The 6-Step Hand Care Routine That You Should Be Following

by Jessica DeFino

I'm not blessed with Beautiful Hands. I’m a nail biter and a cuticle chewer; an intermittent guitar player with calluses that have softened and toughened too many times to count. I play with my cats a little too aggressively (the scratches!) and still prefer pen and paper to typing (the ink stains!). If Titanic’s Jack Dawson gazed upon my hands, he would not feel compelled to sketch them. This never particularly bothered me, so I never thought to do anything about it. But when a full-on hand care routine arrived at my door courtesy of SpaRitual I thought, “Why not?”

The hand care in question included a Hand Serum and a Hand Salve (essentially, a moisturizer) meant to be layered like traditional skincare: serum first, moisturizer second. Two steps seemed a little extra at first — but those two simple products have spawned an obsession; a finger-focused regimen more extensive than the one I've devised for my face.

To start, the Hand Serum. As the name “serum” implies, this one is packed with lightweight actives: Swiss apple stem cells to “protect against UV damage,” as SpaRitual says on its site; licorice root to handle any hyperpigmentation; pumpkin extract to lend antioxidant vitamins A and C, and also natural alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to improve tone and texture. A single, gel-cream drop contains more loving care than my hands have ever known, which I “lock in” with a layer of Hand Salve. (Both are Citrus Cardamom scented, so they layer well in that department, too.) The salve features shea butter to preserve moisture, but thanks to the inclusion of light, breathable marula oil, it’s not the least bit greasy. I really cannot oversell the dreamy, creamy, velvety-smooth texture. It’s turned me into one of those suburban sitcom wives — you know, the ones who methodically lotion their hands before bed every night.


Now, I can't seem to stop. I just pre-ordered Esker’s soon-to-launch hand soap, which is less of a soap and more of a facial-grade cleanser that just happens to be for hands. The bottle is filled with literal calendula petals, which diffuse their soothing, calming properties into the base formulation over time. I regularly shape my nails and clip my cuticles with the accessories in Olive & June’s Studio Box, then slather my nail beds in Mazz Hanna’s Cuticle Oil, complete with a roller ball carved from actual amethyst (it’s supposed to ease anxiety and keep me from biting). I give mes mains a weekly (gentle) scrub-down with C & The Moon’s Malibu Made Body Scrub. And — this may be unrelated — statement rings have slowly replaced statement earrings as my accessory of choice.

Who knows where I’ll go from here? I could add SPF to the equation, since hands are said to be the first place to show signs of sun exposure. I could treat them to the products that didn’t quite work for my face, so as not to waste skincare (a hack beloved by the Instagram beauty community). I could even surprise my palms with a professional hot stone massage!


I still wouldn't say I have "beautiful" hands — the bitten nails, cat scratches, and ink stains are still there. But I will say I have happy, healthy, cared for hands, and that’s arguably even better.

Ahead, curate a hand care routine of your very own.

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