Thursday, January 21, 2010

Confessions of a Cuticle Abuser

Hi there friends!

PoP reader Hanneri asked me in my first post what I do to maintain my nails in my work environment, so your wish is my command dahling!

First a confession: I am a reformed cuticle-picker! It was a compulsion and I've been doing it since I was a kid. It looks terrible, often feels terrible, but somehow is really satisfying (and probably classified as self-mutilation...). Several years ago I finally decided that enough was enough and that grown-ups shouldn't have hands that look like they've been rubbed on a cheese grater!

How I solved the problem was the same way I keep cuticles happy now: moisturizing!

Now I work in a lab where I do the complete opposite of moisturizing all the time. I douse my hands in ethanol to do lab work. I wash my hands 80 squimillion times a day. I use noxious chemicals. I snap things open and closed. I pick at metal things. I pick at glass things. Read: cuticle torture.

But the solution is simple - I swear by these three products:

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream
CVS Healthy Hands Hand & Nail Care Lotion
Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Cuticle Pen

Burt's Bees claims to be a cuticle 'cream' but I would describe it more as a balm. I love this product because its easy to use on-the-go. I keep a little tin in my briefcase and apply it whenever - on the bus, in the hospital, at my desk, in a seminar, etc. It's not as messy as a creme, smells like real lemons (one of my favourite scents ever), and does a great job at nourishing the part of your nail/cuticle that get dry, hard and tacky.

Now I've used a lot of hand creams. I go through it like a teenage boy goes through burgers. I've tried all different brands/price ranges/consistencies/ingredients. I have many different kinds at home that I've gotten on sale (i.e. Rescue Beauty Lounge hand cream for $2!) but this is the one I always come back to and keep a stock of at work. First of all, it doesn't smell offensive, so my labmates won't kill me for stinking up the place. It just smells like 'pink lotion' if that makes any sense. I keep the scented ones at home. It's also chock full of goodies like keratin, alpha hydroxy, and vitamin E. For me, vitamin E is the key for keeping your skin moisturized long after you've put lotion on. It's a work-horse I tell ya! It also sinks in super quickly so I don't have to wait before doing anything after I put it on. Its cheap, smells nice, and works really hard for you. What more could you ask?

Sally Hansen's Cuticle Pen is a product that doesn't seem that popular and I'm psyched to have a platform to *rave* about this. It's described as "maximum growth" which isn't something I care about, but I find that it is simply an amazing cuticle oil! It is made of mostly safflower seed oil, but also contains yummy things like aloes, wheat germ oil, apricot seed oil, and the amazing vitamin E, among other things. It smells like almond oil to me (love!) but there isn't any in there. I may be crazy, but whatever it smells good! But the absolute best thing about this is the application method. It's in a pen where you twist the end, and some comes out on to the little brush (see pic below) and you can apply it precisely to your cuticle. It seems like a small amount in the pen but it lasts a long time, even with my chronic use. I think this is because you can apply it exactly where you want in the amount you want - no waste. I find there's no mess, and it's a totally luxurious oil. I stock up on these whenever they go on sale at the drugstore.

My routine at work is whenever I go to my desk to write something down or look something up, I put on a little hand cream. This has become a total reflex! Whenever I have a little longer or I'm just doing some reading, I put on a cuticle treatment - whichever one I'm in the mood for! Really simple, but it works. Nobody wants to pick a moisturized cuticle - no fun!

It feels like a little bit of luxury to give your hands a treat during the work day - like you're getting a minute at the spa in the midst of all the madness!

Do you guys have any creams/oils/products that you swear by? I'd love to hear about them!


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Nicole said...

Fantastic post! I am a huge lotion addict - I will definitely check that one out. I just started using the Burt's Bees balm, quite impressed with it - and I've never noticed that pen before! I'll be on the hunt for that as well. Thank you for your recommendations, I'm also a recovering cuticle abuser!

kittytokaren said...

Hey there Nicole! Thanks - I know hand/nail care isn't as exciting as pretty shiny polishes but let's face it - those pretty shiny things look prettier and shinier on hands that are given the love! From one ex-cuticle abuser to another - hope you're having a great night and great hands!

Concertina said...

I, unfortunately, still am a cuticle abuser. But I'm trying to get better. No use in doing my nails all the time and having them look fabulous when the skin around them looks all pooty.
I have really sensitive skin so I can't use many types of lotions but I swear by these:
I superlove pretty much all of the Kiss My Face lotions (they are from my hometown to boot!). They smell great and they absorb very quickly.
Lubriderm Advanced Therapy for extra dry skin. Best thing ever. I even use it on my face daily.
I also really love the e.l.f. Nourishing Cuticle Pen. Can't beat it for $1!
Awesome post

kittytokaren said...

