Hands up for soft winter skin

THE stronger your handshake, the longer you’ll live, according to recent research from UCL. Yet a firm grasp – which the study claims shows vital strength – is only half the battle when it comes to presenting a good handshake, and thus, making a good first impression.

To fully impress your associates, you won’t want to squeeze their digits in a hand of dry, scratchy winter skin. Messy nails, with cuticles akimbo, are hardly a good look, either. Neat and soft hands (though not clammy, mind) are a pleasure to grasp, and are a clear sign that a person looks after themselves and are detail-sensitive – winter freeze or no.

Sheep shearers and wool sorters are allegedly the softest handed people in the world because wool contains lanolin, known as “wool fat”. This waxy substance secreted by sheep is removed after shearing, but savvy soap-makers have used it to make hand-softening products. Mitchell’s Wool Fat Soap is one excellent example (£18.95 for 3 bars from www.roullietwhite.com). Here we have chosen five other luxuriously effective lotions for soft mitts. It’s time to put your best hand forward.

1 Purely Age-Defying Hand Treatment, Jurlique
Daisy, licorice and black elder help fade discolourations, even out skin tone and brighten skin, while marshmallow, calendula and sunflower oil soften and soothe. £34, www.jurlique.co.uk

2 Satin Gloves, Barefoot Botanicals
The Rosa Fina range combines nail-strengthening cysteine, Chilean rose hip oil, macadamia and mallow to nourish and turn back time. Massage daily into hands and nails. £17.95, www.barefoot-botanicals.com

3 Luxury Hand Cream, Mitchell and Peach
Yasmin Le Bon swears by British brand Mitchell and Peach’s luxury hand cream. Lavender, grown on the family farm, is combined with shea butter, English honey and Vitamin E to make hands hydrated and seriously silky. £17, www.mitchellandpeach.com

4 Sun Damage Repair for Decolletage and Hands, Nia 24
Nia 24 is the real deal. It smells of, well, very little because it’s fragrance, colour and dye free. Made with Vitamin B3 (niacin), the range strengthens the skin barrier, so that toxins are kept outside. Skin is left super soft. £46, www.spacenk.co.uk

5 Hand Wash, Ruth Mastenbroek
If you are using handwash instead of soap, use something mild for winter. British perfumer Mastenbroek’s fragrant handwash is super-nourishing and suitable for sensitive skin. £22, www.ruthmastenbroek.com