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Hand It To You

You Beauty by Gemma Watts is a column dedicated to bringing your skin, your body, your hair ... your vanity, the best of Australian-made beauty

Hand care has always been surprisingly high on my list of beauty priorities.

One of my earliest beauty memories was a piece on “Back to School” beauty in my beloved Dolly Magazine (may she rest in peace). Much of the story didn’t apply to me, given that I was 12 years old and not quite mature enough to be using mascara to create come hither eyes at my crush in the hopes of a formal invitation (I’m paraphrasing but… it feels pretty on-brand), however there was one one tween beauty tip that I could comfortably implement at school without being held back at lunchtime- hand care.

Thanks to the wise words of Dolly, my once prized glitter pens were replaced with hand cream, clear nail varnish and a sparkly pink emery board. What began as a foray into beauty would, by the year 2020, become an absolute necessity- with the addition of sanitiser. LOTS of sanitiser.

Hand care, as a category, has never received anywhere near as much attention as it has of late. Between routinely applying sanitiser and washing my hands in hot, soapy water, I have personally never cared for my hands (or sung “Happy Birthday”) as often as I have in 2020. All of that washing and sanitising, however, has taken a toll on our hands. Hot water compromises the integrity of the skin’s all important protective barrier, as does the alcohol found in effective sanitiser, leaving the hands as dry and irritated as they are clean.

It’s time to give back to the hands that feed you- your own.

The first step is to ensure your hand sanitiser isn’t drying your skin out more than it needs to. I love La Clinica’s hand sanitisers, as they contain the necessary 70% ethanol to effectively kill germs but, being a skincare brand, they’re also rich in ingredients that restore and rehydrate the skin barrier.

Wait at least a few minutes before you apply a hand cream to ensure you aren’t neutralising the effects of the sanitiser. When your hands are completely dry and the sanitiser is entirely absorbed into the skin, apply a hydrating hand cream to restore any moisture lost through thorough washing and sanitisation. I am a long time lover of Grown Alchemist’s hand and body care range, and have found the Intensive Hand Cream to be particularly beneficial of late- it’s scented, but not overwhelmingly so, which is important as heady fragrances can irritate sensitised skin.

For intense overnight hydration, treat the skin on the hands as you would treat the skin on the face and body. Use this time to really treat and rehydrate the hands after putting them through their paces during the day. While some brands sell hand-specific treatment masks, you can achieve similar results by simply slathering on two layers of your regular hand cream of an evening. For those with seriously chapped and irritated hands, lock in your hand cream by wearing gloves to bed- you’ll feel uncomfortable at first, but less than you would with sore, sensitive hands!

To really treat your talons, treat yourself to an at-home manicure (minus the cuticle trimming- at home cuticle trimming NEVER ends well. If you can show me someone who advocates for cuticle trimming, I’ll show you the door). Your nails will be feeling the drying effects of hot water and sanitiser just as much as your skin is, so opt for a “natural” nail polish, like Miss Frankie’s offering, to allow your nails to breathe and regain their strength.

The benefit of regular nail varnish over salon-quality SNS or gel colour is that we can change our look with our mood, rather than waiting (and paying) to have our polish removed and reset. If you are a neutral nail devotee, like myself, take the opportunity to brighten your nails, and subsequently your mood, with a pop of colour. Loyal to reds, plums and deep romantic hues? Soften things with a pastel nail.

One of the few, simple joys of lockdown is the extra time we have to experiment with beauty- why not extend that joy to your hands?


Described by VOGUE Australia as being “at the top of the beauty game,” Gemma Watts has been a part of Australia’s media landscape since early 2012, working as a journalist and MC across the fashion and beauty spheres. 2016 saw Gemma launch Glow Journal, a multi-faceted beauty media platform consisting of, an editorial platform, Glow Journal Creative, a beauty copywriting and consultancy agency, and the Glow Journal podcast, a series of conversations with the biggest names in beauty. Gemma is passionate about sharing the stories behind the local brands we know and love, and is thrilled to be bringing those stories to Buy Aussie Now.

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