It's finally feeling like winter. Our hands are often subject to chronic dehydration and dryness in the cooler months—particularly since our diligence for washing our hands has increased exponentially since the pandemic began.
It's imperative to take extra care of our hands and nails during winter. And while we're focusing on protecting our hands and nails from the elements, there are several other trends popular in 2022 that we can also add to our hand and nail ritual.
This article will go over the signs and symptoms that your hands and nails are damaged. We'll show you how to protect them through the winter. And we'll also highlight some key hand and nail trends that we'll see more of in 2022.
How to Tell Your Hands & Nails are Damaged
The first thing to determine is whether or not your hands and nails are damaged. If your nails are more prone to breakage, maintaining attractive-looking nails can be a real challenge all year round.
Because our nails contain keratin, the protein that makes up hair, skin, and nails, brittle nails can indicate that you're deficient in this protein. But not to worry! We're living in a time when technology can solve, or at least improve, many of our health and beauty woes.
Something popular in the beauty world is Biotin supplements to aid in hair, skin, and nail growth. While some people swear by the supplement, there has been a lack of studies to support the claims. If you are particularly deficient in specific proteins and nutrients, taking Biotin will most likely help to a certain point. You may not notice any benefit for those not necessarily deficient in nutrients (1).
You may have read about our skin's protective barrier. It includes three layers, the microbiome, the acid mantle, and the lipid barrier. Each layer works at protecting the skin from external aggressors, like pollution, UV rays, and other free radicals.
The microbiome is where we have different kinds of bacteria. The acid mantle is the next layer down and is a barrier that stops invading bacteria and pollutants. The lipid barrier is a fatty protective barrier that adds another layer of protection. When we over-cleanse, over-exfoliate, don't use the proper skincare, sleep in makeup, or neglect our skin, it can break down those layers, making them vulnerable.
On our face, you may notice your skin can sometimes feel a little more sensitive in the cooler months. This often is a sign that our barrier is damaged. Our hands are no different.
Read our skincare guide for surviving winter here.
Some of the key things that determine if your hands and nails are damaged are*:
- Skin is scaly and dry
- Skin feels sensitive
- Skin looks blotchy, red, or irritated
- Cuticles are flaky, and you regularly get hang-nails
- The skin around your fingers is inflamed and sore to touch
- Your nails are soft, brittle, and split easily*
- Nail polish, gel, shellac, acrylic, and dip all come off quickly*
- Filing nails can be painful
*This doesn't necessarily mean your nails are damaged, but it can be a contraindication.
How to Properly Protect Your Hands & Nails
Following a simple but consistent hand ritual every morning and night will ensure your hands and nails stay in top shape. One of the best tips we can give you is to extend your face care ritual to your hands every morning and night. This is the most efficient and easiest way to complete a ritual where your hands don't miss out. But for those of you who are looking for something a little more specific, or if you need to show your hands some extra TLC, follow this hand ritual for soft, hydrated, and healthy hands and nails:
Cleanse and Soak
Use simple hand soap, like UpCircle Beauty's Cinnamon and Ginger Chai Soap* to gently purify and cleanse the dirt from your hands. This soap bar doesn't contain soap. It has 100% natural, sustainable ingredients.
Leave hands soaking in a warm bowl of water for a few minutes.
Push & Trim
If your cuticles are a little wild or unruly, using a cuticle pusher, scrape the cuticles from the nail bed towards the base of the nail. Follow with a cuticle trimmer to carefully remove any bits of skin and cuticle that are sticking up. Be careful not to cut the skin too much. I like using a metal pusher and trimmer, which you can find at Walmart or Target or even buy it online.
Many estheticians may tell you not to trim the cuticles yourself, but I believe that as long as you are careful not to over-trim them, it can help the appearance of your nails. Only do this every few weeks, as over-trimming can cause our skin to harden, a protective response.
Buff & File
Using a buffing block, such as one of these at 240 grit (the finest grit), you can smooth over the top of the nail bed to take any ridges out. This leaves a smoother surface for nail polish. And using a medium grit nail file, file your preferred shape. Always file in one direction, as this keeps the nail edge smooth.
