BY DANIELLE FOX
Ever haul yourself out from underneath a car undercarriage, then glance down at your hands? Yeah—it looks like you just went for a round of fisticuffs with a giant squid.
Don’t just grab a bottle of soap and start scrubbing away. Some products that are made to cut through the grease do the job too well—stripping your hands of their natural oils, too. Ask any mechanic with cracked, bleached-out skin.
Save yourself the skin cells, and learn how to clean your hands without wrecking them in the process.
Fight Oil With Oil
No, don’t slop on some WD-40 (it’s too harsh). We’re talking body oil or lotion that contain emulsifiers which allow the water and oil to link together and, consequently, wipe off together.
Grab a bottle of Johnson’s Baby Oil ($7, amazon.com) or a thin, liquid lotion (no creams, as the key here is the product’s water content). We like Neutrogena’s Light Sesame Formula, as it’s part sesame oil, part lightweight lotion. ($15, amazon.com).
Slather it on your hands, then take a tough rag and wipe it off without washing. You can repeat this process, if needed, then follow with the next step to wash off remnants.
Buff It Out
Mix a teaspoon or so of sugar with dish soap, and rub it all over your hands. Before rinsing, grab a pumice stone and buff your palms. This Cuccio Earth Lava stone works great, and you can use it to soften your feet later. ($5, amazon.com) Use a toothbrush (just not one you use to brush your teeth) to scrub your fingers and fingernails.
Repair The Damage
After all the time spent working with chemicals, and your hands are going to be a little gnarly after washing. For severe damage, make yourself a pair of heated spa mitts.
Now’s the time to lather on that thick layer of heavy moisturizing cream. Afterwards, put on a pair of old gloves, place your hands under a hot water bottle, and just relax for an episode or two of Westworld. The warmth of the hot water bottle opens up your pores, allowing the moisturizer to really sink in.
Try to wear the gloves to sleep. Yeah, you’re look weird to your partner for a night, but they’ll appreciate it when you wake up with soft hands again. And maybe next time, try plastic gloves and oil barrier cream.