A safe pair of hands
We know faces need protecting from cold, but when the gloves are off, fingers feel the nip, too
There's a TV ad doing the rounds that never fails to make me roll my eyes and giggle to myself.
Oh yes, I'm a real catch. The ad is for Gillette skincare and I just love the reassuringly macho tagline, "Because winter hates your faaace", delivered in a low growl by a voiceover bloke who sounds as though he's got a chainsaw stuck in his throat. The message for men, of course, is that cold weather is bloody dangerous and there's nothing girly about protecting your mush from the ninja-like elements that are unquestionably out to get it.
As entertaining as that great bit of male marketing speak is, it also happens to be completely true. And while we ladies are usually pretty good about using a more intensive moisturiser or adding a serum to our facial skincare routine in winter, we're less inclined to look after our poor hands and nails, which take an awful battering when temperatures plummet.
Jennifer Aniston wouldn't be caught dead with split cuticles and hangnails, but you don't need her manicure budget to make amends for any wintertime neglect and prep your extremities for spring's hottest new nail trends.
Remember: winter hates your haaands, too.
Exfoliation nation It sounds like the last thing you should be doing in winter, but exfoliating hands will help to lift off flaky, dead skin cells. Kate Verling, of Mink Hand & Foot Spa, tells me that it's also important to choose the right exfoliant. "Find a scrub that is both oily and soft so that the granules do not irritate already sensitive and dry skin," Kate advises.
You can make one that ticks both these boxes at home using a simple mix of olive oil and granulated sugar.
Oil it up Massaging nail oil into the nail plate and cuticles will rehydrate nails and the surrounding skin, and regular use will help to strengthen nails.
Kate recommends picking up a bottle of sweet almond oil in your local chemist for this job; try gently warming a small amount in the microwave for a few seconds before use.
La Roche-Posay Lipikar Xerand, €5, has a mouthful of a name but it's water-resistant and leaves even severely dry, sensitive skin soft and supple.
Mink Hand & Foot Spas, Dublin 4. Ballsbridge salon: Call 01 636 2100, Donnybrook salon: Call 01 260 3076. See www.mink.ie for treatment list and prices