Thursday, November 11, 2010

Have you moisturized today?

If you are reading this blog, I assume you have some motivation for obtaining better looking fingers.  If your motivation is running low, at the very least if you do nothing else, please moisturize.  This is one of the best ways to get rid of hang nails, prevent breaks, peels, and many many nail problems.

In my opinion there is no right moisture delivery system, but here is a good list of possibilities:

1. Lotion (body, hand, thick, thin, rich or whatever)
2. Butters (body butters, lemon butter, cocoa butters, hand salves)
3. Oil (olive, Vitamin E, almond, specialty mix)
4. Brand name cuticle cream

Only you know your skins moisture level and it can be trial and error until you find something just right.  Some people don't like a heavy greasy feeling while others love it.  The only real rule is to use them! A lot, or at least twice a day on the cuticle area.

If in doubt start with something you already have at home and then venture out.  Most likely you already own Olive oil, so get to it!

Check the ingredients!
Make sure that the first couple of ingredients listed on your cuticle moisturizer of choice actually participate in the moisturizing process and is not just a filler.  The ingredients listed first are of highest concentration in the formulation.

EXAMPLE:  Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula with Vit. E
Ingredients: Cocoa Extract, Mineral Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Cocoa Seed Butter,                           Dimethicone, Fragrance, Vitamin E, Benzyl Alcohol, Carotene

1. Cocoa Extract - Skin softener, antioxidant.  Some say the cocoa molecule is too big to penetrate the skin so it's unclear if it can properly moisturize.
2. Mineral Oil and Wax - Does not provide moisture but rather helps seal it in.
3. Cocoa Seed Butter - The ingredient that provides the moisturizing, since it can penetrate skin.
4. Dimethicone - Skin protectant, conditioner and antimicrobial
5. Benzyl Alcohol - most likely a solvent, (i.e. helps mix all the ingredients)
6. Carotene - a natural (plant based) color additive

This is a decent cuticle cream, but I would use it in addition to an oil or butter.  The reason being is that the first three ingredients include Mineral Oil and Wax which are better at holding in moisture rather than providing it.  

Once you get one what do you do with it?
Work in your moisturizer of choice into the cuticle area and underneath the nail tip.  I would concentrate for at least 20 seconds on each finger. (remember at least 2x a day)

Why so long you say????
Well this message will help stimulate the blood flow to your cuticle.  Lots of blood flow can stimulate nail growth.  I am not promising miracles, but moisturizing + massaging this area will help.

There is much more to cuticle care than this, but this is a great start.  I will post more in the future about how you can improve your nail bed length (yes you can lengthen your nail beds!), clean up cuticles and prepare them for polish.

It's November and on the east coast its getting pretty chilly, so during the winter months you might want to step up your moisturizing levels as needed and always wear gloves as much as possible.

Next post: Moisture in a pinch!
Other Posts: Greasy and not greasy...
Grease is the word!
OR
Say no to grease!

19 comments:

  1. I moisturize every time I wash my hands and love taking the extra few minutes to massage it into my skin and cuticles...

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  2. I've heard mineral oil is actually really drying!

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  3. I guess that may just be skin to skin dependent. Maybe an allergy issue. Mineral oil is the main ingredient in many products, including baby oil used for diaper rash. Yikes, poor baby bottoms!

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  4. Is this Palmers nice? I see you think it's best to have this after another moisturizer, right? Does it goes into the skin fast?

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  5. I always was under the impression that for something to really "moisturize", water needed to be the first ingredient. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

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  6. @Camilla - I personally like it, either alone or after. As long as what ever you use is used consistently, pretty much anything will work.

    @Anonymous - Water can help, but if there is nothing to seal in the moisture after water hits the skin than it doesn't help the situation. Oils and waxes can provide a barrier that prevents the water from evaporating.

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  7. I am really not a scientist and not an expert on the ingredients stuff, so I am wondering if you could name a few ingredients that actually participate in the moisturizing process?! Thanks in advance

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  8. @Tanja - what exactly are you looking for, oil, lotion, balm, butter?

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  9. like you suggested in one of your videos, i want to use an oil and then some sort of wax.
    the first couple of ingredients of a cuticle oil that i found are the following: AQUA, GLYCERIN, HYDROXYPROPYL-CELLULOSE, PEG-60 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, BAMBUSA ARUNDINACEA STEM EXTRACT, PARFUM, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS SEED OIL, CARBOMER, PANTHENOL, and so on
    i also found another cream that sounded quite nice to me: Lanolin, Cocos Nucifera (Oil), Olea Europaea (Fruit Oil), Simmondsia Chinensis (Seed Oil), Tocopherol

    are those any good? i am still lacking the wax part though.
    as you can tell, i am really clueless. ;)

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    1. Tanja - Try Surgeon's Secret Beeswax Moisturizer. (QVC or Amazon). I've used it for years. It's great and lasts forever!

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  10. Tanja - I like the sound of the second one better, but I bet it's more expensive. It contains more fancy oils and Lanolin, a great ingredient for moisturizing and has waxy properties. This could actually kill two birds with one stone. The first one is much more basic, not as exotic, but will provide the moisture your nails need with water and glycerin, while the caster oil and Hydroxypropyl cellulose will help to seal and protect that moisture.

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  11. Thank you so much for your help. Then I'll try out the second one.
    The second one is actually a nipple cream, so it's not really expensive. I've read about the cream online and a couple of people said that they use it as a cuticle cream, so I guess I am gonna give it a shot too :)
    Thanks again

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  12. Thanks for this post! I have turned into a moisturizer-obsessed person thanks to you. I never really knew how to take care of my cuticles (I am really new to the nail polish world, haha) and your posts have helped me so much!

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    1. Hee hee, yay! Moisturized healthy cuticles are the key to any beautiful manicure, so your hard work is well worth it!

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  13. Late to the game here, but I just want to add... I use plain old castor oil on my nails every night. Castor oil is reputed to be able to penetrate several layers of skin, instead of just sitting on top. It's also great to fix dry skin on your feet! In the winter, I'll add a drop or two to a dollop of regular body moisturizer (I like the St. Iives brand).

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  14. Hey um...I work in a place that requires me to wash my hands several times in a 6-9hr period and wear gloves that have a powder in them that dries my skin out...do you recommend anything to help me keep my skin soft and my nails healthy? I also inherited weak nails from my mother and have always had a hard time keeping them at a decent length...past the quick at-least..

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    1. You may benefit from rich emollient or ointment type of skin creams. Look for ingredients such as Petrolatum (mineral oil), wax, lanolin, and allantoin. I don't know how practical it would be while at work, but definitely try to do it at home as often as possible. Good luck!

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