(Beauty Report Card)

This Hand Care Routine Saves Me From Brittle Nails & Dry Skin

Bye, bye cracked skin.

A woman washing her hands during her hand care routine that saves her from brittle nails & dry skin

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2022 is to take better care of my skin. I want to invest in products that actually work for my skin type and commit to using them regularly. While it’s important to take care of the skin on your face, it’s just as important to take care of your hands. Between the blistering cold temperatures outside and the drying heat inside, my hands take a beating every winter. By adding some select products to my hand care routine I’ve been able to transform my skin and nails to be the healthiest they’ve ever been.

One of my least favorite parts of winter are my brittle nails. For most of the year they’re long and healthy (mostly due to the fact that I’ve never had a gel manicure), but every winter they barely grow past my fingertips without breaking. When it came to searching for products to aid my sad, broken nails, I turned to Instagram. Since the launch of Instagram Reels in August of 2020, manicurists have been posting their entire manicure process. I quickly realized that the aesthetically pleasing nail videos could also help in solving my nail dilemma. I watched intently as the experts gave a step-by-step process of their luxurious manicures. Based on my research, I developed a list of products to get the ball rolling on healthier hands: An exfoliator, a moisturizer, a multipurpose clear coat, and cuticle oil.

Like many others, I find skin care a bit daunting. For this reason, I wanted to keep my hand care routine simple and easy. Well, that and the fact that I can be a bit overambitious, meaning I’ll tell myself that I can commit to a 10-step routine, when in reality I can only actually do three. I still have to work out a single-digit skin care routine for my face, but I’m thrilled to report I have hand care down to a science now. It’s become therapeutic to sit down once a week to paint my nails, apply cuticle oil, and maybe do a hand mask (yes, they exist). As for the rest of the products I’ve accumulated, I apply as needed.

Having a routine has not only helped my dry hands and brittle nails, but it’s also helped my mental health. Seasonal depression is real, and having something small to look forward to makes my week a bit brighter. While we look forward to warmer weather and post-5 p.m. sunsets, it’s important to continue to take care of ourselves, even on days when we’re not feeling our best.

If you’re ready to overhaul (or create) your hand care routine, or you’re just looking for some new nail polish shades to try out this year, keep scrolling for my full regimen.

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Nail Polish

Haven’t you heard? Brown is the new black. From clothes, to hair, to nails, brown hues are dominating. While I typically reach for bright nail polish shades, this winter, I’ve found myself looking for moodier, neutral tones.

Nail Strengthener

Nail strengthener has been my best friend this winter. Besides using high-quality nail polish, it’s the only product keeping my nails from breaking when they grow past my fingertips. When I’m giving myself a manicure at home, I use this as my base layer. Even on weeks when I opt out of putting color on my nails, I make sure to use a strengthener to keep my nails strong.

Cuticle Oil

Cuticle oil is a vital aspect of an Instagram-worthy manicure. These oils keep my cuticles shiny and healthy. Just be sure to clean any excess oil from your nail bed before applying a polish.

Hand Lotion

I’m super picky when it comes to moisturizer for my hands. I want something that fully absorbs into my skin and doesn’t leave me feeling oily or tacky. These moisturizers have passed my test with flying colors.


Watching manicure Reels on Instagram made me realize that I exfoliate every part of my body but my hands. These exfoliators make my hands feel super soft, especially when you follow it up with your preferred hand cream.