Ellen Sirot is one of the most in-demand models in the business, but you probably wouldn't recognize her face. That's because Sirot is a parts model, using her hands, legs, and feet to land clients including Clinique, Maybelline, Estee Lauder, and Elizabeth Arden. (And that's only a minuscule sampling of the thousands of jobs she's done!) Her new line of hand-care treatments, Hand Perfection, was developed after years of caring for her own money-making mitts. And though you already know this, the best measure of someone's age is her hand condition — so if you want to avoid age spots and discoloration tomorrow, take care of your hands today. Want her best advice for having healthy, beautiful digits? For nine tips, read more
Allow me to brag about my yenta skills for a moment. Three years ago, I brought my buddy Josh to an office party. Josh is a super-cute and talented musician (check out Parks and Gardens), so I introduced him to my friend Antonia — a gorgeous, funny music editor. They had a coffee date, then some more dates, and eventually they moved in together. Fast-forward to this past weekend, when Josh proposed to Antonia. She said yes, and trust me when I say that they are just the sweetest, nicest engaged couple in all of Chicago.
So in honor of the lovebirds and the beautiful ring now sitting on Antonia's finger, I bring you hand creams. After all, hands that will be showing off a new bit of jewelry deserve to be massaged, pampered, and moisturized.
Toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate — all chemicals considered dangerous for our bodies and the environment, and yet they are still found in many nail products. Sophie Uliano is the author of Gorgeously Green: 8 Simple Steps to an Earth-Friendly Life ($15.25), where she discusses everything from choosing an earth-friendly lipstick to preparing eco-conscious treats.
Last year, Uliano appeared on Oprah with her friend Julia Roberts to celebrate Earth Day. And now, she has some tips for greening your manicure, along with specific product suggestions she shared with me. Uliano recommends mixing up a "gorgeously green" bag to take with you to your next manicure. Find out her suggestions when you read more
By my calculations, I've spent 30 hours in an airplane in the last month. It was just as much fun as you can imagine, and now my skin is paying the price. Along with some serious Clarisonic time for my face, I've been applying hand creams like crazy. And now there's one that deserves to be on the list of my favorite hand creams: Amala Hydrating hand cream ($13.50).
You'll be taken in by the cool packaging of this German eco-friendly brand; its strong (and recyclable!) paper cylinders are topped off with cork. But what's inside is just as enticing: Organic plant-based skin care that's free of synthetics and petrochemicals. And the scent! Its jasmine fragrance is soft and subtle, giving me the sweetest-smelling knuckles in a five-mile radius. Plus, it goes on smoothly, leaves no trace of greasiness, and generally improves my mood to the point that I don't even mind having to eat so much airline food.
I know my obsession with hand creams borders on the ridiculous. (You don't even know how hard it was to choose my five favorites.) But look, when Ryan Gosling and I inevitably meet, I'll be well-prepared. "My, that Bella has soft and smooth skin," he'll think as we shake hands. "I must ask her on a date and uncover her secret." So to be ready for this highly plausible scenario, I like to keep my paws soft.
I've just found the perfect purse-friendly way to keep my addiction going: Nivea Soft. It comes in a small plastic jar with less than an ounce of product in it, so unlike creams that come in tubes, it runs no risk of being punctured by an errant pen. The whipped texture sinks into skin pretty quickly, and the classic Nivea scent reminds me of my grandmother. And at just 99 cents for this little container, it's a steal. I picked mine up at Walgreens, and now it's in my bag. You know, just in case I run into you-know-who.
One of the first products created by Wei East, a company based around Chinese herbs, is China Herbal Hand & Body Perfection ($15). I've tried many hand and body lotions, but this has to be the smoothest and creamiest to date. That, however, doesn't mean that it is also my favorite.
Let's take a moment to talk about the key attributes. For one, it has an incredibly rich formula with a powerful gingery-floral fragrance. It contains five herbs from the Ming Dynasty: curcuma, glycyrrhiza uralensis (or licorice root), ginger, red sage, and ginseng. These ingredients are believed to heal, moisturize, smooth, repair, and reduce inflammation on the skin of your hands. The thick, silky-smooth formula spreads easily without you having to warm it up.
