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Continuing in with our yearlong series a “Guide to Charm” this month we take a look at our hands and feet.
According to the book Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, our hands tell all. While our hands are not noticed until we bring attention to them, uncared for hands can send the wrong message.
Washing and Moisturizing
When cleaning our hands the brand of soap doesn’t matter, however I would recommend an anti-bacterial soap. When not near water, a good hand sanitizer comes in handy, not only for cleaning hands but keeping them bacteria off of them as well.
Soft hands are also an important part of charm. I remember shaking hands with an individual years ago and thinking gee, what dry brittle hands this person has. That’s not a first impression I would want anyone thinking of me. That’s why it’s important to use moisturizer.
Personally I suffer from Eczema, a skin condition where the skin becomes itchy and often scaly. It affects only 3% of adults and usually the fair-skinned. It is also often triggered by stress. While the cause of eczema is unknown and it is non-contagious it isn’t pretty.
I’ve tried lots of creams for my eczema, but have found two products in the last two years that have really put an end to any flare-ups. The first is Aveeno Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream, I use this hand moisturizer about twice a day and since I’ve been using it I have had hardly any flare ups with my eczema.
Occasionally though, I do have a flare up and when I do I found that using Neosporin Eczema Anti-Itch Cream, keeps it under control. I apply the cream to the affected area, and then use a band-aid to cover it. While the band-aid is not necessary I feel like it keeps me from scratching at it. Repeating this daily for 2 to 3 days seems to clear it up nicely.
Apart from keeping our hands clean and moisturized taking care of our nails is also important. We don’t need to fuss with an expensive manicure, and in some cases that isn’t practical in certain professions.
Instead simple steps like making sure our nails are filed and trimmed, that we don’t have any broken nails and our cuticles are tidy can be all the care we need.
The Internet is full of great resources regarding nail care, one of which was an article on makeuptutorials.com, which shared resources of 32 manicure hacks like the one below.
I also found the Perfect Nail Shape chart very helpful; personally I’m a fan of the oval nail shape.
Another great resource for nail care is a one by Tasha, from By Gum, By Golly. Last spring Tasha, had a whole nail care mini series and went over gel nails. Which I must say I have tried and will probably never go back to regular nail polish again.
Now that we have taken care of our hands let’s turn our attention to our feet. Our feet are probably the most used part of our bodies, since most of us would agree that we are on our feet nearly all day long.
Happy Clean Feet
Just as with our hands it is important to keep our feet clean and odor free. I’ve read lots of remedies form keeping your feet clean and soft, but I’ve found the best method is wash daily and wear breathable socks, like cotton.
Obviously washing and scrubbing my feet in the morning shower is only natural. However, I also find if I’ve been on my feet particularly long throughout the day, given them a quick wash when I get home and changing socks helps eliminate any odor and they generally feel better afterwards.
Moisturizing the feet is also important. I like to use Dr. Scholl’s For Her Ultra Overnight Foot Cream, to soften the bottoms of my feet. I usually apply it at night and slip into my Dr. Scholl’s Spa Collection Socks. These socks are made with aloe vera and are both soft and fuzzy.
If the Shoe Fits
According to the book Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, “feet and popularity are close relations”. If you are uncomfortable in your shoes it will show, either on your face, or your behavior; avoidance to hit the dance floor or perhaps just a slower pace of walking.
Wearing the right shoe is important. First you need a shoe that fits, and not all shoe sizes are equal. I find that I wear anywhere between an 8 and a 9 depending on the shoe and the brand.
When purchasing shoes, I recommend trying them on, both feet and giving them a good walking down the store aisle to get a feel for them.
When choosing a shoe consider wear and when you’ll wear them. Your everyday shoe should be meant for comfort since you will be spending most of your time in them. This also indicates a shorter heel.
Two of my favorite everyday shoes are my trusty Mary Jane shoes and oxfords. I have both a sensible oxford shoe in black and a vintage style saddle oxford.
Each of these shoes has a rather low heel and are great for daily wear. I’m on my feet pretty much all day in the classroom while I lecture, so I need soft comfy shoes. I find that using Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Insoles makes even a comfortable shoe more comfy.
While your day shoe should be sensible your even shoe can be more flattering. Though keep in mind that the shoe should still fit perfectly and should not cause you any discomfort. I find it very difficult to walk in any heel over 2 inches and I require a much thicker heel to keep my balance.
There have been plenty of studies about the risks of wearing too-high high heels. In fact I found a great infographic from the Huffington Post about the effects of high heels on the body.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are flip-flops, which Personally I have a general distaste for. And while high heels can put strain on the body, the same can be said of flip-flops, because of their lack of general foot support all together.
The New York Daily News posted an article a while back about the effects of flip-flops on the body, which included an infographic.
While I’m not advocating that one should stop wearing high heels or flip-flops, I suggest simply wearing in moderation and in the appropriate setting. Like a formal dinner banquet would be appropriate to wear heels and not flip-flops, while a day on the beach would be a better choice for the flip-flops. This is one lesson I would like to teach my students.
More to Come
That’s it for this month’s guide to charm. Next month in our guide to charm we will be tackling posture and weight.
Don’t forget you can copy of Better than Beauty: A Guide to Charm, here.