail will do) and is filled with healing goodness – from vitamin E to sweet almond oil. Cuticle oils are widely available in drugstores, but you can also make your own, using any combination of hydrating oils, including Argan, Almond, etc. I use the cuticle oil 3 – 4 times a week, massaging it into my entire nail area, and it keeps rough cuticles mostly at bay, as well as giving a healthy sheen to my nails.
Do you have any winter skin tips? Please share in the comments!