Mine is picking at the skin around my nails – I know, it’s disgusting. I go through phases where it doesn’t look too bad, where I’ve been able to leave my fingers alone – this usually coincides with them being painted in a nice shade of nail polish, where vanity takes precedence and I don’t want to spoil the effect.
But even after painting my nails yesterday with MAC’s gorgeous Vintage Vamp – a deep, dark black cherry hue – I still managed to make my thumb bleed by tearing off a strip of skin beside the nail this morning. Revolting. Add this to the fact that my general clumsiness meant I cut my left hand while trying to open a bottle of wine, and it looks and feels like my hands have been through a shredder.
Louise wrote about this on the US site – it’s called Dermatillomania apparently, and from reading all the comments it seems it’s a common phenomenon. My experience really isn’t that bad, it just looks a bit messy and stings a little (even when decorated jauntily with a Star Wars plaster.)
I put this current bought of owie-creation (I call them ‘owies’ for obvious reasons, my friend who comes from Middlesbrough has always referred to them as ‘wicklows’) down to having particularly dry hands at the moment. Is it the change in the seasons? Could I be washing my hands more frequently? I don’t know, but they don’t feel or look particularly nice – all chalky and powdery, yuk.
But here’s the thing: I hate using any kind of hand lotion. It just gets on my nerves, especially when I’m writing all day – what, I have to wait for it to sink in completely or get sticky fingers all over the keyboard? No thanks. I know some people positively relish the prospect of slathering their hands in lotion – it becomes a ritual, something to break up the day, like nipping outside for a fag. But it’s not for me.
So I’ve been trying to find some pleasant hand creams that won’t put me off with their sickly, floral scents and sticky, greasy formulations. And to make this a two-pronged owie attack, I’m going to keep my nails painted all the time to reduce the temptation to un-prettify them.
I’m currently alternating between two MAC polishes which feel appropriate for the season – Vintage Vamp, which is the colour of my old oxblood Dr Martens, and Quiet Time, which is a soft, mushroomy grey-beige. It’s subtle and chic but makes your nails look finished. I put Butter London’s Nail Foundation on first, then finish with their Hardwear Topcoat.
So, hand creams that don't smell overpowering or leave hands feeling tacky. First up is Aesop's Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm - I've used this in enough fancy loos now (Albion and Radio hair salon on Redchurch Street to name but two) to know that this stuff is the business. It's a light fluid that has a clean, botanical scent and it really doesn't leave a sticky film - well worth the £19 for the giant bottle. I am psyching myself up to make this purchase because I know it'll be worth it.
But while the Aesop's looking all fancy in my bathroom at home, I'll be carrying this little beauty in my handbag - good old Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Concentrated Unscented Hand Cream. I don't know why the fact it's Norwegian makes me feel good, but it does - all no-nonsense, wholesome and honest, or something. It's effective and affordable - what's not to love?
I'm already a fan of Pommade Divine's original balm (which smells like Christmas - clove, cinnamon and nutmeg oils) and have been trying to remember to massage that into my cuticles, but I think this stuff will be even better for my hands. It's lightweight, non-oily and contains lavender to reduce bruises and presumably even make 'owies' better.
Oh Kielhs, you can do no wrong in my book. This stuff is heavy-duty, for extremely dry skin so rather than using it during the day, I would probably use it as an intensive treatment - slathering it on last thing at night then trying to sleep with my hands held aloft like a zombie.
If anything is going to coax me into the everyday faff of using a hand cream, it's something delightfully rose-scented like this one from Neal's Yard. I can't resist that fragrance in any beauty product, from skincare to shampoo, so I'd be quite happy if my mitts smelled of roses.
My stingy soul rejoices at the £2.25 price tag on Palmer's Olive Butter Formula cream, which uses all the big hitting moisturising ingredients, from olive oil to shea butter and Vitamin E to relieve dry, cracked skin on hands, elbows, knees AND feet. A multi-purpose, budget wonder.
Ok, time to share: what’s your worst beauty habit?