Hands Down

8 years ago by


Erik Melvin

Did you wash your hands today? How many times? And did you apply moisturizing SPF after that? Mmmm?

I know. We’ve been talking about our hands at the studio; what we do and what we’re supposed to do that we never do, and we all agreed on one thing – we need to know a little bit more about the best practices, and how to keep our hands looking as good as possible, for as long as possible.

Because the eyes might be the window to one’s soul, but the hands are the window to one’s age, and we’d REALLY like to keep that window closed (and the blinds down).


So we all know that SPF is a key player in maintaining healthy skin, but I’d be lying if I said that regularly applying it to my hands was part of my routine.

But like other parts of our body (face, neck, and arms), one of the best ways to maintain healthy and youthful hands is to protect them from the harmful UV rays we never even knew we were exposing them to. For instance:

– Walking to work on a sunny day
– Spending Saturday morning browsing the farmer’s market
– Having brunch on a hot patio
– Getting a manicure (especially if it’s gel! Those UV hand dryers are like tanning beds for your hands)
– Driving (crazy right?! But think of all that direct sunlight. Some people even opt for wearing gloves, but I think I’ll stick with sunscreen)

You get it. If our hands are going to be exposed to any amount of sunlight or UV rays, they should be protected first.

And since after sunscreen, moisturizing is one of the best ways to maintain good hands (especially lathering up before bed!), I’m stocking up on hand cream that includes SPF for the coming summer months, like Clinique’s Even Better Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream with SPF 15. Done and done.

But beyond the slightly obvious sunscreen and moisturizing aspects of hand care, it’s always good to incorporate habits that will help prevent the more visible signs of aging:

– Hand stretches: As simple as stretching out your palms and gently bending your fingers back, the movements will relieve pressure and increase circulation, helping to prevent big, blue varicose veins.

– Safe hair removal: If ridding yourself of unwanted hair (hey, it happens to the best of us!) is high on your priority list, waxing or laser hair removal might be the most effective and least damaging options (but not necessarily cheap or painless).

And if you think you’d benefit most from a complete overhaul and rejuvenation of your hands, a prescription retinoid cream can help improve texture and collagen growth, while undergoing an increasingly popular procedure for fillers (dermal injections), can help with smoothness, volume, and overall appearance.

While the surgical route might not be for everyone (my stomach is entirely too weak to even think about it), it does work wonders for others. Like Sharon Stone! Who talked about her use of the procedure in the latest issue of French ELLE. Aaaah, celebrity, always on the forefront of all things crazy (that we will think of as perfectly normal in 10 years).

The Nails

While we’re huge fans of fun manicures and funky nail art in the studio, we also agree that there is nothing cute about broken, discolored nails. In my desperate attempt to justify maintaining colored fingernails, I was relieved to learn that healthy nails don’t necessarily have to mean kicking our polish habit to the curb. Instead:

– Let your nails “breathe” for at least a week in between manicures
– Always use a base coat before applying your favorite polish
– If you do experience the nail stain (when they turn yellow or brown), rub a lemon wedge over them. The citrus naturally helps lighten the color, just look out for paper cuts!
– Regularly taking biotin supplements for at least 4-6 months will help improve nail strength (and hair length – win, win!)
– Switch to a natural, acetone free nail polish remover to avoid brittleness
– Increase your personal maintenance level to “high” by adding a nail mask to your weekly routine. That’s right, like a face mask, but for your fingers.

So what do you do to keep your hands loved and in good shape? Any products, tips, or tricks that perform miracles? I’m looking for eternal youth over here.

hands down garance dore photo

Antique Cornelean Seal Ring, Elizabeth Locke ; Tsavorite Scarab Ring, Foundrae ; B Signet Ring with Diamond, Foundrae

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  • La photo est sublime !!

    Amélie – Charles Ray and Coco

  • every time i moisturize my face, i also do my neck and hands! :)


  • Dior Apricot Cuticle Cream. It’s been on my night table for years, even before it’s cult following ~~
    It will keep your nails so healthy & strong.

  • Great Picture!!!!
    I always think that is great to take care of yourself your face your body your hands…this is the first place you can really see ones age…protection from the sun isn’t luxury but necessity…but with all this said enough fighting against your age accept getting old and maybe wiser:)
    From The World With Love
    Yael Guetta


  • Charlotte May, 12 2016, 10:19 / Reply

    Sleeping with gloves (you can also let it soak in when watching TV). My beauty secret and regimen. My mother’s friend has the most amazing youthful hands. She taught me that this is key to achieve that. It’s not sexy, I admit, but it sure does the trick. I always use The Body Shop’s ‘Moisturising Organic Cotton Gloves’.

  • Kim Barberich May, 12 2016, 10:40 / Reply

    Love the nail color? What is it?

  • Natalie May, 12 2016, 11:07

    Hi Kim! The nail color is Bluette by Dior, which you can find here! x Natalie

  • I often use coconut oil for my hands. It is simple and effective way to get them moisturized. Plus, I like its smell. When it comes to hand creams, I’ve tried a lot of them and I found many that I liked but not that single one I want to commit to, so I tend to change them…I must admit that I’ve been bad when it comes to protecting my hands from the sun and applying sunscreen in general is something I know I should do, but I don’t.

  • Monique May, 12 2016, 10:52 / Reply

    Agree with Yael and grow old gracefully.

  • merci pour le rappel ! Super !

