NO hands, as one authority on female beauty has declared, “reveal every hidden secret of the soul …. in their shape, texture and color” ? We doubt it. But they reveal themselves quickly enough as beautiful or the reverse. What is beauty of hand ? It is not so much the shape, just as in hair it is not the color, which counts here. Texture, skin quality and skin tint, the manner in which the hands are used, the nails, these determine their beauty. Nothing will give away your age quicker than the condition of your hands. Let’s take a look at some tips to try and hold off the ravages of time.
Care is what produces beautiful hands. If you are not your own manicurist then visit a professional one every week. Protect your hands against water by using gloves, rubber or canvas. Always have a cut of lemon handy to the sink. Whether you have a “psychic” or a merely plebeian hand, lemon juice removes stains, whitens the skin and cleans the nails. Vaseline, which keeps the nails from growing brittle, also makes up for the drying effect of hot dishwater.
Dish washing should always be followed by a Vaseline or cold cream application. Always wear gloves when gardening, and use vanishing cream on them before you expose them to the bright sunshine or cold. A cold cream application before retiring and cotton gloves should accompany chapped hands into bed.
Red Hands.—When red hands are not caused by some trouble which calls for a doctor’s care, use a good rich, cream massage, for it will help circulation if bad circulation is the reason. A mere surface redness may be treated by rubbing in some standard skin food, after washing with hot water and soap, and leaving it overnight.
The Ideal Hand.—The ideal hand has smooth, tapering fingers. If you have square or knotty fingers give them treatment for pressing out the ends. A soft, white skin, a firm palm, firm and supple wrists and well-kept nails and fingers are all possible of attainment by manicuring, massage and constant cleanliness. Hands should be neither too fat nor too thin. Regular diet in the first place, then massage and special exercises are correctives. This applies as well to fat wrists. Remember that, like the ideal face and figure, the ideal hand is only relatively so. There is a different style of hand for nearly every style of being, and there are as many different hands as there are face beauties.
Gloves.—Tight gloves will make your palms perspire, give your hands a pudgy look, and, if you wear them right along, will turn the hands red and mottled. Red hands often result from continual wearing of tight-fitting gloves. And—if you do not chemically clean your gloves after each wearing—your hands will grow dirty as soon as you put them on. Gloves which are not perfectly clean chap and coarsen the skin texture of the hand, and at times cause infections
A narrow palm is supposed to be a sign of a feeble temperament, one lacking imagination. A fairly generous palm shows imagination and a nature capable of greatly enjoying physical pleasures. Too large, broad and pronounced a palm denotes egoism and sensuality. Hard, thick palms, out of proportion to the rest of the hand, show an animal nature, void of intelligence. Knotty fingers mean originality, imagination and a scientific trend. Smooth, tapering fingers hint at aptitude in art and sentiment predominating over reason. Square fingers mean a sense of method and order. Spatulate fingers are a sign of ability, activity, tact and knowledge.
A woman’s nails should have home attention, but this should be supplemented by occasional visits to the manicurist. Else it is impossible to keep them in perfect condition. You may use an orange stick or an ivory pusher to push back the cuticle from the nails (after it has been softened by cold cream or vaseline), but do not cut the cuticle yourself. This had far better be left to the professional. If you use the professional cutting tools you may easily cut and scar the surface of the nail, and weeks may elapse before the scar disappears. If the cuticle be cut constantly the edges grow hard and thick.
Manicuring.—Always see to it that your orange stick is well covered with absorbent cotton or a bit of silk. When you have shaped the external edge of the nails with a fine pair of scissors, finish with emery or a steel nail file. And always, before beginning to manicure your nails, soak them in hot soap water and cleanse with the nail brush. When you polish the nails, use paste first, and do not apply the powder till afterward. As a buffer you can use the palm of the other hand. A thorough “home” manicuring should be undertaken at least once a week.
There are many very satisfactory nail pastes and polishes on the market. A liquid polish is usually best for the nails, all the more if there is no paste foundation. Carmine, which gives a pleasing pink tint, should be the paste used. Never use the liquid varnishes which produce a sheen without the aid of the buffer. They have a deteriorating action on the nails themselves. You brush your teeth every night. It is just as easy to devote a few minutes to your nail cuticles as well.
The Nail Bleach —A good and simple nail bleach for use beneath the free edges of the nails is made by mixing an ounce of hydrogen peroxide with a quarterounce, respectively, of ammonia and lemon juice. Before polishing the nails wash out the bleach with hot water. Keep your manicuring tools in good condition, and throw away your orange stick as soon as it roughens. For a buffer, if you do not care to use your palm, buy a buffer frame and renew the chamois skin.
Bruised Nails —A hot water dip, with an overnight application of antiphlogiston, is good for bruised nails. The white nail spots which often result from a bruise will fade out slowly of themselves as a rule. Their departure can be hastened, however, by application of refined pitch and myrrh in equal parts.
Nail-Bite —The only real cure for nail biting is not to bite the nails. The application of tincture of myrrh is merely a reminder not to do so.