You can have healthy, well-cared-for hands and a beautiful garden with these practical techniques.
Hand Care Recipes:
Green thumbs and rough, dry hands no longer need to be the result of a day spent working in the yard.
It’s possible to have both healthy, well-cared-for hands and a beautiful garden. It doesn’t take any extra time or fancy skin-care products — just a bit of common sense and a few kitchen and garden ingredients. It’s important to practice preventive maintenance, such as wearing gloves and using rich hand creams, along with some special treatments to keep your hands clean and moisture-rich.
Eating a proper diet is essential, as insufficient protein can make your nails brittle and your skin dull. Keeping your hands moisturized is important because the nail is extremely porous and gives off moisture 100 times faster than the skin. Massaging a rich cream or natural oil, such as sunflower oil, into your hands and nails will keep them soft and moist, a step that’s especially critical to prevent chapping after washing hands. Garden soil and constant washings rob your hands of precious moisture, and cream or oil will form a protective barrier that locks moisture into your skin. Keep a jar of your favorite hand cream next to all your sinks and outdoors next to the garden hose. Massaging your cuticles as you apply the cream will increase circulation and encourage new nail growth.
Here are a few more essential tips for healthy hands:
Once a week, treat your hands to a good all-over grooming. This is important for men and women to keep hands looking and feeling their best. Rough, cracked hands are not only unsightly, but also can be painful and hard to work with. See "Total Care for Happy Hands" for an all-over treatment. If the weather is nice, set up a table and chair in your yard and enjoy the beauty of your garden as you care for your hands.
Making your own natural hand-care products at home is easy using basic household ingredients, such as oil, honey, herbs and flowers. Our recipes provide rich hand creams and nail treatments. You’ll want to make extras because they make wonderful gifts to share with fellow gardeners and family members. Store your products in clean containers and keep them in a cool, dry, dark place.
Forget to wear your gloves? It’s easy to do — often you find yourself reaching down to rid the garden of a few pesky weeds and before you know it you have a pile of weeds and a pair of dirty, stained hands. These simple tips using fresh lemons and green tomatoes really work to remove garden stains and refresh your hands. Remember to moisturize well afterward, as the treatments can be drying to your skin.
Fresh lemons: Lemons are natural astringents and disinfectants that will leave your hands clean and fragrant. Cut a lemon in half and rub the fresh juice all over your hands. Leave the juice on your hands for 5 minutes, then rinse well with warm water.
Green tomatoes: Working around tomato plants can give the skin on your hands a yellow-green tint. Use a green tomato to remove these stains. Cut the fruit in half and rub the fresh juice all over your hands. Leave the juice on your hands for 5 minutes, then rinse well with warm water.
Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt and Company, 1994). For more information and recipes, visit her website at www.JaniceCox.com.