Studies have shown that women who wear nail polish are perceived to be younger than they actually are. But before you go grabbing the first bottle of polish you see, know this: Some shades can draw attention to signs of aging on your hands; others can have the opposite effect, making your hands look younger in seconds.
You may think delicate shades like nudes or sheer pinks would do the trick, but as it turns out, because natural hues are close in tone to the shade of your skin, they only allow eyes to skip right over your nails, and highlight your hands’ problem areas (think: veins, wrinkles and uneven tone) instead. However, if you’re looking to keep the attention on your nails, not your hands, think the total opposite.
“For younger-looking hands, orange or peach-based hues work best,” says Colette Keenan, butter LONDON national field manager, adding that shades with orange undertones, such as reds or corals, draw attention away from any signs of aging. “Orange is a youthful, bright and uplifting color and it helps draw attention away from signs of aging hands such as age spots, veins and wrinkles,” says celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann. What’s more, Keenan adds the polish’s orange undertones will also help bring out your skin’s natural glow.
To keep your hands looking youthful even without any polish, essie manicurist Michelle Saunders says it’s always a good idea to wear sunscreen on the tops of your hands. “You add sunscreen to your face every day for sun protection and wrinkle reduction; you should be doing the same for your hands.” Lippmann agrees, adding that because our hands are constantly exposed to sunlight, they are one of the first places sun-induced damage appears. Her number-one solution? Opting for a hand cream that’s also boosted with SPF. “Deborah Lippmann Rich Girl Hand Cream with SPF 25($28) is my favorite.”
While many of us don’t give the shape of our nails a second thought, Lippmann says we might want to start. “An oval-shaped nail helps fingers look longer, and in turn, makes hands look younger,” she explains. Another grooming tip from the pro: pay attention to your cuticles! “Be sure to keep your fingers well-manicured,” she says. “Clean and manicured nails—with or without polish—help hands look younger.”
Protect and Serve
For younger-looking hands, Lippmann says to grab a pair of gloves. “Always wear gloves when working with your hands—washing dishes, cleaning, etc.—so your hands don’t get dry and damaged, which over time will cause hands to age prematurely.” Another tip: Clean your hands as you would your face, says the expert. “Exfoliate hands at least twice a week to get rid of dead skin. This will help keep hands not only smooth and soft, but fresh and bright which makes them look younger. After exfoliation, remember to moisturize.”
Polishes to Try
For a shine that won’t quit, try Gucci Glossy Nail Polish in shade Peggy Sunburn ($33). For a punch of color, essie’s Nail Polish in Peach Side Babe ($9) delivers. Or for long-lasting pigment that rivals your professional gel manicure, try Olive & June’s lineup of happy nail colors. Our clock-reversing favorite: a tie between Lava and You’re Doing Great ($9 each).
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