Being at work for 15+ hours takes a big toll on your look. I use my hands all day long (buckling actor's shoes, cutting fabric and folding laundry) and they start to look really bedraggled by about hour eight.
My cuticles really bear the brunt of the abuse. If I'm not careful, they end up bleeding, raw, and painful at the end of the day. I handmade over a dozen detailed costumes in just two days for Demetri Martin's live stage show in Austin a few years ago and my hands ended up totally shredded. Thank goodness I was staying at my mommy's house, because she did this for me every night before I went to bed:
It totally helped, but since that 10-finger bandage debacle, I've started taking better care of my hands -- starting with my poor, beaten down cuticles. I now keep a tiny tube of easy-to-apply cuticle oil in my pocket or purse and use it religiously throughout every day. This clever Avoplex by OPI one has a built in brush to apply the product and a cap that screws on tightly, preventing it from leaking everywhere.
Using it every couple of hours makes a HUGE difference in how raggedy my hands look by the end of a shoot. Moisturized cuticles are far less prone to tearing and peeling. There's a reason why Allure mag gave this miraculous cuticle oil their 'Editor's Choice Best of Beauty Award' three years in a row -- it works.
The OPI Avoplex cuticle oil also makes a great stocking stuffer or mini-gift. I gave them to all the ladies at my favorite costume house last year and they were a huge hit. Sorting, pinning, and tagging clothes all day long takes a toll on your hands -- they end up dry as a bone. Dryness is the #1 enemy of beauty!
I keep a tube of it on my nightstand. Right before I go to bed, I slap some on and spend about a minute massaging it in. I also keep one in my glove box, my desk drawer and my set bag at work. It's made an enormous difference in how my hands look and feel. My cuticles don't dry out and split as easily as they used to. I have far fewer hangnails now, and I swear my manicures last longer. Persistent, consistent cuticle oil use really pays off.
Cuticle oil is your first line of defense against dry, bedraggled hands, but it isn't the only line of defense. Claire recently texted me this vaguely horrifying photo of her nails and asked: "Help! What's the best way to rid myself of hangnails? I'm infested with them!"
You wanna take a guess as to what the number one cause of hangnails is? DRYNESS. Cold weather and frequent hand washing help to exacerbate already dry skin. After I told her to get with the program and start using cuticle oil religiously, I also recommended she acquire a pair of cuticle nippers -- because once you've experienced using a pair, you'll never want to be without them. They are the perfect v-shape that allows you to get in there and trim the tiniest hangnails or torn cuticles before they have a chance to get any worse.
I swear by this $13.99 Revlon pair you can get at any drugstore. Don't bother wasting your money on a cheaper pair -- because if they aren't sharp, they'll end up doing more harm than good. By the same token, I don't find the $25.00 pairs of cuticle nippers to be any better than the Revlon ones.
If you aren't currently taking care of your cuticles, get with the program! It's one of the easiest things you can do to save your pretty little hands from looking bedraggled. Get started right now -- or I swear you'll be way sorry later.
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