Every 3-4 days, follow with Nopalera's Cactus Flower Exfoliant, to effectively slough away any dry and dead skin that has built up. This sugar exfoliant is a small-batch, handmade scrub that contains safflower, jojoba, tangerine oils, shea butter, and cactus. It feels luxurious as you emulsify the exfoliant into the skin, and when you rinse it off, your skin is left feeling supple and soft.
Follow the exfoliant with a mask. Try Earth Harbor's Nymph Nectar Superfruit Radiance Balm, which doubles as a moisturizer. This is one of my favorite moisturizer-mask hybrids. It smells fruity and delicious and contains olive fruit, cranberry seed, raspberry seed, sunflower, poppy, sea buckthorn oils, mango seed, and kokum seed butter for immersive and luxurious hydration. Apply it to the backs of the hands and fingers, and wear Anthropologie's Moisturizing Gloves* for an hour to allow the balm to absorb.
You can use the previous product, Nymph Nectar, as a moisturizer on the days that you don't use it as a mask. Apply a light veil over the backs of your hands. Or, if you want an added boost, finish with Meow Meow Tweet's Repair Balm*. This balm contains olive fruit and coconut oils, shea butter, candelilla wax, myrrh oil, chamomile flower oil, and vetiver oil, most of which are organic.
A final step in your hand and nail ritual should usually end with oil. Athar'a Pure's Neem Healing Oil for Skin, Hair, and Nails is perfect for hands and body. And use it on the hair to protect, nourish, soothe, and heal chronically dry hair, skin, and nails.
Key Hand & Nail Trends in 2022
Now that you understand how to protect and repair your hands and nails, you've laid a strong foundation for having fabulous nails. Before we dive into the trends, we did some digging, and we struggled to find nail brands with minimal vegan and eco-friendly ingredients. We were able to find vegan formulations, but they mostly contained over a dozen chemicals, some of them questionable.
Though I did find one innovative brand that uses only three key vegan ingredients in their nail polish formulas, the other great thing is the nail polish packaging is almost 100% plastic-free. The brand is called Kapa Nui Nails. Because of these reasons, I'll be recommending them to you for the nail polishes.
Here are some of the top trend predictions for hands and nails in 2022.
For anyone who is into experimenting with their nails, glitter and metallics will be popular in 2022. Use them as accents on plain nail color, or go with a metallic finish on the entire nail bed. This sparkly nail trend is sure to brighten up your life.
Make sure you're buying plastic-free or biodegradable glitters to avoid adding to the environmental crisis we're currently facing. You'll find some metallic colors in Kapa Nui Nails' range of metallic and matte polishes.
This trend is where you paint a different nail a different color. You can use as many colors as you like. Try a complementary color palette of 3 or more to give your outfit some playful pops of color. Kapa Nui Nails have a range of collections with complementary colors here.
Blue nails in any shade will make a solid appearance in 2022. From navy, royal, pastels, and aquamarine, the sky's the limit. Try Kailuah Bay.
If you follow design trends, you probably know the Pantone color of the year is Periwinkle. We'll see this color everywhere in 2022. Kapa Nui Nails have a slightly deeper, bluer version in their color Āhina.
A pink nail goes with just about any outfit, and in 2022 we're going to see pink nails continue their streak. Try Kapu Nui Nails pink polish, Pua Melia.
Creative French Manicures
Elevate your traditional french manicure with glitters, metallics, and whatever your heart desires—the bolder and braver, the better.
See the range of nail polishes on Kapa Nui Nails website.
Hand and Nail Health
The trends in 2022 will be geared more towards kindness, self-care, compassion, and wellness. So it's no surprise that the health of our hands and nails is on this list. As I mentioned earlier, you can achieve beautiful, healthy hands and nails with your facial skincare or treat yourself with a range of products that will enhance your hands and nails.
The colder months don't have to be a death sentence to healthy hands and nails. With these practical tips and upcoming trends, your talons will be the talk of the town.
Emma Jade has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn't cost the earth.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition