I work in an office so my fingers take a lot of beating on keyboards, drying up due to air conditioners, radiators heating inside, and it is really cold here in the UK, which also doesn't help.
Pair that up with running a nail art blog, and you really gotta look after your skin.
I know my hands have not looked the best at times, but after a lot of trial and error, reminding myself to be better at looking after my hands and nails, I have found a couple of things that works for me, and that might work for you as well.
Since I am prone to very dry skin, that breaks up, gets red, itchy, hangnails and all that stuff, finding a solution has not been the easiest at times.
Add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and you have to be vigil.
Scrubbing and peeling DIY
Lotions and moisturisers DIYI got hold of some 100% pure Aloe Vera Gel, and mixed in with Coconut oil (60% coconut oil, and 40% Aloe Vera Gel if you want to make it yourself). Rub it in on your skin. Before taking pictures I take a soft cloth and dab away the shine and my skin looks a lot better on pictures even on bad skin-days. It is also great for when you just stepped out of the shower for a nice treat.
A little trick I learned from grandma.
When I have a pampering session I grab my homemade lotion bar and give my hands a little massage. The lotion-bars contains 3 ingredients and does wonders to the skin. Coconut oil, beeswax and a little avocado oil (equal parts of all ingredients).
Melt the coconut oil and mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour in silicon moulds of your choice.
Leave for a day to dry, and put in a container and keep in a cool place. Massage on hands as needed.
Lets say you don't feel like mixing up stuff in the kitchen and order in oils and beeswax from Amazon, what about store bought moisturisers?
The Helping Hand is very calming and moisturising for when my skin gets very itchy. Unfortunately it doesn't last long on my skin, and I have to keep reapplying it. I have found out that if I have itchy skin, I can apply Lush - Helping Hand, and then follow up with another moisturiser after half an hour or so. This way I get itchy free skin, and the second moisturiser helps on keeping my skin nice and soft.
Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter is for many the holy grail of cuticle butter on the market, and I am a huge fan as well, but on broken skin, I would strongly advise against it.
If you have a sore nose with a cold, dabbing on a little bit of this around your nose with a cotton, sure makes the skin feel a lot nicer.
If you like to hike in the mountains, bring this with you next time and if it gets cold up there, apply some of this on your face so it won't suffer from the harsh wind and cold.
Burt Bees & Body ShopIn the office I have a tin of Burt Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, a tube of Body Shop Chanvre Creme Protectrice Mains (hemp moisturizer for extreme dry skin). I also keep a pair of cotton gloves handy, so if my hands are getting extremely dry, I can moisturize and put the gloves on for a little bit with both products on my cuticles and hands.
Also repeat this at night time if I have particular dry and/or itchy skin that day. The Body Shop -Chanvre Creme Protectrice Mains (now called: Hemp Hand Protector) is great at dealing with both dry and itchy skin. I recently discovered that The Body Shop has changed the label on this line from when I last purchased a tube of their hemp moisturizer. They currently (at the time of writing this) has them on 50% discount. So if you like this moisturizer, now is the time to stock up. I know I did, plus some extra for Christmas presents.
With this one, little goes a long way, but it has a strange scent (hemp) to it that doesn't do very well in an office environment.
In my kitchen I had the Burt Bees Almond and Milk Hand Cream, I find that this one is specially good after washing up when your skin really needs something to bring moisture back.
I recently ran out of this and found that replacing it with my Honey and Coconut Lotion Bars does the same job. So I crushed up two bars in the old Almond and Milk Hand Cream jar and been using that ever since.
I have a Burt Bees Hand Salve in my bag, as well as Pure Argan Oil in a small polish bottle.
I would compare the Burt Bees Hand Salve with Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter in terms of just how much moisture it provides. While Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter can feel a bit stingy on broken skin Burt Bees Hand Salve soothes it and helps the healing process
I wanted to talk about Atrix - Intensive Protection Cream. Like Lush - Helping Hands, a product designed for nurses struggling with skin-dryness due to high frequent washing and harsh products. It contains Chamomile which is great for itchy skin, and is thicker than Lush - Helping Hands and therefor lasts longer without having any problems with it feeling slippery on the hands.
I discovered that this is also available at Superdrugs under the name: Atrixo Intensive Protection Cream, currently being sold for £3.15
Another product from Atrix that is really good is Atrix - Professional Repair Cream. This one is available to purchase in the UK through various sites and Amazon. Atrix - Professional Repair Cream is best for those hands that looks beyond saving, and with daily use can bring even the roughest hands to youthful glow.
Boots and SuperdrugI also keep a bottle of Nail Apothecary - Nail Elixir at my desk in the nail cave. I find that while this does give some moisture it mostly just looks nice without actually giving any deep moisture. Nail Apothecary - Nail Elixir is therefor best as a touch up product or a summertime product.
A product similar to the before mentioned Atrix Intensive Protection Cream aka Atrixo - Intensive Protection Cream (for those in the UK), is Neutrogena - Norwegian Formula Hand and Nail Cream, it's lacking on the calming ingredients and it looks somewhat glossy on the hands which is why I would recommend Atrix/Atrixo over the Neutrogena any day.
For transitioning into warmer weather when you don't need as much moisture added to the skin two products I really enjoy is the Superdrug - Hand Cream and Nivea - Q10 Plus Age Defying Hand Cream. Both products keeps the skin looking its best, sinks into the skin quickly without leaving the skin feeling greasy.
UK Indie Stores has some awesome stuff for keeping hands and nails in good condition during the cold season, be it from Etsy or directly from the maker.
Some time ago I purchased the Soap Dodger Cuticle Balm as I was curious to test it out. It has a very light texture and melts very quickly into the skin. The scent is nice and fresh which reminds me of lemon gelato di crema. In terms of moisture delivery it is very good, but Lush - Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter provides a bit more. I feel like adding Soap Dodger - Cuticle Balm on top of other more moisturising products really seals it all in.
Another product that I have tried has been the Soap Dodger - Cuticle Oil I got this as a free sample when I did a large haul from them a while back. I am not a huge fan of the scent on it, but it gives decent moisture. When I add this to all my nails it has usually soaked up before I get to rub it in. It works great for pictures, but not so much for a daily Cuticle Oil in my opinion.
The winner for me in terms of Cuticle Oils has been the Opulent Essences - Nail/ Cuticle Oil , it has a nice and pleasant scent with a soya bean oil base. It is very high on moisture, sinks into the skin rather quick but not too quick so you have time to apply to all your nails before the product is gone and you feel like applying it all over again.
There you have my top Winter Survival Tips for Hands and Nails.