Many of you might know that I was going to major in violin performance & continue on to become a professional violinist; it was my whole childhood & adolescence. Unfortunately, due to chronic illness & an unexpected bout with inflammatory arthritis, professionally pursuing violin would be unrealistic…& I like to keep it real.
So…on to other, different things! Not better – just different. Violin is something I’ll always hold close to my heart, & I do not think I will ever “recover” from having to give it up. But I look forwards to the opportunities in my future – ones that will come about, no doubt, from the ambition, drive, & determination I developed after hours (& hours!) in the practice room. If you want to hear more about why I decided to finally stop, you can read the post I wrote right here. If not, just continue reading!
Here’s a problem that I have always had: dry hands.
Honestly, it’s not a surprise. My whole body, including my face, is dry – why shouldn’t my hands be that, as well? The problem with my dry hands? They really couldn’t be taken care of – to the best of their abilities, anyway. This is because hand treatments, creams, lotions…etc…all messed with my ability to play violin. If I applied a hand cream during the day, I’d definitely not be able to play to the best of my ability. Hand creams make hands slippery (sometimes greasy, too), making it more difficult to grip the fingerboard, & making it more difficult to have necessary traction between the strings & fingertips.
During the warmer months, I left my hands well enough alone. During the winter, I’d apply a hand cream at night if things got really dry or painful – but still, I basically avoided them like the plague.
As for nails? Nail polish was…not forbidden, but it wasn’t encouraged. I’d wear a neutral color that blended in with my skin – my favorite was OPI’s “Tickle My France-y.” It still is my favorite nude nail polish! Nails had to be kept very short – otherwise, it messes with…you’ve guessed it! Your playing/playing quality.
How about cuticles? Again: oily/greasy/creamy products anywhere near the hands or fingertips weren’t encouraged, since they make playing the violin a LOT more difficult (& I truly do mean a lot).
Basically: my hands were dry, as were my cuticles. I refrained from wearing nail polish, hand creams, & absolutely, positively no rings. That’s not a “rule” persay…it just was very painful & awkward for me to play when wearing rings (on either hand).
Did this bother me? Did it make me insecure? No, absolutely not!!! I was doing what I loved most. If my hands had to be cracked & dry in the winter because I was doing what I loved, so be it. But now…I can’t play violin like I used to (I don’t play it much at all, & certainly never will play at a professional level again. So, I decided to have a little fun with my hands. I decided to do a little research on hand creams that wouldn’t break the bank, start painting my nails, & maybe even wear a ring or two. Handcare post: let’s go!!!
I’m still on the hunt for a truly dirt-cheap, extremely effective hand cream. I want one of those in my life – so if you have any recommendations, hit me up in the comments. Currently, I’ve been using the Origins Make A Difference™ Rejuvenating Hand Treatment. I have a mini (???) size, which currently isn’t sold on Sephora – they just carry the 2.5 fl. oz version, which isn’t expensive – it’s just not the cheapest. I’m trying to remember where I got my mini one – I think I got it in some kind of Origins travel set – but regardless, you’re probably already wondering what my thoughts are on it.
Thoughts: I really like it! A little goes quite a long way, so a tube will last a good bit of time. It smells super fresh: it’s infused with rose of Jericho, trehalose, sea haricots, meadowfoam seed oil, & a whole lot of other ingredients that sound incredibly luxurious. It feels luxurious, too! The scent is lovely; it’s fresh but not citrus-y; floral but not stuffy. Hard to describe, but it’s a subtle, luxurious scent that lingers for just the right amount of time. I use this on (slightly) damp hands – the cream absorbs better that way. Just a dime-size amount works. I like applying this morning & night.
I’m not sure what other hand creams I might try, but L’Occitane’s hand creams look beautiful (packaging!), are quite inexpensive, & offer a variety of scents. They might be next, when I run out of the one I have. Again – tell me what you’re loving. I’d like to hear about it!
Need cheaper options? The Soap & Glory Hand Foodcontains shea butter, macadamia oil, & marshmallow root – all super hydrating ingredients – & it’s only $8. Need one that’s under $6? Say no more. The Yes To Coconut Protecting Hand & Cuticle Cream does two jobs in one – & it’s available at most Ulta Beauty stores, Target stores, & even your local drugstore.
My cuticles are just as dry as the skin on my actual hands – they get worse in the winter, of course. I started doing a little hunting, & came across this articleon Into The Gloss, praising the Dior Crème Abricot Fortifying Cream For Nails, described by the writer as “a much-beloved nail-fortifying cream that the brand conceived all the way back in 1963. The peach-colored cream is thick and viscous and a little bit gluey, so a little goes a long way.”
