Wedding-Ready Hands and Feet
From showcasing your ring to clasping your bouquet, your fingers will be a point of focus in photos. To get them in their best shape, start budgeting in weekly or bi-weekly manicures. "A professional paint job will help you resist the urge to pick at ragged cuticles or bite your nails," say Jenna Hipp, a Los Angeles manicurist. "Keep a mani maintenance kit on hand, too." Or, swipe on a fresh coat of your paint at home to get the same benefits on a budget.
If your hands are really parched, use a rich cream that contains shea butter or argan oil. Both are great moisturizers and last through multiple washings. And try to incorporate more olive, sunflower-seed, grapeseed, coconut, and fish oils into your diet. They contain essential fatty acids that help keep your skin supple.
Care for Your Cuticles
Ironically, "cutting them only makes them grow back more quickly and can lead to infections and cuts," says Hipp. "If you're washing dishes or doing housework, apply drops of cuticle remover and slip hands into disposable gloves." When you remove them, any excess skin will come off painlessly with a tiny nudge from an orange stick -- no nippers needed.
Get Your B Vitamins
If your nails are weak or peeling, try taking a vitamin B or biotin capsule every day. "It will help your body better metabolize fats, proteins, and amino acids, which ultimately boosts the hardness, elasticity, and sheen of your nails," says Hipp.
Apply a Base Coat
It may seem like an unnecessary step, but a coat of primer is actually essential for keeping your nails fit and extending the wear of your polish. "This foundation protects nails from being stained by pigmented colors, and it helps the polish glide on smoothly, too," says Hipp.
Care for Your Hands As You Do Your Face
When smoothing on your SPF-containing sunscreen or daily face cream in the morning, massage a little bit onto the backs of your hands to prevent discoloration and lines. If you already have signs of these things, slather hands with a lotion that contains lightening ingredients such as soy or kojic acid.
Whip Up a Scrub
To keep your fingers soft and smooth, mix 1 cup finely powdered oatmeal, 1/2 cup coarse sea salt, and 1/2 cup dried herbs (like chamomile, rosemary, or mint). Create a big batch, and store it in a tightly sealed jar. For best results, use it every other day after you shower. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mix, and rub it together with a tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil; then scrub all over your hands, legs, and feet.
Flatter Your Fingers
To get graceful-looking hands, ask your nail technician for a "squoval" shape -- a hybrid of square and oval. And to create the illusion of longer fingers using polish, leave a fraction of space between the paint and the sides of your nails.
File Your Feet
To get rid of seriously dry soles, use a foot file, pumice stone, or sanding block once a week. After showering, wet the tool and use it to gently buff your toes and heels until the skin feels smooth. "The most crucial step is to apply moisturizer right after," says Beth Fricke, a Los Angeles-based manicurist. "You just removed a layer, so you have to add new one."
Make a Foot Mask
Mix some of your regular body moisturizer with a couple of drops of olive oil, then zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Slather the warm mixture onto clean feet, then cover them with plastic wrap. After twenty minutes, they'll be smooth and supple.
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