  • Katarzyna May, 12 2016, 11:19 / Reply

    I’m loving Neutrogena anti-ageing hand cream with SPF 25!! I think it’s super high protection for a hand cream, not to mention it’s available in drugstores under 4 €. :) Sooo good!
    Other than that my grandma taught me to rub the backs of my hand with lemon after squeezing the juice out – it’s supposed to brighten your skin. Not sure it’s working, but I keep doing it anyway ;)

  • It’s good to protect skin from the sun, but hands are often very beautiful even when old and gnarled. It’s how they’re used, how they move, the grace and confidence and strength and gentleness, that makes them so.

  • Agreed! While we should all protect ourselves from sun damage and take care of ourselves to the best of our abilities, I am saddened by the tone of this post’s focus on the pursuit of eternal youth. I am also in my 40’s. I take care of myself and I’m focusing on embracing my age – grey hairs, wrinkles, and all the other markers of a well-lived life. As a long-time reader of this blog, I know that previous posts have featured marvelous older women and thoughtful posts about aging. Unfortunately, for me, this post doesn’t resonate as positive or as celebratory as those.

  • I worked outdoors on rivers for a decade in my 20’s and my skin has certainly suffered. My hands especially, not only the sun exposure but the constant wet/dry environment of water sports. I remember the older women telling me to protect my beautiful skin and I was too young to realize the wisdom in their words. By the middle of summer I was so brown I didn’t need sunscreen any more…I shudder a bit at the thought. Those freckles and wrinkles came with a lot of fun in the sun, but I do with I had protected myself a bit more. Now in my 40’s I am vigilant.

  • Katherine May, 12 2016, 1:32 / Reply

    High maintenance nails (very absorbent, start shedding even pro polish like crazy once wet) means I rarely wear polish, so I focus on having great natural nails. Push back & trim any rough cuticle after every shower. Constant application of natural creams. And using natural cleaning products (e.g. detergent) so that it doesn’t damage my skin, or the planet. Coconut oil & brown sugar scrub after every load of dishes; massage into cuticles as well.

    I do have trouble with sunscreen for my hands (even though I was using it for my face in the late ’80’s when I was 12; amazing psychic powers…), since it’s goopy & they get washed a lot. So, latest experiment is sunscreen stick; easy to tuck into bags. Now, if I could just remember to use it…

  • It’s a very good point. People often forget that hands are exposed to the sun maybe even more than your face (in case you wear a sun hat).
    Do use SPF on your hands, too!


  • Moi je garde ma creme pour les mains a cote de l’ordi et ,propres ou pas,m’en bidigeonne des que je l’allume.Pour le reste ,malheureusement,je me ronge les ongles depuis toute petite et etant violoniste,il n’est meme pas envisageable de porter du vernis colore au quotidien.J’en reviens aux mains (les miennes ,archi seches) et justement,aujourd’hui je suis tombee sur un article que disait que “Garance Dore recommande la creme khiel’s pour le corps”en application sur les mains.Prochain investissement en vue.Merci!

  • Ack, this made me realize that I never think about my hands beyond washing them. I don’t even apply lotion to my hands during non-winter months because I don’t seem to have a problem with dry skin there.

  • J’ai la peau claire si bien qu’une année, j’ai pas pensé à mettre de la crême solaire entre les doigts sur les mains. Résultat, j’avais la peau zébrée après… Depuis je me souviens toujours de cet épisode douloureux et me badigeonne de crème solaire même entre les doigts. Et ne pas oublier les pieds et les doigts de pieds aussi est une bonne idée ! Je suis une experte en la matière !

  • Stephanie May, 12 2016, 3:34 / Reply

    Wear gloves if washing any dishes. I’ve done this for 10 years and it helps a lot!

  • Murielle May, 12 2016, 5:13 / Reply

    Je me lave les mains au moins 30 fois par jour et j’avoue que j’oublie toujours de mettre de la crème.
    Et oui du coup mes mains font vieilles, il est grand temps de commencer à les hydrater plus souvent.

  • Mon secret: Un mix beurre de karité+huile de jojoba ou d’argan+mon HE préférée (en ce moment géranium) le soir avant de dormir en couche épaisse et pareil sur mes pieds… Peau de bébé assurée au réveil!



  • Weleda Skin Food keeps my hands from splintering under the sunlight that hits them to and from my bike ride to work!

  • I’m religious about sunscreen on face and body, but I note ruefully the brown spots on hands from years of no sunscreen. Every spring I’m determined to add an SPF hand cream to my daily routine and while out an around for reapplication. Then I try it. And get white smears on the car door, steering wheel, handbag — no matter how well I rub it in. I’d love a recommendation that soaks in and doesn’t wipe of a white residue later. :-). Maybe then I won’t give up so quickly this year.

  • samantha May, 13 2016, 9:19 / Reply

    BioOil – at the drugstore – is very effective for both skin and nails!

  • Nice post ;)


  • i always apply lush lemon flutter in my cuticules is amazingg you should try itt !!!

  • Andrea May, 13 2016, 3:49 / Reply

    As for the driving….if you don´t have cabriolet, you´re fine, glass doesn´t let UV rays in…trust me on this, I´m materials expert ;)

  • Elodie May, 13 2016, 3:59 / Reply

    Et on n’oublie pas le gommage pour les mains également ;-)
    Etant une accro aux vernis, je chouchoute mes mains très souvent et j’adore ça !!

  • Wendy. May, 14 2016, 12:27 / Reply

    I wear gloves when I drive. Years of hands on the steering wheel will take it’s toll. Nothing fancy. Just fun orange polka dot gardening gloves from Hable – that delight my soul and protect from el Sole’.

  • melissa lee December, 2 2016, 12:05 / Reply

    I have loved watching you blossom in America!!!

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