Okay, so it’s a cult-favorite, it lasts forever (reviews on Sephora’s site confirmed this) & it smells like apricots. & it has gorgeous packaging. I was sold.
I tried it for the first time today: the ITG review is spot-on. It is indeed a little gluey – definitely will work best when applied before bed. The smell is faint, but if you like apricots/peaches, you’ll love the aroma. Like I said, though – it’s faint, so if you do decide to apply it in the daytime, you won’t have to worry about it messing with any fragrance you might be wearing.
The tiniest dab covered all ten of my fingers. I probably won’t run out of this for about 2 years…I say that in all seriousness. This retails for $27, but I think that if this truly lasts as long as I think it will, it’s absolutely worth it.
If you’re familiar with the Dior Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm, this comes in the exact same circular, ivory-white packaging, engraved with “CD” on the top – same as the balm. In fact – the balm is described as “the sister product to Dior’s legendary Crème Abricot, a nail care product dating back to the 1960s.” The Crème Abricot has been around longer, & I already have a good feeling about this product. My cuticles look shiny & feel soft. There’s no obvious improvement right now, of course, but I did just get it. I’ll give it a week, & see what has happened.
Benefits of apricot oil? It’s rich in essential fatty acids, & is high in Vitamin A. It easily penetrates the skin – making it perfect for dry, sensitive skin. It also has excellent softening & hydrating properties, making it a great multi-purpose product – hands, face, nail beds…even hair!
While you’re deciding what to do with apricot oil (if you’re going to do anything at all), check out the pretty photos I took of my Dior Crème Abricot.
If you’re looking for some cheaper options, try Essie’s Apricot Cuticle Oil – it has great reviews. Mind you, I doubt it’ll last as long as the Dior, but regardless…it’s easily accessible, it’s significantly cheaper, & it’s a good way to try out a cuticle product containing apricot oil. If you want an even cheaper option, try making a multi-purpose hydrator yourself, courtesy of this Bustle article: “two parts coconut oil, one part apricot seed oil, two drops of lemongrass, and two drops of rosemary.” These are all easily accessible at a health foods store, a Whole Foods, or even The Vitamin Shoppe.
If you’ve been on any beauty site this summer, you know that Essie’s “Clambake” was the shade of the summer. I didn’t get my hands on it before it sold out (on multiple sites), so I tried to find the shade “Geranium,” which everyone was saying was an exact dupe (also an Essie polish).
Well – “Geranium” was sold out too, as it turns out. However – I managed to find the shade “Meet Me At Sunset.” It’s almost exactly the same, & it looks beautiful on my hands – surprisingly beautiful, in fact. I never thought an orange-red would look so good on my skin tone…but here we are. Hopefully, this will help some of you fellow “Clambake” hunters out.
I’ve also had the dark, eggplant shade in “Kimono Over,” also by Essie, for quite a while. It’s been chilling in a drawer, because I found it too dark for the summertime. However, fall is (sadly) almost here, so I think I’ll be wearing it some time soon. Don’t worry – I won’t forget about my beloved OPI “Tickle My France-Y” – how could I, when it was the only nail polish I wore for almost four years straight?
Like I mentioned – I have found rings to be very uncomfortable for most of my life, especially while playing violin. As I started playing more & more, it became basically unnecessary to even think about wearing one as an accessory, since I’d just be taking it off all the time when I had to practice or perform.
I was recently sent a ring by the company Mejuri – it’s the Olive Ring, & it’s extremely comfortable. I’m wearing it on my middle finger – it’s very understated, but the fine detail makes you look closer. The gold vermeil goes really well with the reddish Essie polish I’ve been wearing most, so I’ve been looking at other jewelry stores now – mostly indie ones.
My favorites so far? Mejuri (obviously), Byboe, Verameat, & J.Hannah. J.Hannah is up there in price, though – I’ll have to wait for Christmas for something like that. But she has some amazing nail polishes that I might get before then. Those are more in my budget. For now, though, let’s make it official: I’m a ring fan!
&…that’s my dramatic announcement: I’m going to start using hand cream/cuticle treatments religiously now, paint my nails more, & wear a ring or two. Groundbreaking…I know.
Tell me about your favorite nail polish colors/rings/hand creams/cuticle treatments in the comments! I’m excited to hear yours.