*waves at Concertina!*
I've heard amazing things about Kiss My Face! I have to try that. Goes double for the e.l.f. nourishing cuticle pen - I haven't seen that yet but I'm going to have to hunt it down because you're right - $1!? Yeah...must have. I'd keep one everywhere. My dad has a skin condition and Lubriderm is one of the only things he can use - great tip for those sensitive skin people out there. Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love getting tips and tricks from fellow nail/beauty lovers!

<3 kittytokaren

PS love the word 'pooty' HAHA!

Rebecca said...

Great post, thanks for this. I want the balm now! I use nails inc vitamin e oil pen, which is the same concept as your SH one - the great brush application! Nails inc one smells of lavender though. mmm.
I also use Soap and Glory Hand Food as a hand cream and omg it is amazing. So easily absorbed. Recently (after reading a blog post) i've been covering my hands with body butter before bed and wearing cotton socks over them (it's meant to be gloves but I don't have any, and the socks are clean!) and it makes my hands soooooo soft, especially my dry cuticles :D

jbrobeck said...

I also LOVE the burt's bees, and right now i have been using bliss body butter and or the Mango Mend Extreme, which is great on cold days when you are outside and your hands get chapped! well worth it! got on sale at Sallys.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking for the holy grail handcreme, preferably with out any paraben, but this seem almost impossible.

But I've discovered a reallt good cuticle/nail cream. I put it on at night, after taking off my nailpolish. I moist them with this thick cream, really rubbing it gently in to my nails and cuticles. On top of that: Handcream. I works for my nails and cuticles, but as handskin is concerned, I'm still looking. So this is a good tip.

kittytokaren said...

@ Rebecca - I not only love the name 'Soap and Glory' but easy absorption is so necessary for me..i will add this to my list of hand creams. Also I tried the sock method...freaked out in the middle of the night because I couldn't use my hands! haha!

@jbrobeck *waves* hi friend! I've heard Mango Mend is awesome!

@laquermanic - what is this awesome cuticle cream you speak of? it sounds fab!

Jackie S. said...

My routine is very much the same.. I work in a law office and I am handling papers, books and typing all day!! So whenever I wash my hands or feel that my hands are dry, I put on Eucerin cream, I buy the big jar and put a little in a smaller jar for work, then Avons Silicone Glove hand Cream and then Hoofers Choice Cuticle Cream...these three things sit on my window ledge and are my best friends at work .

Anonymous said...

In one of my first posts I tlaked about it, and posted a picture.
You're wlcome to click and see:

It works fantastic for meg, really. I'll definitely check out that SH cuticle pen you mention.


kittytokaren said...

Awesome! Thank you!!

Hanneri said...

Thank you for answering my question with a very informative post! I don't have any HG hand & nail treatment products yet, but your post has inspired me to shop around a bit - and to make a (late new year's) resolution to give my hands and nails a bit more TLC. If I may be so bold to ask another question / suggest another blog post topic: what products do you use for a mani (i.e. base and top coats)?

Pleshette_Rose said...

I'll have to find that cuticle pen. Thanks for the suggestion.

positdesign said...

the best handcream EVER is Gold Bond. It's not sexy, but neither are my hands without it:lizardlike in the winter, with cracks opening up in the skin, bleeding all over and flaking off.

I keep two big pump bottles in my apartment, a squeezey-tube in my office, and a little tube in my purse.

I know dry skin, and this stuff is amazing. it's not greasy, it doesn't have that weird powdery texture a lot of lotions do, and the smell doesn't irritate my fragrance-allergies. It's great for all-over legs/body moisturizing, too! Love.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I just found your blog and I am really enjoying it! I adore CND Solar Oil and keep one in my purse, car, work desk, bedside, and home desk (yes, I am too lazy to walk up/down the stairs at home to get it, and I do not always take my purse in the car!). It smells like the beach, and even though it is in a bottle with a brush, it applies SO nicely! A little goes a long way and it absorbs fast which is nice because I will rub it in and have it on my fingertips then go type or something and I will not get it everywhere!

I have been using the Body Shop's Almond Hand Creme for years, but recently I decided to try the Daily Hand and Nail lotion. Thinner and not as rich, but it absorbs REALLY quickly!

Lastly (I have a TON of things, these are just my ultimate faves), I work for a University in their School of Medicine and we have 2 hospitals here...there is a brand I get from the hospital called Medline Remedy. It is AWESOME! Pretty thick and seems to take a moment to sink in but once it does it feels like an invisible glove.

Gigi said...

Ha! I have the exact same problem when it comes to the lab. Cleaning down your bench with ethanol, and inadvertently taking off your manicure, anyone?

Loved this post, thanks for all the tips and product reviews.


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