Unfortunately, it is also extremely greasy. The packaging says to apply a generous amount so I squirted about half of the diameter of the cap into my palm. Not only was this far too much, but now I can't seem to get the scent to go away (which I guess could be considered both good and bad).
If you're someone who has very dry skin, or even cracked skin that isn't sensitive, this is wonderful product. The oils will help nourish and normalize your moisture level. If you skin gets irritated easily, my one worry is that the fragrance might be too strong.
I'm a big fan of Philosophy products. I love the packaging, the cutesy names and the way the company always creates such festive items for holidays and celebrations. However, I've found one product that I just can't stand behind. Their Handmade Lemon Custard Hand Cream ($10-$18) has a milky, lemon scent that has a past-its sell-by-date food smell. Mom always told me never to mix lemon with milk, and this is a perfect example why it's a bad idea.
The formula is outrageously thick and although most of the lotion absorbs quickly, what remains is a fair amount of white, waxy residue that looks like clotted curdle in your cuticles. Not only are you left with an itching desire to wipe your hands on your legs (anything nongreasy), but when the smell sets in, you'll be running for the hills to find a sink. I've told you before that I'm a big hand cream gal, but this shea, mango, and cocoa-butter lotion leaves me with nothing but a sour taste in my mouth.
Since Memorial Day weekend pretty much kicks off the summery season of barbecues and beachy fun, it's important to protect your skin from the sun's rays. I know I sound like a broken record, but it's a cause dear to my heart; my dad had to have a pre-cancerous mole removed from his face a few years ago, and if he'd worn sunblock, it may have never developed. And on the beauty end of things, wearing SPF keeps your complexion healthy, too. Since there are so many self-tanners on the market, there really is no excuse not to protect your skin. Here's what I suggest you take with you during your Memorial Day adventures — these are actually the same products in my "sun kit."
- A wide-brimmed hat: Essential for keeping the sun out of your eyes, it's also a great fashion statement. This one, from Target, is only $12.99, and it comes in black as well.
- A killer pair of shades: The best sunglasses are large and in charge, with lenses that provide shade all around your eyes — above them, below them, and to the sides. I picked up my Nour sunnies for $40 at a sample sale, but you don't have to spend even that much for a good pair. Look for shades labeled UV400, which protect against UVA and UVB rays.
- A high-SPF sunblock: SPF 15 is the absolute minimum, but SPF 30 is better. Beyond that, higher numbers mean only slight increases in protection, but if you're going to be outside, you might as well do it carefully. I've been using Neutrogena Ultra-Touch ($7.49) because of its broad-spectrum protection. It doesn't feel heavy, it isn't greasy, and although I could do without the too-strong scent, it's a wise buy. After all, the trick to sun protection is to never over-pay for it.
- The little details: Don't forget to protect your lips and hands. Look for a lip balm or gloss with SPF. I always carry Murad Energizing Pomegranate Lip Protector ($16.50) because it moisturizes and adds just a hint of hue while it protects lips. For hands, Palmer's Therapeutic Hand Cream ($4.69) offers SPF 8 — not amazing, but if you're a frequent hand-washer, applying this cream can't hurt.
I'm a hand cream junkie, so it is with great pleasure and conviction that I present my top five favorites to you. Over the past year, I've tested many a cream in search of my favorite, and I have two. The first is June Jacobs Green Tea and Cucumber Hand Cream ($46) because of its quick rate of absorbency, non-greasy feeling and soothing scent.
The second is L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream ($25) because of its rich, thick texture and unparalleled soothing results. If there's one thing I've learned from my experiences, it's that the key to a good hand cream is shea butter, and the higher the content, the better. Below are three runners-up that I use regularly to soothe dry, chapped hands. What's your all-time favorite hand cream?
- Kiehl's Unusually Rich — But Not Greasy At All — Hand Cream with SPF 10 ($15.50) takes the cake when it comes to consistency since it's not too thick and not too runny. It's also not greasy whatsoever and it's a great sports cream since it contains SPF 10.
- Liz Earle Hand Repair ($28.50) smells like heaven and works wonders on dry cuticles. A little goes a long way, and there's also a travel tube available for $8.
- Yu-Be Cream ($15) is a high quality Japanese yellow-tinted hand cream that moisturizes on a healing level. I highly recommend this fast-absorbing lotion — if you can handle the strong camphor scent.